Crowd honors Civil War hero

Hundreds turned out near Kent for weekend services honoring Jesse Barrick, a Civil War hero and Medal of Honor winner whose remains were moved to Tahoma National Cemetery earlier this year from an unmarked grave in Central Washington.

The crowd stood in silence Saturday as bagpipes played and a caisson carrying an empty casket, escorted by an honor guard, circled the U.S. flag. A band played a slow, mournful "Dixie" and "Battle Hymn of the Republic."

"Jesse Barrick was an ordinary person, yet, on this day he performed an extraordinary act of bravery," said retired Air Force Col. Joe Jackson, a Medal of Honor winner who served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam.

Barrick's great-great-grand-nephew Eugene Barrick, a farmer near Darwin, Minn., made the crowd chuckle when he recounted his grandfather's story of the family hero being treed by a bear.

Lacking shot for his musket, the story goes, Jesse Barrick stuffed a knife down the barrel and fired at the bear.

"By the time Jesse got down from the tree, the bear was half-skinned, Granddad said," Eugene Barrick recalled. "After that line I didn't put so much faith in Granddad's stories."

Eugene Barrick's daughter, Candace Barrick of Minneapolis, said her family learned what had become of Jesse Barrick last year when a group of Pasco researchers known as Jesse Barrick's Brigade invited them to a Veterans Day service in his honor.

"This has changed my life and the lives of others in ways you'll never know," she said.

Jesse Barrick, born in 1841 in Ohio, joined the Army 20 years later as a member of the 3rd Minnesota Regiment. His wife, Sarah, was an Army nurse.

The only Civil War veteran buried at Tahoma National Cemetery, he was awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism along Tennessee's Duck River, where he single-handedly captured two well-armed Confederate guerrillas and held them for eight days.

"Can you imagine the pounding of his heart and his anxiety?" Jackson asked Saturday.

Barrick was promoted to second lieutenant for that exploit and served out the war as a white officer in the 57th U.S. Colored Infantry.

After the war, he became a fur trader, moving west to Washington with his wife, who is believed to be buried in an unmarked grave in Mukilteo.

It wasn't until 1917 that the government gave him the military's highest honor. He died six years later in Pasco, shortly after moving there.

He is buried now near the Tahoma cemetery's Barrick Circle, which was named before Barrick's remains were discovered. All the roadways at the state's only national cemetery are named for Washington's Medal of Honor winners, though Barrick is the only one buried there.

Pasco police Officer Dwight Davison, a Vietnam War veteran, began the quest for Barrick's remains after reading a history of the 18 men with connections to Washington who earned the Medal of Honor in the Civil War.

Davison and fellow veteran Bruce McCord formed Barrick's Brigade. Davison also alerted Michele Dvorcek, program assistant for the national cemetery, and Dvorcek found Barrick's relatives, who approved relocation of the remains.

The Pasco group and Barrick's descendants determined that he and his wife had six children, but no direct descendants were located.