As the country remembers the men who fought in the Civil War 150 years ago, a general lies forgotten in a grave atop Meadow Mountain just off of old U.S. Route 40. The only clue to who this man was is a grave marker that answers few questions and raises more.
In Memory of
Civil War Veteran
Killed on this Mountain
A.J. Irwin & Son
For years, Marie Lancaster of Addison, Pa., cared for the grave making sure the grave was trimmed and occasionally bringing flowers or a U.S. flag to leave by the marker.
“We just saw the grave while we were taking a Sunday drive and, after looking at it up close, my husband and I were of the opinion that a high-ranking military man like Gen. Scofield deserved a more prominent burial place than an isolated spot on the side of a mountain,” Lancaster said in a 1992 interview with the Cumberland Sunday Times.
The tombstone notes that the general was “killed” rather than died. The Frostburg Museum has some recollections from Arthur Irwin who is the son in A.J. Irwin and Son. The Irwin family operated a monument business on Main Street in Frostburg for many decades.
The interviewer wrote, “About the time of the Civil War, an officer on his way back from Washington DC with his mustering out pay was murdered and buried on Meadow Mountain. Sometime later, Red’s father made a copy of the inscription made on a wooden grave marker. He then made a stone monument for the grave which can be seen as you ride by on Route 40.”
Searching through newspapers available from 1894, no mention of a murder of a veteran or a general.
The man buried in the grave is not any known General Scofield. Research through Civil War veteran databases and pension records shows only two Civil War generals with a last name of Scofield.
The better known of the two is General John Schofield who died in Florida in 1906 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. He led Union troops in Missouri, Tennessee, Georgia and North Carolina during the Civil War. After the war, he served as U.S. Secretary of War under President Andrew Johnson.
Hiram Scofield died in Iowa in 1906 and is buried there. He served throughout the South during the war and commanded the 8th Louisiana Regiment Colored Troops while he was a colonel.
Thinking that General Scofield might have attained the rank of general after the Civil War, I looked through various databases. In searching through the National Park Service’s database of Civil War veterans, you can find 444 men who served with the last name of Scofield. I checked Union pension records for Scofields in Maryland and Pennsylvania. Nine names came up Six had death dates listed that weren’t in 1894. The other three had no death dates listed. Their names were Henry, Herman W. and Hunter J. However, no reference can be found that any of them were generals.
Marie Lancaster also spent much of her last years until her death in 2001 trying to figure out who General Scofield was.
“We never really could get to the bottom of anything,” said her son, Robert.
He said his mother always felt a connection to the site because her grandfather was a Civil War veteran who was forgotten in a way.
When William Michael Loar returned home from fighting in the war for its entirety, he walked up a lane to a house and asked the two women there if he could have a bite to eat. The women were gracious and invited the war veteran in for supper.
As Loar sat down to eat at the kitchen table, he said to the older of the two women, “Mother, don’t you know me?”
Neither Loar’s wife or mother had recognized him after being gone for four years.
Loar was lucky. He was able to reunite with his family. The unknown veteran’s family probably wondered what had happened to their brother/father/husband/son for the rest of their lives, never knowing he was buried beneath the ground and the wrong name on Meadow Mountain.