1956 August 2: Last Union Civil War Soldier Dies
Albert Henry Woolson, the last Union Civil War soldier, died on August 2, 1956, in Duluth, Minnesota. Born in Antwerp, New York, on February 11, 1850, Albert moved to Minnesota when he was a teenager. He accompanied his mother to Windom, Minnesota, where his father was recuperating in an Army hospital. His father, Willard, was wounded at the Battle of Shiloh, and died in Minnesota of his wounds.
Albert then joined Company C of the 1st Minnesota Heavy Artillery as the company drummer. He enlisted on October 10, 1864, and was discharged on September 7, 1865. He never saw action.
After the War, Woolson returned to Minnesota, where he lived the rest of his life, working as a carpenter. He belonged to the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.), becoming Vice Commander in Chief in 1953. After his death, the G.A.R. was dissolved because Woolson was its last surviving member.
Life magazine² ran a seven-page article about Woolson on August 20, 1956. The article also included photographs of the last three living Confederate soldiers: William Lundy, Walter Williams, and John Salling.
1. Photograph from the Wisconsin Veterans Museum, Madison, Wisconsin. They have a collection of papers and photographs of Woolson.
2. The Chalmer Davee Library at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls has a full run of Life on microfilm.