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Mortars land at Veteran’s Park

Confederate Graves Committee members Eddie Congleton (far left) and City of Washington workers (left to right) Donald Miller, Eddie Edwards, Earl Godley and Ray Beddard stand by one of the mortars relocated to Veterans Memorial Park on Tuesday. (WDN Photo/Mike Voss)

The process of moving two rare World War I 6-inch Newton mortars from Oakdale Cemetery to Veterans Memorial Park in Washington was completed Tuesday.
After removal from the cemetery, the mortars were thoroughly cleaned and refurbished.
The Confederate Graves Committee, given permission by the city, undertook the project after it was explained to the Washington City Council in November 2011.
“These are very rare mortars, but they’re out there full of trash now,” Carter Leary, representing the committee, told the council late last year. “These are extremely rare, and they need to be restored.”
At that November 2011 council meeting, Leary also sought permission to install 20 to 30 new tombstones near the Confederate memorial at Oakdale Cemetery. The tombstones were provided by the Veterans Administration, Leary told the council. The tombstones include the names of Confederate troops, many of them from Beaufort County, killed in the attack on Washington on Sept. 6, 1862.
The mortars were manufactured in Sheffield, England. They were relocated to Veterans Memorial Park on East Third Street to commemorate Beaufort County veterans who served in World War I.
The following committee members were instrumental in completing the project: Robert and Gary Gautier, transportation; Eddie Congleton, engineering; and Leary, coordination.
“The CGC would like to thank the city for (its) help in the loading and unloading (of) these mortars and also the veterans of Beaufort County who voted to allocate bronze description plaques for the mortars,” reads a news release about the mortars being relocated.
The committee also repairs broken tombstones, registers Confederate gravesites and maintains those sites.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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