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Albert Woolson

From Academic Kids

Albert H. Woolson (February 11, 1847-August 2, 1956), was the last surviving member of the Union Army, which fought in the American Civil War. He was also the last surviving Civil War veteran on either side whose status is currently undisputed. (At least two men who followed him in death claimed to be Confederate veterans, but their status as Civil War veterans is in dispute.)

Woolson was born in Antwerp, New York. 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 at age 17 in Company C, First Minnesota Volunteer Heavy Artillery on October 10, 1864, becoming the company's drummer. 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, a powerful political organization made up of Civil War veterans where he became senior vice commander in chief in 1953.

In his final days, he lived at 215 East Fifth Street in Duluth. Woolson died at St. Luke's Hospital in Duluth, Minnesota on August 2, 1956, at the age of 109, of a "recurring lung congestion condition." Woolson was buried with full military honors by National Guard Armory and is buried at Park Hill cemetery. Following his death, then-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."

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