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Saturday, March 14, 2020

Henry Washington Sawyer Civil War Hero Memorial in Cape May

Over the past 8 years we've been following the New Jersey Historical Marker Trail all through the Garden State and documenting them here on the blog. Millions of people walk or drive by these markers every year and never give them a second thought. They're a great source of historic information and we're trying to bring some much needed attention to them.

While on a road trip through southern New Jersey we stumbled upon the Henry Washington Sawyer Civil War Hero Memorial in Cape May, New Jersey. You'll find the memorial and historical marker located in the Washington Street Mall. We really wanted to feature this one on the blog because Henry Washington Sawyer is a Pennsylvania born hero. Here's the information on the memorial marker.
Henry Washington Sawyer Civil War Hero Memorial in Cape May, New Jersey

Born in Allentown, Pennsylvania May 16, 1830. Moved to Cape May (then Cape Island) in 1848 as carpenter and builder. In 1861 one of first enlisted from Cape May and assigned as 2nd Lt. of Special Guard at the capitol in Washington. Commissioned 2nd Lt. in N.J. Cavalry in 1862, promoted to 1st Lt. and Captain, and wounded and captured at Brandy Station in 1863. In Libby Prison one of two captains chosen to be executed in retaliation for execution of two Confederate spies. President Lincoln threatened to execute Brig. Gen. William H.F. Lee, son of General Robert E. Lee if Captain Sawyer was shot. Exchanged for Gen. Lee in 1864, returned to active duty and again wounded. Discharged as colonel in 1865. Returned to Cape May and operated The Ocean House. Built Hotel Chalfonte in 1876 and ran it until his death. Served 9 years on Cape May City Council, was Superintendent of the U.S. Life Saving Service for the State of New Jersey Coast and Member of N.J. State Sinking Fund Commission. Died October 16, 1893. Buried in Old Cold Spring Cemetery.

It took us a little while to locate if you're walking from South to North through the Washington Street Mall you'll see it on the right. It's tucked back a little bit in a sitting nook between two stores and a walkway that leads to a parking lot. You'll really have to look for it to find it.

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