A young Canadian immigrant who grew up in an impoverished Vermont household surrounded by staunch republican politics, Marcell impatiently awaited his turn to perform his patriotic duty to his adopted country while supporting his widowed, invalid father through his army pay. Gettysburg would be his first and last battle. Left out of the heat of battle on July 2 as his fellow Vermonters rushed forth in defense of Cemetery Ridge, Marcell would finally receive the chance to prove his martial mettle during his regiment’s repulse of Kemper’s brigade during Pickett’s Charge on July 3. In the midst of the Vermonters’ counterattack, Marcell would fall with a bullet to the head and eventually be interred as an unknown in Soldiers’ National Cemetery . Years later, his surviving comrades, haunted by memories of their youth and drawn together by their shared experiences in battle, would return to Gettysburg and proudly record the history of their regiment in stone and with the pen, recalling the courage of the fallen and those who survived the war.
Born in Wiltshire, England, Charles Appleton emigrated to Concord, Massachusetts in 1854 where he worked as a farm laborer. In 1862, possibly motivated by the political activism of his historic hometown as well as by the steady pay afforded by military service he said goodbye to his wife and two young children and enlisted in the Union Army as a Sergeant in the 32nd Massachusetts Infantry. Appleton would receive a mortal wound in Gettysburg’s bloody Wheatfield , joining the ranks of Concord patriots who sacrificed their lives for ideals that stretched back to the Revolutionary War itself.
Franz Benda emigrated from Bohemia to the United States at a young age. He joined the 26th Wisconsin Infantry in his new homeland, part of the much-maligned, ethnically diverse 11th Corps. His mortal wounding and death at Gettysburg left his parents destitute and badly in need of his soldier’s pension.