Most of us have heard of Gettysburg National Military Park. Spread throughout this park are monuments honoring the soldiers who fought there. But, have you heard of the Union Soldiers and Sailors National Park?
Don’t feel bad because I hadn’t either. That was until I studied a document I have for George Mentzer.
May future generations never forget the debt of gratitude they owe to the Brave Boys in Blue who on land and sea volunteered their services during that memorable struggle for the preservation of our Union, and may our motto always be
“Liberty and Union, Now and Forever,
One and Inseperable”
To all whom it may concern
Know ye that
was enrolled, in a private of Company C
24th Regt. Massachusetts Vol. Infantry on the 26th day of Sept. 1861 and was
September 30th A.D. 1864
His complete Record of Service and a copy of his discharge can be found in Carnahan’s
Manual of the Civil war
a companion to this Souvenir
This design for a National Monument was Dedicated to the Grand Army of the Republic and Kindred Societies by
The Easel Monument Association
and by them will be erected in the center of the Union Soldiers and Sailors National Park when the location of said park shall have been determined by the sale of this Souvenir
Underneath the Souvenir is the following information:
This is to certify that George Mentzer is a contributor to the Easel Monument Project and that his name counts and votes in favor of the State of Kansas in the contest for the location of the Union Soldiers and Sailors National Park. This souvenir was presented by him to his wife Emeline Aug 13 1898.
An article on the front page of the 8 Sep 1898 issue of The Columbus Advocate (Columbus, Cherokee County, Kansas) discusses the sale of these souvenirs in Kansas.
S. A. Matsler and his staff of assistants representing The Easel Monument Association have been operating in our town and county for some time with the result that a great deal of interest has been taken in the movement for erecting “The Union Soldiers and Sailors National Park.” The distribution of The Easel Monument Souvenirs has been almost completed, and as they are beautiful works of art and finished in an artistic manner they are giving general satisfaction to the ex-soldiers of our county who have been so fortunate as to patronize the movement and secure the souvenirs for their families. We hope that these sons may be successful in their work in other counties and receive the good will of all interested in a patriotic movement.
According to the souvenir, information about George Mentzer’s discharge is supposed to be in the book Manual of the Civil War. Full text versions of this book are available on Archive.org and on Google Books. However, a search of this book does not contain any MENTZER information.
The website, The Easel Monument: A Relic from the Civil War, discusses the souvenirs and the proposed monument and park. The website, Vermont in the Civil War, contains an extract from the book which gives a detailed description of the monument. In modern day terms, the proposed monument proved to be a scam and the park was never built.