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 Readshaw enlists funeral directors to help re-inter soldier remains found under Philadelphia street


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CONTACT: Jay Purdy (717) 787-7895

HARRISBURG, February 13--State Rep. Harry Readshaw, D-Allegheny, is known for spearheading the crusade to preserve the monuments honoring the Pennsylvanians who fought at the Battle of Gettysburg. Now he's working to ensure that some Civil War soldiers themselves are accorded the respect they deserve.

During a Philadelphia street project last fall, the remains of 17 people were found beneath Washington Street. Speculation is they were Union soldiers and may include members of the U.S. Colored Troops. One may be a Confederate soldier. The coffins were buried three deep. Temple University's anthropology lab is working to confirm if the remains are those of soldiers.

According to the Southwark Civil War District Committee, which has teamed with the General Meade Society and the Friends of Laurel Hill Cemetery to organize the recovery and reinternment, the soldiers may have been wounded or ill and died while being treated at a hospital facility nearby.

Philadelphia officials allowed a limited time for the recovery so they can complete the street work. The goal of the recovery volunteers is to put the skeletal remains in a plot being donated by Laurel Hill Cemetery. However, $2,000 is needed to provide an appropriate burial receptacle and to cover related expenses.

> Readshaw, a funeral director, approached the Pennsylvania Funeral > Directors Association about assisting the campaign. The association > quickly responded with a pledge of $1,000.

"These are the remains of men who put their lives on the line for their country. With the exception of the one possible Confederate, they were United States soldiers and gave their 'last full measure' for their nation. All of them were brave and fought for what they believed in. They must be accorded respect," said Readshaw.

"My most sincere appreciation goes out to the Pennsylvania Funeral Directors Association and other organizations and individuals that have volunteered to make sure these brave Americans aren't paved over again.

"'Poor is the nation having no heroes; shameful the one having them that forgets' has been the motivational phrase behind our Gettysburg monuments preservation drive, but it also fits this situation perfectly as well," Readshaw said. "The people who have stepped forward to recover the remains of these American heroes haven't forgotten, and their efforts will help ensure that future generations don't either."

Questions or requests for more information about the recovery and reburial can be submitted to the Southwark Civil War District Committee by e-mail at suzannelhaney@msm.com or by calling 215-462-1644. The address is 842 S. Second Street, #319, Philadelphia, PA 19147.

Attn: News Editors: Photographs of the recovery work, original coffins and remains are available by e-mail. Please contact Jay Purdy at 717-787-7895 or jpurdy@pahouse.net or Kathi Schue at 717-783-0411 or Gettysburg@pahouse.net and they will be sent to you.


more information:

Readshaw and the Pennsylvania Gettysburg Monuments Project may be contacted by e-mail at gettysburg@pahouse.net or by phone, 717-783-0411.

Updated: March 1, 2002
Copyright: 2002 Fourscore.org.
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