That is how Sean Walsh described his holiday weekend, as he was able to bury two of his great grandfathers who fought in the Civil War at the Cemetery of the Evergreens in Ridgewood.
Walsh’s great grandfathers, John Charles Walsh and Charles Louis Haniquet, were both honored with marked tombstones on top of their graves last Friday, just in time for Memorial Day weekend.
They were among many unmarked graves at that cemetery because not enough information was known about them prior to last week.
Walsh traced back to his two ancestors after finding a family Bible in the garbage of his grandparents’ house in Florida. The Bible is 165 years old and it got the ball rolling in finding out the eventual burial place for the ancestors.
According to a press release about the ceremony, through the five years of research Walsh conducted, he found that John Charles Walsh enlisted in the Union Army in 1861 for two years and was promoted twice, first to second lieutenant, then to first lieutenant in New York’s 28th infantry. He fought in prestigious battles, such as the Battle of Antietam, and was discharged in 1863.
Haniquet was also in the Union Army, enlisting in 1863, weeks before the Draft Riots that almost destroyed Manhattan. He received his full pension for serving in the military after discharging and worked for the City for 20 years after that.
Walsh said that it was very difficult to find information about Haniquet because several documents had his name misspelled during that time, but he was eventually able to find a boatload about Haniquet’s life.
“But when I found it, it was a goldmine,” he said.