Through donations the Museum is able to present a wonderful collection of original artifacts. As donations are received, they will be highlighted on this page. If you are interested in making a donation to the museum, please feel free to contact us either through Email or by calling or writing the Museum at the above contact point.
Kepi from Post #2, worn by member Charles Franklin Stroud, was
donated to the museum in July 2002 by his great-grandson Harry E. Reese, Jr. of
Hopatcong, New Jersey.
The kepi is of particular interest to our museum as it comes from the
Post who was the originator of our artifact collection.
The Board of Directors expresses their appreciation to Mr. and Mrs. Reese
for their generous donation.
Franklin Stroud was born February 15th, 1842 in Philadelphia.
He was commissioned Acting Third Engineer United States Navy on April 19th,
1864, at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and was honorably discharged in the
same city on December 9th, 1865, due to the termination of the war.
was engaged in the battle at Mobile Bay, Alabama, August 5th, 1864
and participated in the capture of Forts Morgan, Gaines and Powell, the capture
of the Confederate Ironclad Tennessee and the capture of gunboats Selma, Gaines,
and Morgan. He
was confined in the Naval Hospital at Norfolk, Virginia in September 1865.
following is quoted from Engineer Stroud's description of his service as
recorded in the Naval Records and also in our Post 2 Descriptive Book:
most intimate comrades in the service were J. W. Sidney, Second Assistant
Engineer; R.M. Hodgson, Second Assistant Engineer; and William H. DeHart, Second
most important events that occurred in which I took part were in running by
Forts Morgan and Gaines; the capture of Forts Morgan, Gaines and Powell; the
capture of the Confederate Ram Tennessee (their most formidable vessel,
and one with which they expected to be able to destroy all of Admiral
Farragut's Fleet but they reckoned without their host) and Gunboats Selma,
Gaines and Morgan.
It was a grand sight to see fourteen war vessels passing by the forts and
having quite a battle with the Tennessee.
The Commander Buchanan of her said afterward, that the only vessel he
feared was the Monitor Manhattan.
A fifteen-inch shot from the Manhattan was the only one that
I had the honor to be one of the engineers on the Manhattan at that
was a very hot place to be; the thermometer in the Engine Room was one hundred
and sixty-four degrees.
After the surrender of the Forts, with all the hatches off or open, the
thermometer in the engine room was never lower than one hundred and twenty-four
was on her about four weeks and lost forty-four pounds in that time.
had the Ram Tennessee firing on Fort Morgan four days after we captured her.
It was a bitter pill for them to have their own shot and shell thrown at
them from one of their own vessels.
of my time was spent on blockade duty, off the coast of Texas, which being very
dull generally, was, at times, very exciting when we saw a blockade runner,
which put us in mind of prize money, etc.
narrative was sent to the Historian of Post 2, G.A.R., Philadelphia on January 9th,
In May, 2002, the G.A.R.
Civil War Museum was pleased to acquire a slightly larger than life size bronze
bust of Albert Woolson, last survivor of the Grand Army of the Republic and the
last known survivor of the Union Army.
This beautiful bust was
donated to the museum through the generosity of Dr. and Mrs. David Fairbanks
of Bethesda, Maryland. Dr.
Fairbanks is the son of Dr. Avard T. Fairbanks, nationally known sculptor,
anatomist, educator and creator of the bust and the subsequent full size figure
of Albert Woolson on the monument located in Zeigler's Grove outside of the
Cyclorama in Gettysburg National Military Park.
Albert Woolson was born in
Antwerp, New York on February 11, 1847 with the family eventually moving to
Minnesota. His father, Willard
Woolson, was a carpenter and apprenticed his son to the trade.
The senior Woolson was also a musician and member of a band, passing this
interest along to his son. When
President Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers in 1861, Willard Woolson and his
fellow musicians enlisted in a body. The
family did not hear from him for over a year and finally traced him through Army
records to a hospital in Minnesota. He
had been a casualty in 1862 at the battle at Shiloh.
His leg was amputated in the military hospital, this wound finally taking
Albert's grief stricken
mother gave her consent for him to enlist at the age of 17 when Lincoln called
for more volunteers. He replaced
his father in the 1st Minnesota Volunteer Heavy Artillery and because
of his musical talents, was assigned as a Drummer Boy.
His unit was attached to the Army of the Cumberland in Tennessee under
the command of Major General George H. Thomas, also known as the Rock of
Chickamauga. The war ended six
months later and Albert served occupational duty in the south until the unit was
mustered out in August of 1865. After
discharge, he returned to Minnesota, settling in Duluth.
For sixteen years he worked
as a woodturner in a furniture factory, and later in logging and engineering.
Playing the cello, guitar and coronet, he formed a 20 member band and a
minstrel show that toured Minnesota. He
married twice and reared 14 children, retiring at the age of 85.
Neither in uniform nor in
civilian life did he seek honor or glory for his military service, but by virtue
of his unabashed patriotism and longevity, it came to him.
His hometown of Duluth proudly showed him off in their annual 4th
of July parades.
He was active in his local
G.A.R. Post and the Department of Minnesota, serving as Department Commander
from 1943 until the Department closed in 1947.
He was National Patriotic Instructor in 1946, Chief of Staff in 1948, and
appointed Junior Vice Commander-in-Chief and Senior Vice Commander-in-Chief to
fill vacancies caused by the death of the officers.
On August 2, 1956, at the age
of 109, Albert Woolson died or as author Robert Kincaid said, He joined his
comrades in their final bivouac. President
Eisenhower said The death of Mr. Woolson brings sorrow to the hearts of
Americans. The American people have
lost the last personal link with the Union Army.
Funeral services were in charge of the United States Army and he was
buried with full military honors.
Two years before his death,
the City of Duluth and the Minnesota 1954 Encampment of the Sons of Union
Veterans chose Dr. Evard Fairbanks to make a portrait bust of Albert Woolson. Our benefactor, Dr. David Fairbanks, the 19 year old son of
the sculptor, had the privilege to shake the hand of the aged Woolson and try to
talk with him as well as he could due to his hearing impairment.
Mr. Woolson lived to see the completed portrait bust and said It is a
good likeness and We are all here for a grand purpose.
When he shook the young lads hand he also said smiling, You know, I
won the war. He was not speaking of himself but of those two and a half
million men and boys who had worn the Blue whom he now represented.
The National Auxiliary to the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, seeing the portrait bust, began a fund drive to raise funds to have a monument sculpted to be erected at Gettysburg.
Dr. Fairbanks, starting with
a copy of the bust, added the full figure of a seated Albert Woolson,
on his jacket and his G.A.R. hat by his side.
This was placed outside the Cyclorama in Gettysburg National Military
Park and the dedication date set for September 12, 1956.
Unfortunately, Mr. Woolson did not live to attend the ceremony, and the
inscription was changed to make the monument now a memorial to all the members
of the Grand Army of the Republic.
The portrait bust now rests
on a G.A.R. Commander's podium in the front hall of the Museum to greet
visitors as they enter.
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