The Fort Caspar Museum Association and Fort Caspar Museum invite the public to attend a dedication ceremony for nine newly installed headstones for soldiers of the 11th Kansas Volunteer Cavalry who lost their lives while in service at Platte Bridge Station (now Fort Caspar) in 1865.

This event will happen Saturday, June 1st from 10:00 a.m. to noon.

These cenotaph headstones serve as memorials for the soldiers as in most cases, their bodies were never recovered and buried along the old telegraph route they were here to protect.

The ceremony will include remarks by Casper resident Elizabeth Jennings, who is a descendant of Private Adam Culp of the 11th Kansas Volunteer Cavalry who is honored with one of the nine headstones. Colton Sasser, also of Casper and Army veteran of the war in Afghanistan and Purple Heart recipient will be speaking about the importance of honoring past veterans and the significance of their service to today.

Following the remarks, there will be a folded flag presentation by the Wyoming National Guard to the families of the fallen soldiers. Civil War-era cavalry reenactors will perform a short military funeral tribute as would have been done in 1865 when these soldiers died.

After the dedication, guests are invited to tour the museum and see a special exhibit of Private William Bonwell’s tintype portrait and unfinished letter to his mother. The letter was mailed posthumously to Bonwell’s family after he was killed in a skirmish with Native Americans on June 3, 1865.

Private Bonwell is one of the nine soldiers honored with a headstone in this project. Local historian, author, and 11th Kansas Volunteer Cavalry researcher, Johanna Wickman, will be on hand to answer any questions visitors may have about these fallen soldiers and their regiment.

The installation and dedication of these nine headstones is the first phase in the multi-phase Lest We Forget Commemorative Cemetery Project honoring all those who died while in military service at Fort Caspar. The project began in the 1970s with the installation of eleven headstones of soldiers of the 11th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry and remained unfinished until the project was undertaken again in 2022 to obtain headstones for members of the 11th Kansas Volunteer Cavalry.

Other regiments receiving markers will include the 6th West Virginia Veteran Volunteer Cavalry, 6th Michigan Cavalry, 7th Iowa Cavalry, 6th U.S. Infantry, 18th U.S. Infantry, and additional 11th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry soldiers. When completed, there will be 62 headstones at the site along with a walkway and reflection bench.

This event is free and open to the public.

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All photos used with permission from Dan Starks, the founder.

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