Become a Member

contact our Junior Vice Department Commander 

Alan Kirshen, JVDC 

P.O. Box 635

Red Oak, Iowa 51566  

             712-623-6967                    

  mickrott13@msn.com

Photos of members of the G.A.R.

    and Iowa Civil War Soldiers

50th and 75th Anniversary of Gettysburg

1924 Mary Bowditch Forbes G.A.R. Celebration

Robert Stewart McGeehon of the Sam Rice Post #6, Atlantic, Iowa can be seen at 3:30, 5:24 and 6:15 through 8:22.

  Albert Woolson, Last Member of the

           Grand Army of the Republic

On August 2, 1956, Albert Henry Woolson, the last surviving Civil War Veteran and last member of the Grand Army of the Republic passed away in Duluth, Minnesota at the age of 109. 

Albert had enlisted as a drummer at the age of 17, research has shown that he was two years younger than stated, making him 15 when he joined, and only 107 when he died.

In July, Congress passed a law directing the Secretary of the Treasury to prepare gold medals with suitable inscriptions honoring the remaining veterans of the North and South. At the time of his passing, it was believed three Confederate Veterans remained.  Their claim has proven to be erroneous.  Representative John A. Blatnik of Minnesota, pushed for a quick award of the decoration to Mr. Woolson when the old soldier became critically ill, but the Treasury would be unable to get the medal finished before Oct. 1.

Mr. Woolson was the sole officially listed survivor of the more than 2,200,000 men of the Union armed forces.  He also was the last survivor of the Grand Army of the Republic.

As a boy in New York, it is possible that Albert could have spoken to Veterans of the Revolutionary War and War of 1812.  He most likely served with Veterans of the Mexican War while in the Civil War, and had met with those who fought in the Spanish American War, World War One, World War Two and Korea.

Mr. Woolson fought in no Civil War battles, although he drummed to their graves many who had. When he was 106 he remembered it all pretty well. He recalled himself as a drummer boy of 17 in a rakish blue forage cap in the precise line of drummers who beat out the resonant slow step on muffled drums or, again, thudded the quick step--most likely "The Girl I Left Behind Me." "We went along with a burying detail," he said. "Going out we played proper sad music, but coming back we kinda hit it up. Once a woman came onto the road and asked what kind of music that was to bury somebody, I told her that we had taken care of the dead and that now we were cheering up the living."

His father, was a carpenter in Watertown and apprenticed his son to this trade. The senior Woolson had, however, a second vocation. His father was a musician in the band of a traveling circus. Albert remembered "One day father and I went to the capitol building at Albany, N.Y. There was a meeting there and one man was tall, had large bony hands. It was old Uncle Abe, and he talked about human slavery."

He also recalled: When I was nine years old, I went in with my father to Ford’s Theater. Two brothers, actors on the stage, the youngest one is the one that shot Lincoln, later on.

When the war broke out his father enlisted and died as a result of wounds at Shiloh.  Albert enlisted in the 1st Minnesota Heavy Artillery in late 1864, as a drummer and bugler. Company C already had its quota of one field musician.  "I got the job by knocking his block off," Mr. Woolson recalled many years later.

Albert was a Veteran of the Civil War as well as the Son of a Civil War Veteran, he was made Honorary Commander-in-Chief of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War at the 72nd National Encampment in Buffalo, New York, August 23-27, 1953.

 

He and a friend formed a drum and bugle corps after the war, and most likely played in Des Moines at the 1922 Encampment. Woolson lived in Mankato and St. Peter, Minn., where he worked as a railroad fireman and a wood turner. He later worked as a grain miller and in a logging camp. In 1905 he moved to Duluth, at age 58. He worked as an electrician with the Duluth Carbolite Co. and for the Scott Graff Lumber Co. In 1925, at age 78, he went to work for the Hirschy Co., which manufactured washing machines. He retired in 1933 at age 86. It was at Duluth that he discovered he had a knack for storytelling to supplement his brisk bugle and drum. He would drop into a near-by school, tell a couple of fanciful tales, give a little lecture on thrift and pass out a few bright, new pennies.

"I love to play the drum and cornet. They’re about the only amusement I have left. When a man gets past a hundred, he’s got to be a bit choosy about what he does."

President Eisenhower stated, “The American people have lost their last personal link with the Union Army.”

 

"The Veterans Last Song" John H. Lozier

                  Mt. Vernon, Iowa (1890)

sung by:

Laurentine F. Higbie

Private, 1st New York Light Artillery

Lauren Higbie

 

I am standing of the summit, of a century of years

That hath measured the life of our nation,

And I see on down that mountain,

A flood of blood and tears

That was shed for our country's salvation.

And I see a mighty legion, who for the nation's life

Went forth in young manhoods fresh glory,

And I see a mighty legion, who perished in the strife

Now sleeping in garments stiff and gory.

And we’re going soon to meet them in that bivouac of the soul
As the shadows around us give warning,
And I want to see my comrades when the angels call the roll,
All are ready for inspection in the morning.​

 

We were boys when we enlisted, and these wrinkled brows where fair,

And our eyes where undimmed in their vision,
And the frost that never melts had not gathered on our hair,
And our step had not lost its precision.
But the years have built their terraces on every comrades brow,
And age makes our weary limbs quiver,
And the frosts are falling thick and we’re on the double quick
to the camp that is over the river.
And we’re going soon to meet them in that bivouac of the soul
As the shadows around us give warning,
And I want to see my comrades when the angels call the roll,
All are ready for inspection in the morning
.

 

But though the Veterans vanish their children still remain,

The deeds of their Fathers to cherish.

And the cause for which we battled our children will maintain,

And the foes of our banner shall perish.

For we battled not in vain if still that banner waves,

Through ages our nation adorning.

And loyal hands shall plant it with the flowers on our graves,

Till the great reveille in the morning.

And we’re going soon to meet them in that bivouac of the soul
As the shadows around us give warning,
And I want to see my comrades when the angels call the roll,
All are ready for inspection in the morning.

 

Wriiten by John Hogarth Lozier

Published by Loziers Publishing, Mt. Vernon, Iowa

Lozier was a personal friend of General John Logan and wrote the song as a tribute to Logan.

John Lozier

Funeral for Unknown Soldier 

           Franklin, Tennessee

Posted 11 October 2009 - 10:24 PM
 
"FRANKLIN, Tenn. (AP) -- A Civil War soldier whose remains were found in a battlefield grave last spring was reburied Saturday by admirers who knew neither his name nor even what side he fought on.

Among the history buffs paying tribute to him were two old men whose fathers fought on opposing sides in the War Between the States.
"This soldier represents all of the soldiers, the thousands that were lost and are still buried across the South," said Robin Hood, chairman of the Franklin Battlefield Task Force that organized the event.

"This soldier represents all of the soldiers, the thousands that were lost and are still buried across the South"

It's unknown which side the soldier fought on when he was among the nearly 2,000 killed in the 1864 Battle of Franklin. Construction workers happened upon the anonymous soldier's shallow grave in May."
 

watch for the Iowa Flag at the 2:00 mark and throughout


Print Print | Sitemap
© Department of Iowa Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War