October 4, 1864: Albert Woolson enlists in the Union Army

On this day in 1864, future Duluth resident and the last surviving member of the Union Army, Albert Woolson, enlisted as a musician for one year’s service in the 1st Regiment Minnesota Heavy Artillery at Janeseville, Minnesota, near Mankato. He was assigned to Company C of the First Minnesota Heavy Artillery Regiment, detailed to the drum corps—Albert Woolson was a drummer boy. He saw no action, but witnessed Sherman’s March. A lifelong Republican, Woolson cast his first vote for Abraham Lincoln. He was just 17 at the time and voted under a special war clause for members of the armed forces. As the last Union survivor, he was named commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic. Woolson moved to Duluth after the war and lived to be 109 year old. As the last surviving Union soldier, Woolson was Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, all veterans of the Union Army who served during the Civil War. The group was disbanded shortly after his death in 1956. The same year a monument to Woolson was erected at Gettysburgh (a reproduction of the statue sits in front of the Duluth Union Depot today). You can read more about Woolson here.

Albert Woolsen. (Image: Duluth Public Library)woolsen