Each man talked about a different group or individual that had ties to this part of the state. I learned a lot of interesting facts.
1. In the 1860 census, when MN was just two years old as a state, just over 25,000 white males between the ages of 16-39 lived in the state. Over the course of the Civil War, MN sent over 24,000 volunteers to the Union Army. By percentage, MN sent the more soldiers than any other state, and they sent the first volunteers when Abraham Lincoln put out the call. The First Minnesota turned the tide at Gettysburg.
2. The city of Chatfield, MN lost more men in a single engagement on a single day than any single town in Minnesota. Chatfield lost 19 men at the battle of Redwood Ferry near the Lower Sioux Indian Reservation, August 18th, 1862.
3. Minnesota is the only state to fight two civil wars at the same time. While the eyes of the nation were turned to the war in the South, the Sioux Indians--pushed to the limits by starvation and broken treaties--launched attackes against whites in southwest Minnesota. More than 400 settlers were killed, and the Indian Wars of the Great Plains began.
One of the men who spoke was Michael Eckers (You can find his website HERE.) He was terrific! One thing he said was that he loved coming to speak to a group who was there by choice because of their interest in history. A lot of his speaking engagements are in schools where he has a captive audience, but they are usually convinced history is a druge and a bore. History a bore??? Anathema!
After the presentation, I got to see the sword of Captain Judson Bishop, who led his troops in battle at Chickamauga in Georgia. Three days after the battle (where Union troops lost over 300 soldiers) Capt. Bishop wrote to his sister that he has survived the battle unscathed, but that his sword scabbard had taken two direct minie ball hits. I got to put my fingers into the dents on the scabbard and really experience history. How cool is that?
This is a picture of Judson. Didn't he have awesome hair? LOL!
I love talking history with people who are passionate about history.
How about you? Do you love history? If not, what subject do you like best?
Oh, and here's a bonus odd fact about the Civil War. Did you know that Denmark has the most American Civil War Re-enactors per capita than any other country in the world? What's up with that, Danes?