Do you realize that Minnesota’s North Shore has a very interesting link to to the Civil War? The man immortalized here is Albert Woolson. He is basically sitting in a spot that over looks the battlefield of Pickett’s Charge. Woolson holds the distinction of being the last official survivor of the Civil War. He died at age 109 and lived in Duluth where there is a monument just like this one near the Depot Museum. The other interesting fact is that Col. William Colvill, the man that was the commander of the First Minnesota – lived near Grand Marais after the war. The following is a quote I’ve heard a few times in the last couple weeks: “So far as human judgement can determine, Colonel Colvill and those eight companies of the First Minnesota are entitled to rank as the saviors of their country” — Calvin Coolidge, President of the United States of America, July 29, 1928. He is referring to the actions of the First Minnesota at Plum Run and Pickett’s Charge.
This is the scene looking across the field between the Union forces and the Confederates. The Confederates were in those woods and this vantage point is what the First Minnesota would have been seeing before the charge.
This is a close up of a portion of the stone wall in the general area of where the First Minnesota was positioned. Standing there, it was hard to imagine this “wall” could have given much protection, but I suppose that if you are being shot at it is better than nothing. I don’t think I got a picture of this, but we also saw a wall or fence like this that also had the wooden rails on top. Our guide told us that they served the dual purpose of keeping the hogs in and the cows out if particular areas.
I had to include this one which is found near the First Minnesota’s Monument near the area of Pickett’s Charge. This Monument represents the 42nd New York or “The Tammany Regiment” named after Delaware Chief Tammany who was a friend to the colonists of the area. Anyway, it was very unique among all the Monuments I saw while out there.
This is the monument to the First Minnesota at the site of Pickett’s Charge taken after our group did a re-dedication ceremony. One day earlier, the First Minnesota had suffered something like 82% casualties. The 47 that managed to survive that – got to face this charge the next day. There will be more about this in the next post.
We next moved on the the Gettysburg National Cemetery where we saw the Urn monument recognizing the First Minnesota. This was the first monument placed in the cemetery. We had a very solemn and moving little ceremony at this site. Near this urn are the graves of many of the Minnesotans, like this one for a man that was from Elk River.