Rewriting a Civil War wrong

NORTH EAST, Md. - There are times when we choose our own journey, but sometimes the journey chooses us.

For John Goff, it started on a battlefield in 1860's and was unearthed this century in a forgotten plot on top a hill in a North East, Maryland cemetery.

"I feel a great sense of accomplishment. It's probably one of the best things I've done in my life."

Because after nearly a hundred years, Goff is setting the record straight.

He's the great grandson of civil war veteran James D. Alexander, a Union solider who fought in Gettysburg, Antietam and lost his leg at the battle at Spotsylvania Courthouse.

The fragile maps and historic discharge papers document his great grandfather's Union heroism, but it was a confederate tombstone Goff discovered last year that since 1922, erased it all.

So Goff made his case to the US Department of Veteran Affairs.

It agreed to produce a replacement, an authentic Union marker setting history in stone.

"I thought they did a really nice job. It looks authentic, it's a much nicer one than the old one, nice granite one that should last forever," said Goff as he ran his hand over the new granite head stone.

The Confederate stone had its run, Goff already dug it out and is preparing to install the Union replacement in May.

James D. Alexander will then finally rest on the right side of history, his great grandson left to keep digging into why.

"I will probably search until I do rest. You know, until the end of my time, it's become almost an obsession."

A long historic journey that chose him, unearthing the truth with each shovel of dirt.

John Goff is planning to memorialize his great grandfather with a ceremony on May 22nd. Distant relatives from around the country are scheduled to attend along with a re-enactment team that actually re-enacts Alexander's specific regiment and company.

Goff is still trying to find out why his relative was buried as a confederate and asks anyone who may know and reads or watches this report to contact him or us here at ABC2.

To see Brian's original story on James Alexander, click here .


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