It is hard to talk about the Civil War in Shenandoah County without mentioning the name of Davis Coiner Rosen. Since he was a child, Coiner has studied the history of the War Between the States and sharing his knowledge with anyone who asked. Coiner began reenacting in 1960, attended reenactments all over the South, and even made the centennial march from Petersburg to Appomattox despite the fact that he had been the victim of polio earlier in life.
For years, Coiner wondered the fields and meadows of the Valley hunting the relics left by soldiers from the war that ravaged this county from 1861 to 1865. Mr. Rosen amassed an interesting and valuable collection which he has decided to share with those interested in this period of history by placing much of it in the soon to be completed M. Jackson Museum.
Perhaps Coiner’s greatest contribution to the history has been the loving care he has bestowed on Our Soldiers Confederate Cemetery in Mt. Jackson. The cemetery was created in 1861 to bury Confederate soldiers who died at the Confederate Hospital during the war.
After the war, the cemetery suffered the ravages of time and lack of care. Some years ago Coiner was appointed trustee of the Cemetery Coiner worked to improve the cemetery grounds and rebuild the fence, which had been heavily damaged because of an automobile accident. But Coiner’s greatest gift to the memory of the soldiers buried in this hollowed ground was to glean the identities of the men buried there.
Over the years the crude wooden markers originally placed at the head of the graves deteriorated and disappearing leaving only sketchy handwritten notes as to the names and units of those whose final resting place is now in this rich Virginia soil. For many years, Coiner worked to gather information about the cemetery and the men buried there.
Eventually through the assistance of United States Department of Veterans Affairs, Coiner was able to obtain bronze tablets containing the names, units, and dates of death of more than 450 of the soldiers buried in the cemetery. Thanks to funds raised by Coiner and a great deal of his own money, granite monuments were constructed to hold the tablets along with two bronze reliefs of the Confederate Hospital.
Coiner also personally paid for at least six Virginia State roadside markers depicting important events in the history of the area. Most recently, he purchased the Rude Home, famous in WBTS lore as the headquarters of General Stonewall Jackson in and 1862 and the refuge for Captain John “Hanse” McNeill following his mortal wounding just south of Mt. Jackson.
Time and ill health have overtaken Coiner and we lost him several years ago. He deserves to be remembered for all he did to honor all those who fought in the War Between the States.
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Our Soldiers Cemetery