Three who came back are remembered
Leopold men survived prison during Civil War for 11 months
by Peg Hall
Perry County News
October 25, 1990
|Few photographs remain of the three Civil War veterans from Leopold who survived the hellish incarceration at Andersonville Prison. Above is Lambert Rogier, in his Civil War uniform. His brother, Xavier, died in prison. Click photo for larger view.
Notorious Andersonville Prison, 26 acres of hell, lasted little more than a year.
During the Civil War, it claimed the lives of nearly 14,000 captured Union soldiers, one out of every four who went there.
Three young men from Leopold survived its ravages for 11 months, until they were freed at war's end. One died. Lambert Rogier cradled the dead body of his brother, Xavier, for a long time because there was no place to lay him down.
In grief and utter misery, Rogier and companions Henry Devillez and Isidore Naviaux vowed that if they lived they would erect a shrine to honor Our Lady of Consolation in their parish church.
As boys, Devillez and Rogier had seen such a memorial in their native village in Belgium. It dated back to a 17th century plague.
Rogier made the pilgrimage to their homeland and for $15.00, the cost shared by the three men, purchased a beautifully carved, doll-sized wooden state of Mary holding the infant Jesus in her arms.
|Naviaux, pictued with his wife, Mary. The original photograph was taken at Hanser's Art Studio, Tell City. Family members believe Henry Devillez, the other member of the trio, was never photographed. Click photo for larger view.
Returning to the U.S., he disembarked in New York City harbor on July 4, 1867, and carried his precious cargo home to St. Augustine Catholic Church, which was under construction in the post-Civil War years.
The statue still rests in a place of honor on the left alter of the old sandstone church which dominates the Leopold landscape. In 1960, a lifesize marble replica was enshrined outdoors, a sign of enduring devotion to Our Lady of Consolation, by the parish.
The three veterans, having returned to live the rest of their lives in the peaceful Leopold countryside, didn't talk much about their war experiences.
Lambert Rogier married Mary Harbaville. They had two sons and three daughters. Their oldest descendant is granddaughter, Julie Doogs, 93, of Leopold.
Rogier died on March 2, 1901, at the are of 65 years, 7 months and 25 days.
The faded inscription on his tombstone reads, as well as can be made out: "He has gone from his dear pals, his children, his wife, For whom he willingly toiled for he loved as his life. Oh, God, how mysterious and how strange are thy ways, To take from us this loved one in the best of his days."
Rogier's widow survived him by 27 years.
Henry Devillez married Emily Goffinet. They had six sons, including a set of twins. They had a long life together and, after Henry died about 1922 (the date on his tombstone is eroded), his widow lived only a few more years.
Their grandson, Joe Devillez of Tell City, said he can barely remember his grandfather, except that "he rode horses a lot," and he's been told that he was a veterinarian and cattle trader. As far as family members know, he was never photographed.
Emily Hubert of Tell City has heard that when her grandfather, Isidore Naviaux, went to war he told his sweetheart, Mary Belva, "Mary, you wait for me, and if I come through this we'll get married."
They had five children.
Leonard Naviaux, of rural St. Marks, who was 15 years old when his great-grandfather died, visited Andersonville National Cemetery last year.
He said that a chapel stands at the place where lightning struck the ground and a stream miraculously erupted in answer to the prayers of prisoners who were forced to drink polluted water.
Isidore Naviaux, whose wife died at the age of 71, lived a few days past his 92nd birthday.
Bertha Jarboe, a St. Augustine parishioner, said, "Grandpa taught me how to say 'Happy New Year' in French. That was my job."
The last of the trio of survivors of Andersonville Prison, Naviaux died in 1932 and was buried, like his comrades, in the cemetery behind the church.
Carved in stone is his epitaph: "An old soldier."