Coventry Civil War event recognizes a native son

COVENTRY – Hezekiah Knickerbocker, a man who fought for his country more than 140 years ago, was honored on Oct. 12 in Coventry’s Fourth Annual Civil War Commemorative Event.

The program, presented by the Coventry Museum Association and Town Historian Phyllis Lerwick, told the Coventry native’s story through historical accounts, period music and personal letters.

Civil War re-enactors with the Living History Guild and the North/South Skirmish Group lent an authentic feel to the proceedings, held at the United Methodist Church and the Coventry Union Cemetery.

In January of 1864, the 32-year-old Knickerbocker enlisted in the 8th New York Cavalry, Company C. During his tenure with the unit, he fought under Brigade Commander George Armstrong Custer in the Battle of Cedar Creek. Shortly after that battle he was captured by southern forces and imprisoned at Salisbury Confederate Prison in North Carolina.

Weakened by illness and the hardships he endured at the prison, Knickerbocker never made it home. He died in March of 1965 at the U.S. General Hospital in Annapolis, Maryland. His embalmed body was returned to Coventry and was laid to rest in the Coventry Union Cemetery.

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