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Union County Slave Finally Gets Recognition For Confederate Army Service

A grave at a Union County Church that was marked only with a pile bricks for the past 80 years is receiving long-awaited recognition, the Charlotte Observer reports. The Sons of Confederate Veterans planned a ceremony for Saturday that included a cannon salute and civil war re-enactors at Philadelphia Baptist Church in Marshville. The event honored Aaron Perry, a Union County slave that followed his owner and served in 37th N.C. Regiment in the Confederate Army. Perry served as a "body servant" or bodyguard for his owner, Lt. Col. John B. Ashcraft, a veterinarian and a member of one of Monroe 's most prominent families. Although slave labor was used in the logistical running of the war, including building latrines and cooking, historians stress that very few black men actually fought with the South. Perry was one of 10 black men from Union County to serve in the Confederate Army. Much later, these men received small state pensions. Local historian and SCV member Tony Way was researching the slaves that had received such pensions when he came across Mr. Perry. He connected with Perry's relatives that now live in Charlotte , who were well aware of their ancestor's story. Although they had the money to engrave a stone, his family did not see much need. "That's just what they did back then," said Aaron Perry, who was named for his great grandfather. So with the help of the SCV, the Perry's placed a granite marker and a donated Cross of Honor on the gravesite. One side of the cross depicts a confederate flag with the letters "C.S.A." while the other reads the motto of the Confederacy, the Latin deo vindice or "God will vindicate."