Project to honour British soldiers who fought in American Civil War seeks £3,000

Memorial for British soldier James O'Neill who died in the American Civil War

Memorial for British soldier James O'Neill who died in the American Civil War - Credit: Gina Denham

The London branch of the US Civil War Veterans Association is attempting to raise £3,000 to honour all British citizens who served in the war.

“We have identified nearly 500 United States veterans, predominantly who served the Union side, buried in the United Kingdom," said Gina Denham, who is at the forefront of the fundraising efforts.

Gina created a JustGiving campaign fund for the memorial at Islington and St Pancras Cemetery, of which £1,573 has already been raised by 40 supporters.

She added: "Our aim is to shed light on their service, and where possible obtain headstones that they are entitled to."

Gina’s great-great-grandfather George Denham enlisted in the American Civil War in 1856 and fought on the Union side.

His legacy has since inspired Gina to be part of #TheMonumentalProject.

“Beneath our soil are the men and women who once contributed towards the outcome of the American Civil War, so that's why it's important. I'm quite passionate about it,” said Gina.

The face of the memorial will depict three figures: a white soldier, a black soldier and a female soldier to reflect the Union army’s diversity.

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Stuart Stefany is a US-based artist who is in the process of sculpting the memorial for #TheMonumentalProject.

He received a bachelor of fine arts from Kansas City Art Institute and has experience with sculpting medals and monuments for the Sons of Union Veterans organisation in the US.

“To me, this memorial is important because art is an enduring form of communication that transcends both time and the limitations of language,” said Stuart.

“A good monument, like Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ Shaw Memorial or Daniel Chester French’s Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC, serves two purposes: it memorialises those who have passed, but it also enables the spirits of those who view it.

"This is our goal on a much more modest scale.”

A dedication ceremony will also be held this Saturday at Islington and St Pancras Cemetery for James O’Neil, a British soldier who fought during the Civil War.

“This was a human being who died in the field of conflict,” said Gina. “I feel that thanking them for their service with a small act of remembrance makes sense.”