Broken headstone of Civil War soldier restored, rededicated by Fame group

Published 12:10 am Sunday, January 29, 2023

SALISBURY — The sun was the perfect accompaniment to the rededication ceremony Saturday of the broken and restored headstone of Capt. Leonard Henderson, a Civil War leader in the 8th North Carolina Infantry Regiment from Company F of Warren County.
The service and work was done by the Fame Preservation Group, under the guidance of Gregory Lambeth II, the group’s founder and president.
Members had originally planned the service for last weekend, but inclement weather caused them to postpone, and Saturday’s beautiful weather accommodated the group of about 20 who attended.
Henderson was from Salisbury and spent his childhood years at the Henderson Steele house near where he is buried at the Old Lutheran Cemetery on North Lee Street. He signed up to serve in Warren County, but was, said Lambeth, a Rowan native.
Lambeth said Henderson’s headstone was broken into three pieces.
“We don’t know how long it was broken, but pieces were lying on the ground, and we wanted to repair it to honor the service of this veteran,” he said. “We got a local welder to create a metal frame that allowed us to then slide the pieces in and restore the original.”
The restoration actually took place on Dec. 12, but Saturday the group held a formal ceremony.
“This is the oldest cemetery in Salisbury,” Lambeth added. “There are about 190 veterans buried here, many in unmarked graves. We also dedicated the Southern Cross to Henderson, the second one we’ve done. The fact that we got permission from the city to do this is phenomenal, and we have gotten the city’s permission to do about 10 more, both here and in the Old English Cemetery. Our goal is to restore and preserve our history.”
Henderson was 20 years old when he was killed in second battle at Cold Harbor in Hanover County, Virginia.
A reading from Henderson’s eulogy from a fellow soldier that was printed in a Raleigh publication said “He was the best soldier I’ve ever known. Never seen away from his position.” It detailed that Henderson took over command of his regiment when his commander was killed, leading several charges before being shot himself. “The loss of such a man is indeed a calamity.”
An honor guard of re-enactors was present at the ceremony as well, and with permission from the city, a rifle salute (with blanks) was fired into the clear day before Taps was played.
“We really appreciate the people that have come out for this today,” said Fame Vice President Cameron Sloop. “It’s an honor to do this.”