KINGS COUNTY IN THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR (May 18/10)

Many Canadians fought in the American Civil War from 1861 to 1865; exactly how many will never be known. The same can be said of Nova Scotians who served in regiments of the North and South. Nova Scotians definitely fought in the Civil War, but historians are unable to determine exact numbers. However, I’ve been told that 138 Civil War participants were born in Nova Scotia.

Some of those Civil War veterans are Kings County natives. Most of them fought on the side of the North in regiments formed in Maine.

In fact, representatives of a Civil War Regiment, the 20th Maine, will recognize these Kings County veterans in June with graveside services. This has stirred a lot of local interest, especially among military collectors whose chief interest is the Civil War. One of those Civil War buffs is Kentville businessman Cyril White; he tells me he started studying and reading about the Civil War some 30 years ago and has collected a number of related books.

White says it’s good to see Kings County veterans of the Civil War being remembered. His interest is such that his firm, the White Family Funeral Home, will place a monument at the grave of Civil War veteran, Ardent Calvin Tupper of Scots Bay. The monument will be unveiled in Scots Bay on June 12; at the time, representatives of the 20th Maine Re-enactment Regiment, dressed in uniforms of the Civil War, will perform the graveside memorial service that was held originally for Union soldiers.

Besides Tupper, similar services will be conducted on the same day for three other Kings County natives who served in the Civil War: These are William Kinsman, who is buried at Chipman Corner, Dr. Frederic Burgess, Hantsport, and Ben Jackson, Lockhartville. The best known of these is Ben Jackson whose long lost grave recently was located in Lockhartville.

Thanks to Bill Tupper and his wife Olee Goodwin Tupper, I learned that Ardent Calvin Tupper joined the 20th Maine when he was 19 and saw action at Gettysburg, one of the most famous battles and bloodiest battles of the Civil War. He was also at Appomattox with the 20th Maine when the South’s surrender was received. Bill told me that Ardent kept a diary on his war experiences, which the Tupper family still has, and in it he writes about being at Gettysburg.

Ardent, who is Bill’s great great uncle, was born in 1844 and died in 1917. He returned to Scots Bay after the war where the house he lived in still stands.

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