Santa Cruz County History - People

Old Soldiers: Santa Cruz County Civil War Veterans
by Robert L. Nelson

LAMAR, LIONEL C (1846-1941)

Santa Cruz Sentinel (April 1, 1911)

Photograph of Lionel Lamar
Lionel Lamar

A Civil War Reminiscence
Under What Circumstance Charles Lamar of Santa Cruz Met General Fitzhugh Lee in Cuba

Charles Lamar of Santa Cruz served his country during the Civil war. When the war broke out he was about 16 years of age, and answered his country's call for volunteers.

In 1862 Mr. Lamar was stationed at Fortress Monroe, in Virginia, and witnessed the fight between the ironclads Monitor and Merrimac.

At Fortress Monroe at the time were several prisoners, generals among whom was General Fitzhugh Lee of the Confederate army.

About this time the Confederate Government gave out word that four Union generals in their keeping were about to be hanged as a reprisal.

This Government notified the Confederate Government that if the generals were executed four generals in the Federals' hands would be executed in retaliation, Gen Fitzhugh Lee to be among the number.

At this time Charles Lamar was serving Gen Lee with his meals and continued to do so for about three months.

The hanging of the Union generals didn’t take place, and in time General Lee was liberated after the war to receive an appointment under the Federal Government, against whom he had fought in the Lost Cause.

General Lee was sent to Cuba in 1898 during the Cuban war, and had charge of a body of troops there. To his brigade was attached the Second U.S. artillery, the band of which Charles Lamar was leader.

One day the second artillery regiment was lined up for rigid inspection. At the head of the regiment stood the band with the leader standing in front. Along came the commander of the department, Gen Fitzhugh Lee and staff, and with them the colonel and adjutant of the regiment to be inspected.

The inspectors gave close attention to each man, looking over his clothes and equipment.

At last the band was reached. Gen Lee gave one look at Mr. Lamar, and then he took a second look where upon he said: "My man, your face is familiar: I have seen you before; where was it?"

Mr. Lamar quickly answered the general by replying, giving a salute he answered:

"At Fortress Monroe, when you were to be hanged, sir."

At this the colonel and adjutant paled in countenance, thinking that the bandmaster had suddenly lost his senses, but the general assured them that Lamar had spoken the truth, for they had not heard of the incident having come into the army at a period remote after the war.

General Lee told Lamar he recollected and asked Lamar to call at his headquarters which Lamar did, where he as kindly treated and where a long talk took place.

Santa Cruz Sentinel (February 23, 1932)

Mr. and Mrs. Charles Lamar celebrated quietly on Saturday their 51st wedding anniversary at their Pacheco avenue residence.

A number of friends called at the home to offer their felicitations.

Mr. Lamar was at one time leader of a large boys' band here. He is a retired United States Army band leader. He also was the leader of the Indian school band at Riverside at one time and also of the band at the Indian school at Carlisle, Pa.

Santa Cruz Sentinel (February 23, 1941)

Funeral Rites Monday for Civil War Vet
Charles Lamar, 96, Dies after Extended Illness

Funeral rites will be held at 1:30 o'clock Monday afternoon at White's Mortuary for Charles Lamar, 96 year old veteran of the Civil War, who died at Mission hospital yesterday morning. He had been ill since April.

Interment will be in the Odd Fellows' cemetery.

His widow is seriously ill at the hospital at this time, according to friends, and probably will be unable to attend the rites.

Lamar, one of this city's most colorful characters, was born in Wisconsin. He joined the union army in 1861 at the outbreak of the Civil War. He was then 16 years of age. He served as a bugler throughout the war and saw action in a score of battles.

After the close of the war he remained in the army, serving until he retired about 30 years ago.

He came to Santa Cruz to make his home over 20 years ago and became widely known as an instructor in instrumental music. He also directed the Rotary Club's boys' band for several years and was a life member of Santa Cruz Musicians' union local No. 346.

He was active in musical circles here until his illness in April.

Besides his wife he is survived by a number of nieces and nephews.

Santa Cruz Sentinel (February 24, 1941)

Charles Lamar

Funeral rites for Charles Lamar, Civil war veteran were held yesterday at Whites Mortuary chapel and were conducted by Rev.. Norman Snow, Rector of Calvary Episcopal Church who read the Episcopalian Service. He was prominent for years in the Musicians Union and the members attended the service as a body.

Pallbearers were Percy Buchanan, Lambert Buchanan, Alvin Buchanan, Ross Rittenhouse, Charles Tainter, and Tommy Simmons. Entombment at Odd Fellows mausoleum.

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