Just before Christmas, I paused for a few minutes in the quiet Union Bethel Cemetery in Cecilton. A chilling December breeze gently swept over this old burial ground and as I gazed at monuments for soldiers, ministers, teachers, mothers, fathers, working people and children, one particularly caught my attention. It was a regulation tombstone issued to soldiers by the United States Government, and etched permanently into this memorial was the name George Douglass, Co., E., 24th United States Colored Infantry.
I paused for a few moments to remember the service of this man in a long ago war. While I lingered nothing in this tranquil spot — noise, automobiles or people — distracted me as I thought about the era for this young soldier. Curious about the private’s service to the country, I decided I would get some information after Christmas.
It was the 23rd of February 1865 when George Douglass, a 19-year-old from Cecil County volunteered to enlist in Co. E of the 24th regiment in Philadelphia, PA. After putting his mark, an X, on the muster forms he was transferred to Camp William Penn. For serving the nation for one year he was entitled to a $100 bounty, according to the enlistment papers.
Private George Douglass died on March 25, 1926. The headstone was shipped to his son Linwood Douglass of Cecilton in August 1940.