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Group remembers ‘the forgotten war’
VIRGINIANS WHOSE KIN FOUGHT IN WAR OF 1812 MARK THE BICENTENNIAL
BY KATIE THISDELL
THE FREE LANCE-STAR
David Sutton may consider himself a pacifist now, but that trait doesn’t run in his family.
“It seems like every ancestor I have has fought in America’s wars,” said Sutton, of King and Queen County.
That includes his great-great-great-grandfather, Stephen Sutton, a surgeon in the War of 1812.
Discovering that descendant allowed Sutton to be inducted into the Society of the War of 1812 in Virginia on Saturday, along with seven other men.
This year marks the 200-year anniversary since the newly formed United States of America declared war against the British Empire.
Often called “the forgotten war,” the War of 1812 was America’s first test to defend itself against the world’s largest naval power. The young country was successful, but the war is remembered for only a few key events, including the writing of the “Star-Spangled Banner” and the burning of the White House and Capitol in Washington.
“It’s amazing to me how brave they really were,” Sutton said about the early military. “They literally stood in the face of the British, and fought them, and won.”
The state society hopes to keep the war in people’s minds. Membership is limited to those who can trace their lineage back to a participant in the war.
Currently, 125 members are active. At the society’s annual meeting, eight new members were inducted.
Registrar Henry Howells said he has several more applications to process.
Usually the society adds four or five new members per year, but the bicentennial celebration could be drawing interest, Howells said.
“I’m assuming that’s what’s driving it,” Howells said. One of those new members was Stuart Butler, who spoke about Virginia’s congressional vote for war in 1812 during the society’s luncheon Saturday at the Fredericksburg Country Club. Butler, who serves as a member of the Advisory Council of the Virginia War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission, is awaiting publication of his recently penned book on Virginia’s involvement in the war. Members of the society also placed markers at three graves in the Thornton–Forbes–Washington Cemetery, across Princess Anne Street from Carl’s.
Three men who fought in the War of 1812 are buried in the cemetery, now maintained by the city.
The society regularly places star-shaped markers at graves to remember those who fought in the war.
ON THE WEB: 1812va.org
Katie Thisdell: 540/735-1975