Albert Woolson Statue, last survivor of the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.)
Dedicated September 12th, 1956
(Located in Ziegler's Grove, east side of Hancock Avenue.)
Also see the Sculptor of the Albert Woolson Statue Related Page Tab for additional info on this monument.
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Born: February 11th, 1847** - Died: August 2nd 1956
Albert Henry Woolson was the last surviving member of the Union Army which fought in the American Civil War. He is credited as being the last surviving Civil War veteran. There are some that believe several Southern soldiers out lived Woolson, but this has not been verified.
At the beginning of the Civil War, Willard Woolson, father of Albert, would enlist in the Northern Army. When the family lost contact with Willard they found that he had been wounded at the Battle of Shiloh and had been transported to an Army hospital in Windom, Minnesota. Albert and his mother would move to Windom to be near Willard. Soon after their arrival, Willard Woolson would succumb to his wound. Albert, following in his father’s footsteps enlisted as a drummer boy in Company C, 1st Minnesota Heavy Artillery Regiment on October 10, 1864. Albert and his companions of Company C would see no action during the Civil War and would be mustered out of the army on September 7th, 1865.
Woolson returned to Minnesota after the war and was employed as a carpenter. He would spend the remainder of his life in Minnesota, passing away in Duluth at the age of 109 (**some say 106 due to some discrepancy with census records). He would be buried with full military honors and his remains reside in Park Hill cemetery.
Woolson would become a member of the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.), an organization composed of Civil War veterans. He would hold several positions in this organization. Soon after Woolson’s death the G.A.R. would be disbanded.
The dedication of the Woolson Monument was the crowning event of the 75th (1956) National Encampment of the Grand Army of the Republic held in Harrisburg PA. The encampment would be held Sunday, September 9th through Thursday, September 13th. Various events and meetings would be held during this great event. On Wednesday, September 12th nearly 3000 people would attend the dedication of the Woolson monument in Ziegle's Grove.
At the dedication of the statue, Colonel Frederic G. Bauer, Commander-in Chief would note:
"We dedicate today a statue of Albert Woolson. He was the last of the Grand Army of the Republic and he was also a son of a veteran. This statue is in many ways unique. Usually statues are dedicated to great and noble men, great military leaders, or men who have given their lives for their country. Here we have a statue of a man who was none of these things. We note that the front of the statue does not bear his name. It bears the wording 'In Memory of the Grand Army of the Republic'. Comrade Albert Woolson symbolizes all the great virtues of the common, ordinary citizen, the citizen who becomes a soldier and then returns to ordinary life."
Grand Army of the Republic Monument and the Albert Woolson Statue
The sculptor has captured a calm and gentle Woolson surveying the battlefield.
Note the detail of the wreath around the G.A.R. insignia as well as the hat cord on Woolson's hat.
A reflective moment captured in bronze. Its as if Woolson is looking westward towards the setting sun, and realizing he is the last survivor of the G.A.R.
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