Monday, July 13, 2015

Quarter-gunner Daniel S. Milliken honored - By David Tanguay

July 4th, 8 a.m., Riverside Cemetery, Raymond. Cars arrive discharging their passengers. Some are in heavy woolen Civil War uniforms with muskets and swords. Some are in bright white US Navy summer uniforms, some in suit and tie, others in more casual attire befitting the summer day. 

The Raymond Fire chief arrived in his official blue uniform and with several firemen, two with gleaming, polished axes. Raymond Boy Scout Troop 800 arrived as do members of the Raymond Select Board and office staff. Veterans were there as well, some in Legion and VFW caps, others in remnants of their service uniforms.

At 9 a.m., the participants form up, and the ceremony begins. What is the occasion? A funeral? Not on that day. Instead it was a remembrance of a Civil War Veteran and Medal of Honor recipient buried in Riverside Cemetery with no flag to indicate his status as a Veteran, or a Civil War Navy quarter-gunner and a Medal of Honor recipient. 

With the ceremony all that changed. Master of Ceremony, US Navy CDR (retired) Dave Tanguay, called the group of approximately 50 individuals to focus on what they were witnessing. US Navy Captain (retired) chaplain, Dana Reed, gave an invocation and asked all to remember those who have gone before us on this 4th of July, those that have paved the way for the freedoms we now enjoy.
Dave Tanguay followed with a brief review of the life of Daniel S Milliken, who was born in Saco in 1841 and served in the Union Navy on the USS New Ironsides as a lad in his early twenties. 

He was a Civil War Veteran and a US flag was place on his grave by Town of Raymond, board member, Sam Gifford, also a Veteran during the Korean Conflict.

Tanguay continued with the history of the Battle of Fort Fisher North Carolina in the winter of 1864 and 1865 where Daniel S Milliken, a quarter-gunner on the New Ironsides, manned an 11-inch Dahlgren cannon that laid crippling fire to Fort Fisher. For his actions he is awarded the Medal of Honor in Aug of 1870. He lived out the remainder of his life in and around Raymond, Maine, marrying twice and having no children. In his early fifties, he was hospitalized with consumption and died at age 58 in 1899. He was buried next to his second wife, Francis, in Riverside Cemetery with a plain, white, VA marker that indicates only his name and the date of his passing.

The stone that was dedicated on the fourth of July as a memorial is set as a foot stone. It is white granite with a depiction of the USS New Ironsides flanked by an image of the 1861 Medal of Honor. Below the ship is the name, “Daniel S. Milliken” with the date he received the Medal of Honor.

Milliken was given honors long past due. James Bunting Sr., a WWII veteran and his son James Jr., from Wilmington, NC (and Raymond), were escorted to the memorial stone to place a blue and white Medal of Honor Flag in the holder. Members of Boy Scout Troop 800 of Raymond followed and placed a blue and white carnation wreath at the stone in remembrance.

Raymond select board chairman Mike Reynolds read a town proclamation recognizing Milliken as a Raymond Town Hero and recognized the contributions of the Field-Allen Post in the ceremony. He then presented the proclamation to the American Legion Post 148 Commander, Mel Greenier, who accepted on behalf of the post.

A brief prayer by Chaplain Reed followed. Tanguay then turned the program over to Third Maine Captain David Gowen who rendered military honors from the Civil War period. 

The Fire Department stood at attention with axes at present arms. The veterans in uniform saluted and the remaining crowd uncovered and placed their hand or hat over their heart as a token of honor and remembrance. The Civil War clad infantry rifle squad fired a 3-volley musket salute and was followed by the haunting sound of taps.

Quarter-gunner Daniel S Milliken is now part of the history of Raymond, Maine and will be remembered.
The crowd mingled, and thins; the chairs were quickly swept up. Stillness returned to Riverside Cemetery with a bright blue and white wreath and flag to catch the eye.

All photos by Bob Christie, Post Historian

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