Annual Illumination 2016 - Stop #5

Once Lost, Now Found, Never Forgotten

When Corporal Jerome Peirce, age 31, was shot through the heart at the battle of Spotsylvania Court House, he left behind a widow, Albinia ("Allie") and a four-year-old daughter, Lucy. After the war, Allie took Lucy and moved back with her family. Before she left, though, she sent Superintendent Andrew J. Birdsall a check for $100, asking him to decorate her husband's grave regularly with the money she gave him.

Birdsall opened a bank account and used the interest to continue decorating Peirce's grave each Memorial Day. When Birdsall left Fredericksburg, his daughters continued the tradition. Passed on through his daughters, granddaughters, and grandnieces, the tradition is continued to this day.In 2005, Birdsall's descendants gave the National Park Service $500 with which to ensure that every Memorial Day the flowers are placed at his grave.

Every year, a note accompanies these flowers;it reads: "Once lost, now found, never forgotten."


Last updated: June 9, 2016

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