Reburial Ceremony


    On November 11, 1999, Taylor's Battery participated in the reburial ceremony of  Cavalry Private Michael Keegan at the Fort Sheridan Military Cemetery.  

    Pvt. Keegan, an Irish immigrant and Union Civil War veteran reenlisted in 1872 and was assigned to the famous 7th Cavalry under Colonel George Armstrong Custer.  Keegan participated in a number of Indian engagements while in the service.  Fortunately, Pvt. Keegan was left behind to guard the supply wagons on that fateful day in June 1876 when Custer's command was wiped out at the Little Big Horn.  Pvt. Keegan was regular army and served for 21 years.  He was discharged in December of 1876 for chronic rheumatism at age 50.  He lived his remaining years in old soldiers' homes.  A lifelong bachelor, he eventually settled in Chicago were he died in 1900 at Alexian Brothers Hospital.

    Originally Pvt. Keegan was buried in an unmarked pauper's grave in Evanston's Calvary Cemetery.  Through the efforts of Randy Johnson, a Vietnam Veteran and member of the VFW in Schaumburg, Pvt. Keegan's grave was given a headstone in 1988 through the Veteran's Administration.  But, the story doesn't end there.  Continued research by Mr. Johnson revealed there were other 7th Cavalry troopers buried in Fort Sheridan's Cemetery.  Mr. Johnson thought that it would be appropriate therefore, to reunite Pvt. Keegan with his comrades.  He began legal proceedings to have the body exhumed and reburied at Fort Sheridan.  This was done on Veteran's Day 1999.

    Taylor's Battery along with the 1st Illinois Light Artillery Company A, provided a cannon salute during the reburial ceremony.  The 10th Illinois Infantry reenactment Unit served as the honor guard along with the 8th Illinois Cavalry reenactment Unit as pallbearers.  Bishop James Wilkowski and Fr. Edward Norbert, of the Chicago Archdiocese gave the Benediction.  The Emerald Society Pipes and Drums, Ireland's County Wexford News and numerous other dignitaries were in attendance.  It was a moving experience for all involved honoring this veteran after so many years of non-recognition.

GAR Badge