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Colonel Greathouse’s Grave

History, Mystery, and Hauntings of Southern IllinoisFrom History, Mystery, and Hauntings of Southern Illinois by Bruce Cline.

During a visit to the Old City Cemetery in Vandalia, Illinois, I decided to use my PX ITC experimental device (a device that measures changes in the environmental energy fields and modulates those energy changes into audible speech using a synthesizer chip, an extensive 2048 english word dictionary, and a function that phonetically sounds out words). I had no results until I found myself at the grave of Colonel Lucien Philip Greathouse. As soon as I stepped foot on his gravesite, the PX device said “MARTYR” and “COUNTRY”.

Colonel Greathouse commanded Company C of the 48th Illinois Infantry during the Civil War. At the battle of Peach Tree Creek on July 22, 1864, a large brick house owned by Troupe Hurtt was used as a rebel stronghold. At this time, Lucien, now a Colonel and Commander of the 48th, was ordered to seize the house and destroy the rebel occupants. Riding a large claybank horse, and with saber in hand, Col. Greathouse led the charge. With the rebels in pursuit of the broken Union line, one of them yelled, “Surrender, can’t you see you are beaten?”

Col. Greathouse replied, “Beat hell, we’ve just come into the fight!” At that moment, a minie ball struck him in the chest and he was immediately killed. His age at the time of his death was 22 years, 1 month and 15 days. His body was returned to Vandalia and buried in Old City Cemetery. A 16 foot granite monument was placed at the head detailing the battle in which he had participated. It also contained the following inscription:

His Example was Worth a Thousand Men, Gen. W. T. Sherman. The Bravest man in the Army of the Tennessee, Gen. J. A. Logan. He led the command in forty hard fought battles and was killed with the flag of his regiment and country in his hands standing upon the breast works of the enemy before the city of Atlanta, GA in the memorable fight of July 22, 1864. May his God and his Country deal justly by him. LUCIEN GREATHOUSE, COLONEL U. S. ARMY. BORN CARLINSVILLE, ILLINOIS 7TH DAY OF JUNE 1842 A.D. AND WAS KILLED AT THE HEAD OF HIS REGIMENT BEFORE ATLANTA, GEORGIA 22ND JULY 1864 A.D. WE CANNOT WIN HIM BACK.

Recently, a marble stone containing the same inscriptions was placed at the foot of the grave. This new marble stone contains a mystery. If Greathouse was a colonel in the U.S. Army at the time of his death, why then is the stone engraved with the insignia of the a U.S. Naval officer and 2 stars of a general?

Copyright Bruce L. Cline, 2014. You do not have permission to copy this post.

 

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