Pvt. Jewett Williams, whose ashes were discovered in the basement of the Oregon State Hospital, is heading home to Maine via a motorcycle relay organized by the Patriot Guards. His cortege is scheduled to make a stop at Appomattox Court House National Historical Park, Va., on Thursday for a 1 p.m. ceremony honoring the soldier for his military service.
Williams, a member of the 20th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment, was present at Appomattox for Gen. Robert E. Lee’s surrender to Gen. Ulysses Grant on April 12, 1865.
According to spokesman Ernie Price, the ceremony is to take place on Stage Road at the same location where the 20th Maine would have been positioned during the Stacking of the Arms Ceremony in 1865. The event is free and open to the public.
Last week, the itinerary had included a similar stop at Gettysburg National Military Park where the 20th Maine fought in July 1863, although Williams was not in the service at that time. According to an email from spokeswoman Katie Lawhon, “my understanding of the Jewett Williams’ guard event … is they will not be doing anything within the [park].”
When asked what had happened to change the earlier plan, she said, “I’m still not exactly sure but I can guarantee we did not turn them down.”
She said the entourage was to meet the next team at the Wyndham Hotel in Gettysburg. Hotel and restaurant parking lots have been the usual meeting places for the relay teams.
The Williams escort is expected to reach Maine on Aug. 22. He is to be buried with full military honors on Sept. 17 at Togus National Cemetery.