The Last Bluecoat

If you’ve read Johnny Graphic and the Etheric Bomb, you know that Johnny’s #1 ghost sidekick is a dead cavalry officer from the First Border War, Colonel MacFarlane. In Johnny’s world, that war was the equivalent of the U.S.’s Civil War. Of course, in our Civil War, the north won and the south remained part of the union. In the fictional First Border War, the south won and the formerly united country broke up into four different countries.

When I was a kid I was such a Civil War nerd that I had Civil War wallpaper in my bedroom–a reproduction of the Vicksburg, Mississippi, newspaper from the town’s famous 1863 siege. One reason I was fascinated with the war was because of man who had lived in my hometown, Duluth, Minnesota. He died there in 1956 at the age of 109 and was one of the most highly honored men in America. Why?

Albert Woolson had been the very last living Union (northern) veteran of the Civil War, the last Bluecoat. By some accounts, he was the last verifiable living veteran of the Civil War on either side. Here are a couple photos of his grave and memorial plaque.

WoolsonPlaque WoolsonGrave

While his father died from wounds sustained at the Battle of Shiloh, Woolson himself never saw actual action during the war. But as a teenager he had been a drummer boy in the First Minnesota Heavy Artillery. He wouldn’t have been much older than Johnny Graphic is during the course of his adventures.

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About drmar120

D. R. Martin is a writer and photographer based in Minnesota.
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