Pvt. Atwood Young’s marker is now part of the McAlister family’s private cemetery in Buckfield. His great-granddaughter Wilma Young McAlister was laid to rest there in 2000. Supplied photo

BUCKFIELD — A Civil War soldier from Paris, lost during the Battle of Fort Wagner in 1863, finally received recognition for service to his country on May 1, when a headstone in his honor was dedicated to him.

His great-great-grandsons, brothers Philip McAlister Jr. and Jamison McAlister, teamed up to research the details of Young’s military career and secure his headstone from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.

Philip, the historian of his Oxford Hills family, traced the path of Young’s military service from the Aroostook War in the 1840s through the Civil War. Young was approaching the age of 50 when the Civil War broke out in 1861; to make sure he was not turned away from enlisting he fudged his birth year from 1812 to 1825.

Veterans representing American Legion John D. Long Post 58 Buckfield and Jackson-Silver Post 68 Greenwood stand with Jamison McAlister (second from right) during the headstone ceremony for McAlister’s great-great-grandfather Pvt. Atwood Young, a Civil War soldier from South Paris who died during a 1863 battle in South Carolina. Pvt. Young’s memorial is at his descendants’ farm in Buckfield. Also pictured, from left, Ralph Hart, Conrad Conant, Harry Orcutt, James Lowell and Gloria Hall. Supplied photo

Young joined the 9th Maine Infantry Regiment and headed south, seeing military action in coastal areas in the deep South. In July of 1863 he took part in Union Army attacks in the Battle of Fort Wagner in South Carolina.

Loren Turner or Turner performs Taps during the dedication ceremony for Pvt Atwood Young’s headstone on May 1 in Buckfield. Turner and his family participate in veterans ceremonies around Oxford Hills. Supplied photo

Young did not return to his unit and one eyewitness reported he had seen him take a musket ball to the head. He was said to have been buried in a mass grave on a beach. The bodies of the dead were later removed and reburied at Beaufort National Cemetery in Beaufort, South Carolina, in another unmarked grave, but not before coastal storms and shifting tides washed many of the remains out to sea.

As he researched Young’s history, Philip came to the conclusion that his great-great-grandfather’s remains would never be recovered. To secure the military burial that Young deserved Philip’s brother, Jamison, a military veteran himself, took on the bureaucracy required to get Young his headstone.


“Being a military veteran means you get a headstone,” Jamison told the Advertiser Democrat from Iraq late last year, where he works as part of a contractor security detail. “I said to my family, ‘we can get a gravestone. Let’s put it in Buckfield,’ in our family cemetery.”

Jamison reached out to the Veterans Administration and petitioned for a stone. He had proof of Young’s service that Philip had acquired, including his military records and an affidavit another Union soldier had made as a witness to Young’s death.

Pvt. Atwood Young of Paris was killed in South Carolina while defending the Union. His descendants dedicated a memorial on their family farm in his honor last weekend. Supplied photo

Young’s headstone arrived at the McAlister farm in Buckfield in December and the family invited local veterans from the American Legion to participate a burial ceremony with military honors on May 1.

Young’s headstone is now a part of the McAlister’s private cemetery, which they established when Philip’s and Jamison’s mother Wilma Young McAlister (and Young’s great-granddaughter) passed away in 2000.

Over time, current and future descendants of Pvt. Atwood Young will take their place alongside their forebear who died protecting the Union.









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