Who is Alden Skinner?
When the Rockville Sons of Union Veterans camp was chartered in the spring of 1890, its charter members decided to name it in honor of local doctor Alden B. Skinner. Known as a man with a "big heart" and having an "uncommonly strong and vigourous intellect," Skinner volunteered to serve his country in the fall of 1862 at the age of sixty-four. Commissioned a Surgeon in the 25th Connecticut Regiment, Skinner went with them to Louisiana in the winter of 1862/1863. On a return march from Port Hudson during a heavy rainstorm, he contracted malarious typhoid. Transported to the General Hospital in Baton Rouge, he died there on March 30, 1863 from the effects of his illness. His remains were shipped home and laid to rest at Grove Hill Cemetery in Rockville. Every year for Memorial Day members of Camp #45 decorate his grave in addition to other 120 Civil War veterans buried near him.
A Short History of Camp #45
The Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUV) was sanctioned and established by the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) in 1883. In the beginning, this organization was mainly comprised of sons of Civil War soldiers. The group's philosophy was essentially the same as that of the GAR: to honor and remember all Union soldiers, to uphold the Constitution of the United States, and to be fraternal, charitable, and loyal. The SUV's primary function was to help the local GAR post in carrying out their duties. As GAR members got older and died, the Sons took on more and more responsibility, such as decorating graves, raising money, and maintaining the post.
Within the structure of the SUV each state is called a Department, and within the Department each individual group is called a Camp. The Alden Skinner Camp #45, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, resides in Vernon, Connecticut. This organization was chartered in May of 1890 and is the oldest continuous group in the town. They have met in the Burpee Post GAR Room since the second Thursday of September in 1890, and still meet there today, on the first Thursday of each month. In the year 2010, the Camp celebrated its 120th anniversary.
Alden Skinner Camp #45's list of achievements has made it one of the finest SUV Camps in the United States. They own, maintain, and operate the New England Civil War Museum, and the O'Connell/Chapman Historical Library. They have an extensive outreach program to local towns, their citizens, and schools. The group has preserved one of the finest Civil War relic collections in New England, along with a tremendous amount of books, paintings, lithographs, original letters, and photographs dealing with the Civil War and the Grand Army.
Each year, the Camp gives out a $500.00 scholarship to a graduating student of Rockville High School. The Camp has been recognized in the New York Times, and in local and state newspapers. It boasts six authors in its ranks as well as many prominent personalities within the historic community.
If you are interested in learning more about membership, please email us with the subject line Camp #45 Membership and we will gladly forward it to the current officer in charge of membership.
Current Serving Camp Officers
Commander: Hank Cullinane
Senior Vice Commander: Alex Oliphant
Junior Vice Commander: Brian Motola
Secretary/Adjutant: Frank Niederwerfer
Treasurer: Mark Depathy
Patriotic Instructor: Cameron Shaw
Chaplain: David Harris