AUTOGRAPH & NEWSPAPER CLIPPINGS OF ALBERT WOOLSON, “THE LAST DRUMMER BOY”

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Item Code: P13853

Albert Henry Woolson (February 11, 1850 – August 2, 1956) was the last surviving member of the Union Army who served in the American Civil War. He was also the last surviving Civil War veteran on either side whose status is undisputed.

Autograph of Woolson is on a magazine clipping which features a photo and short biography, approximately 3 years before he died. Two additional newspaper articles are included from the Washington Times and Herald and Mirror News, which were written in 1956 at the time of his death.

Woolson was born in Antwerp, New York. He claimed to be born on February 11, 1847, but his entry in the 1850 United States Census lists him as born in 1850. Entries in the later census records and in the 1905 Minnesota State Census support the conclusion that he was born in 1850. His father, Willard Woolson, enlisted in the Union Army. Willard was wounded at the Battle of Shiloh and was transported to an Army hospital in Windom, Minnesota, where he eventually died of his wounds. Albert and his mother moved to Windom to accompany Willard. Albert enlisted as a drummer boy in Company C, 1st Minnesota Heavy Artillery Regiment on October 10, 1864, becoming the company's drummer. However, the company never saw action, and Albert Woolson was discharged on September 7, 1865.

Woolson returned to Minnesota, where he lived the rest of his life. He was a carpenter and later a member of the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.), a powerful political organization made up of Civil War veterans where he became senior vice commander in chief in 1953. Woolson and fellow drummer-boy Frank Mayer marched together, both aged 99, in the Memorial Day Parade in May, 1949, to lay a wreath at the tomb of General Grant in New York City.

In his final days, he lived in Duluth, Minnesota. Woolson died at St. Luke's Hospital in Duluth on August 2, 1956, at what was then thought to be the age of 109, of a "recurring lung congestion condition". He was twice widowed and was survived by six daughters and two sons. Woolson was buried with full military honors by the National Guard at Park Hill Cemetery. Following his death, President Dwight D. Eisenhower said, "The American people have lost the last personal link with the Union Army ... His passing brings sorrow to the hearts of all of us who cherished the memory of the brave men on both sides of the War Between the States.

In 1956 a monument of Woolson was erected in Gettysburg as a memorial to the Grand Army of the Republic.  [sl]

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