Our Opinion: History in our backyard

Published 6:07 pm Friday, July 15, 2022

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This editorial will come out a day before the event, but at 1 p.m. on Sunday, in Greenwood Cemetery just south of Brownsdale, a very special ceremony will take place.

It is a dedication ceremony for Corporal Waldo W. Lamb, the last Union Civil War veteran to die in Mower County in 1938. By now, you’ve no doubt seen the story on the front page detailing Don Peterson’s efforts to mark the grave and help update the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War database on soldiers who served in the Civil War.

With that in mind, we’ll skip rehashing the information and say only that this is an incredibly notable event in our area’s history.

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Even though he served with a Wisconsin unit, Lamb is part of a storied tradition of Minnesotans serving in America’s costliest war on its own soil.

A number of regiments served in the Civil War following the 1st Minnesota Infantry Regiment, the first volunteer group to join the Union cause after the South’s assault.

After seeing action in both the battles of First Bull Run and Antietam, the regiment was virtually annihilated in Gettysburg, but played one of the biggest roles of the battle on the second day.

Outnumbered 5 to 1, the unit’s brave charge held up the Confederate attack under James Longstreet and Richard H. Anderson, and helped maintain the Union’s position on Cemetery Ridge.

Lamb himself, who joined at the age of 16 in 1864, saw action in the Siege of Petersburg, the Battle of the Crater and the Battle of Boydton Plank Road under Samual Harriman and Colonel John Green.

This is history right here in Mower County Minnesota and should act in connecting us to those moments in time that shaped a nation.

It’s also a reminder of what Minnesotans contributed to that pivotal moment in time and further remind us the rich history that is right here in our own little corner of Minnesota.