On Sunday afternoon, members of Henry Casey Camp 92 Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW) dedicated a bronze plaque at the grave site of Charles William Needles in Springfield at Ferncliff Cemetery, recognizing him as Clark County’s last surviving Union Civil War veteran.
The SUVCW is attempting to identify and honor the last surviving Union Civil War veteran in every county in the nation. They have identified the last Union veteran in 86 of Ohio’s 88 counties and have placed plaques at the graves of about one third of those.
In 2012, the Henry Casey Camp placed a plaque at the grave site of Elon Thornton, who is Fayette County’s last surviving Civil War veteran. He is buried in the Washington Cemetery.
During the Civil War, Charles W. Needles served in Co. H, 8th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry. The Civil War ancestor of several members of the Henry Casey Camp served in Company K of that unit.
Needles also served in Company E, 184th Ohio Volunteer Infantry and after the war ended served a three-year enlistment in Company D, 6th Regiment United States Army assigned to Fort Gibson, Indian Territory (now the State of Oklahoma).
After his military service, he lived in Springfield and worked as a blacksmith, public school custodian and for 20 years was the maintenance engineer at the International Order of Odd Fellows Home (IOOF). He was an active member of the GAR and was one of 16 surviving GAR members in Ohio and was serving as the senior vice commander of the Ohio Department of the GAR when he died in 1944, 11 days short of his 97th birthday.
For many years he served as the grand marshal of the annual Springfield Memorial Day Parade.