Nebraska recognizes Confederate soldier under Stonewall Jackson

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

FREMONT (AP) — Nebraska has a new link to the Confederacy now that the service of a Civil War veteran who died in Fremont has been recognized.

The Fremont Tribune reported that the national Sons of Confederate Veterans organization has recognized a new chapter in Fremont. And a ceremony Sunday at Thomas C. Sexton’s grave to recognize his service was likely the first of its kind in the state.

Nebraska was still a territory during the Civil War, and it did not allow slavery. Sexton served in a famous Confederate unit led by Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. He was a private in Company D, 4th Virginia Infantry of the Confederate Army.

After the war, Sexton earned a medical degree and moved to Dodge County, in eastern Nebraska, where he lived until his death at age 100 in 1943.

The ceremony that the Civil War re-enactors performed Sunday in Ridge Cemetery was likely the first one in Nebraska involving the Sons of Confederate Veterans group, which honors Civil War veterans who fought for the South. Membership in that group is limited to descendants of Confederate Army veterans.

“This isn’t about North and South; this isn’t about politics,” said Jim Arbaugh, a member of the recently established the Thomas C. Sexton Camp 2232 in Fremont. “This is about preserving the memory of the men and what they did.”

Before this new Fremont group was established, any ceremonies recognizing Confederate veterans were likely conducted by other Civil War groups, such as the Grand Army of the Republic.

Gale Red, who is affiliated with a Belleville, Ill., Sons of Confederate Veterans group, officiated at Sexton’s ceremony and helped the Fremont group get started.

Still, Red said he identified 358 Confederate veterans who are buried in Nebraska.

Sexton was wounded during the Battle of Chancellorsville in Virginia in 1863, but he refused to allow a doctor to amputate his leg because he didn’t want to live without it.

Maj. Charles Folsom of Fremont, Sexton’s great-grandson, said Sexton initially had trouble gaining the trust of the Ohio natives who had settled in the area because of his service in the Civil War.

But Folsom said he thinks Sexton saved someone’s life and gained residents’ trust.

Sexton later married Emma Peters, who grew up in Fontanelle, and practiced medicine around Nickerson and Fontanelle.

Sexton retired at the age of 44 and built a home in Fremont that still stands, Folsom said.

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