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Previous story Today Oregon commemorates the 150th anniversary of the death of U.S. Senator Edward D. Baker Next story

Story by K.C. Piccard - The Oregon Herald - Oregon Sta
Published on Friday October 21, 2011 - 7:40 AM
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Today, Oregon observed the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Ball's Bluff, and the death of the "Grey Eagle of Mount Hood". Three ceremonies were planned, one on the east coast, and two in Salem and Portland, Oregon. The Oregon Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission is involved with all three of the events, starting with the Friday, October 21, 2011 memorial event being held in Salem, Oregon at the Salem Public Library located at 585 Liberty Street SE.

The tragic battlefield demise of Oregon Senator and Union Army Colonel Edward Dickinson Baker in the first year of the Civil War took place during what had been at first deemed "a relatively insignificant demonstration." The engagement at Ball's Bluff, near Leesburg, Virginia became another in a string of early Civil War Confederate victories, and its tragic and bloody outcome included the loss of over 1076 casualties for both sides, the death of Oregon's influential United States senator, and caused political ramifications that included the destruction of the career of Brigadier General Charles P. Stone and ended with the creation of the Congressional Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War.

Salem played a short, yet significant part in U.S. Senator Baker's life: Baker moved his family to Oregon, and they were enumerated in the 1860 Federal census as citizens of the newly minted state and as residents of the city of Salem. It was in downtown Salem that Senator Baker gave his famous "stump speech" of July 4, 1860 that helped to put him in the U.S. Senate.

The Salem ceremony will be a multimedia event with music from his funeral ceremony, and consisting of a short recap of the Battle of Ball's Bluff and E.D. Baker's life and significant position in the history of Oregon, readings of the tributes written about the fallen Senator, and a discussion of why Senator Baker was ultimately buried in California, and not in the state, whose citizens actually elected him to the Senate.

Here are the commemorative events:

Friday, October 21, 2011: COMMEMORATION OF THE SESQUICENTENNIAL OF DEATH OF OREGON SENATOR EDWARD DICKINSON BAKER AT THE BATTLE OF BALL'S BLUFF. The solemn observance will take place in Salem at the main public library located at 585 Liberty Street, SE, starting at 1:30pm, the exact time when Colonel Baker was killed by the enemy. .Part one of a two-day commemoration. Free and open to the public.

Saturday, October 22, 2011 DAY TWO of a TW0-PART OBSERVANCE OF SENATOR BAKER'S DEATH 150 YEARS AGO AT BALL'S BLUFF, VIRGINIA. The prayer and memorial wreath-laying ceremony will take place at Portland's Lone Fir Pioneer Cemetery, located at SE 24th and Morrison. Noon.

Sunday, October 23, 2011. LEESBURG, VIRGINIA EVENT. "A CEREMONY HONORING SENATOR EDWARD D. BAKER and the 150th Anniversary of his Valiant Death at the Battle of Ball's Bluff." Organized by Oregon's Colonel Edward D. Baker Camp of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, and Randol Fletcher; the ceremony will start with a talk by Civil War Historian James A. Morgan, who is the acclaimed author of A Little Short of Boats: the Fights of Ball's Bluff and Edward's Ferry. The remainder of the ceremony will include the laying of a wreath, a musket salute, the playing of "Taps" and comments by Oregonian Randol Fletcher, author of an informative new book: The Hidden History of Civil War Oregon. This all takes place at 12:30pm EST, at the Ball's Bluff Battlefield Regional Park, in Leesburg, Virginia.

All events are free and open to the public.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE E.D. BAKER COMMEMORATIVE CEREMONIES, go to the website or call NW Historical Perspectives and events at (503)303-8426

The video "Oregon Senator Edward Dickinson Baker died defending the Union 150 years ago" is currently available for viewing at