TRAVERSE CITY — EdItor's note: Part of an occasional series that explores the lives of Grand Traverse area soldiers and their families during wartime. Past articles are available at Record-Eagle.com/history.
David Duane, the only Confederate soldier buried in Traverse City's Oakwood Cemetery -- and possibly the region -- is an elusive fellow.
Most of what is known about his life and death exists in a 165-word-obituary published two days after his death on Jan. 18, 1908.
"David Duane Is Dead: Was One of Few Confederates in North," the front-page headline announced in the city's Evening Record, a forerunner of today's Record-Eagle.
"He enlisted in the Confederate army near the beginning of the struggle and later fought under Morgan, being one of the Raiders," the paper reported.
Morgan's Raiders were part of a crack Confederate cavalry unit of 2,460 hand-picked men led by Col. John Hunt Morgan. Originally from Kentucky, Morgan left his home state when it didn't secede from the Union and went to Tennessee to raise a militia cavalry regiment that eventually became part of the Confederate Army.
The Raiders were best known for a 1,100-mile-long series of raids in July 1863 from Tennessee up through Kentucky, into Indiana and on to Ohio -- the farthest north Confederate forces came during the Civil War. They destroyed bridges, railroads and government stores, and spread terror across southern and central Ohio in an attempt to sap Union strength from Gettysburg in Pennsylvania and Vicksburg, Miss.
Duane's obituary provides scant clues about this 19th century man who didn't use his middle initial -- a stumbling stone for anyone trying to track a long-dead soldier through a maze of census, marriage, death and other records.
The Record-Eagle found no Confederate States of America records for him, but that isn't unusual. Many Confederate States of America records were destroyed or lost during and after the devastating four-year war, fought mostly in the South.