By Nancy McCleary
Four men who fought in the largely forgotten War of 1812 were remembered Saturday with a dedication of their graves in the Cross Creek Cemetery No. 1.
About 40 people, including members of the Fayetteville Independent Light Infantry and representatives from area chapters of the Daughters of the American Revolution, gathered for the ceremony, held under a spotless blue sky.
“I’m honored to be here with people who treasure the history of North Carolina and the War of 1812,” said David Brook, state chairman of the War of 1812 Bicentennial Committee.
Although most history classes gloss over the Second War for Independence, it was an important event for America, Brook said.
The conflict helped the developing country unite to strengthen and preserve its borders and boundaries, Brook said.
Each of the four soldiers was honored with a small brass marker shaped like a star, with “War of 1812” engraved. They are representatives of all those who served, said Light Infantry Maj. Bruce Daws.
The honored soldiers represented true patriots, Daws said, and are symbolic of all soldiers who fought in the War of 1812 and are “known only to God.”
The four who were recognized included an officer, Brig. Gen. Thomas Davis of the N.C. State Militia; a commissioned officer, Lt. John Eccles; a noncommissioned officer, Sgt. John Huske II; and Militiaman John Powers.
Eccles and Huske served in the Light Infantry Company.
All four were deployed to Wilmington to help protect the coastal town from the naval assaults of the British.
Three members of the Office of Army Reserve History on Fort Bragg, dressed in period uniforms, spoke briefly about the life of a soldier in that era, as did two historians dressed in period clothing.
Representatives from the Daughters of the American Revolution’s Alfred Moore and Liberty Point chapters, and District 7 board, placed wreaths and a small bouquet of flowers at each grave.
Davis (1764-1822), who was the ranking military officer in Fayetteville during the war, is the fifth great-grandfather to the Rev. Robert Alves, rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church, who spoke at the grave.
Davis, a prosperous businessman and lawyer, served two terms in the House of Commons, in 1803 and as speaker in 1809.
“He was one of the patriotic 10 percent who rushed to the front,” said Lee S. Harford Jr. of the Army Reserve History, who was dressed as a brigadier general of 1812.
Harford read brief excerpts of letters that Davis wrote during the war.
Eccles, another Fayetteville businessman, donated the land for part of Cross Creek Cemetery and is buried beneath a towering magnolia tree at the corner of North Cool Spring and Grove streets.
Huske (1786-1848), who moved to Fayetteville in 1804, helped procure food and supplies for the soldiers who were sent to Wilmington.
Lt. Col. Dickson Schaffer shared a brief history of his great-great-great-grandfather Huske’s military and civilian accomplishments.
He later was appointed as an aide to Gen. Thomas Brown and became a well-known businessman after the war.
Powers (1794-1881), whose grave is across Grove Street, was a Robeson County native and signed on with the 1st Robeson County Militia Regiment at the age of 18.
Powers’ regiment was absorbed into a militia brigade that was activated for service in 1814 and sent to Fort Johnson, which was near Southport.