A group of volunteers recently tracked down the remains of a Civil War veteran who was forgotten and shelved for nearly a century. On Thursday, they helped provide Pvt. Zachariah Stucker the proper burial he deserved, with military honors.
“He was forgotten - one of the many veterans that just had been forgotten in the tide of history,” said Jim Dimond, a historian who helped illuminate Stucker’s story.
For those who gathered at the Veterans Home Cemetery in Port Orchard for the burial service, Thursday, Stucker might as well have been a brother.
Stucker served in the Civil War, fought in some of the bloodiest battles defending the Union, and eventually retired to Washington. He died in 1914, and no one seemed to notice.
“Because he was never married, never had any kids, he went unclaimed,” said P.J. Braun, a volunteer with the Missing in America Project, a group that works to track down veterans remains with the goal of giving them a dignified military burial.
Braun recently found Stucker in a vault of unclaimed ashes at Lake View Cemetery in Seattle. Dimond helped research Stucker’s military career.
“When I picked up that veteran and held his ashes, I was in tears because I realized I was holding someone who had fought in every major battle that I had studied in college,” Dimond said.
“It’s just incredible,” he said, “and it feels surreal.”
Volunteers with Missing in America say they've located the remains of several other forgotten Washington veterans. They plan to organize additional military burials in the coming months.