Last of the Blue and Gray: Old Men, Stolen Glory, and the Mystery That Outlived the Civil War

By Richard A. Serrano

Richard Serrano, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist for the Los Angeles Times, pens a narrative of 2 veterans. within the overdue Nineteen Fifties, as the US ready for the Civil struggle centennial, very previous males lay death. Albert Woolson, 109 years previous, slipped out and in of a coma at a Duluth, Minnesota, medical institution, his thoughts as a Yankee drummer boy slowly dimming. Walter Williams, at 117 blind and deaf and bedridden in his daughter's domestic in Houston, Texas, now not may well inform of his time as a accomplice forage grasp. The final of the Blue and the grey have been drifting away; an period used to be finishing.

Unknown to the general public, centennial officers, and the White condo too, this sort of males used to be certainly a veteran of that terrible clash and one based on the easiest proof not anything yet a fraud. One used to be a soldier. the opposite were dwelling an exceptional, tremendous lie.

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IN HIS MEMORY-CLOUDED brain Walter Williams’s response to the dying of William Lundy was once said within the la instances, Nov. 15, 1957. Dr. Russell Wolfe’s assertion that “anything can occur” to Williams used to be pronounced within the related article. Williams’s journey within the 1957 Veterans Day parade used to be stated through the Austin (Tex. ) American, Nov. 12, 1957. His one hundred and fifteenth birthday celebrations have been recorded through the l. a. occasions, Nov. 15, 1957; the Dallas Morning information, Nov. 14, 1957; and the Austin American, Nov. 15, 1957. The correspondence among Cooper Ragan, Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. supply III, Edmund Cass, Willie Mae Bowles, and Dr. Russell Wolfe is housed within the Civil warfare Centennial fee documents on the nationwide files in Washington, D. C. additionally there are files relating to the Apr. 1958 tribute the fee presented Williams, together with statements from President Eisenhower and consultant Schwengel’s feedback on the domestic in Houston. The poem is from “Paul Revere’s Ride,” by way of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. the development used to be lined by means of the Houston put up, Apr. 24 and 27, 1958, and the Houston Chronicle, Apr. 27, 1958. information of additional pension assistance for Williams was once suggested within the Dallas Morning information, June sixteen, 1957, and the Austin American, June sixteen and 19, 1957. Walter Williams’s 116th birthday was once lined through Stars and Stripes, Nov. sixteen, 1958. The lifestyles journal characteristic on Walter Williams ran within the might eleven, 1959, factor. Stars and Stripes suggested on June 12, 1959, that Williams have been promoted through the accomplice excessive Command. Williams’s stroke was once lined by way of the Chicago Tribune and Stars and Stripes, either on June 21, 1959, and back through Stars and Stripes on June 24, 1959. the recent York instances, Aug. 12, 1960, quoted Willie Mae Bowles as announcing her father’s used to be “just as much as the Lord, now. ” The correspondence among invoice Elliott, Thomas Stephens, Andrew Goodpaster, and Maj. Alfred Kitts is kept on the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum in Abilene, Kans. The Dallas Morning information, June 21 and 22, 1959, stated that Williams’s well-being used to be deteriorating, as did the Austin American, June 10 and 22, 1959; the Washington day-by-day information, Aug. eleven, 1959; and the Houston submit, June 21, 1959. The telegrams among Frank Vandiver and Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. provide III are a part of the Civil battle Centennial fee records on the nationwide files in Washington, D. C. the inner White condo memo is housed on the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum, as are drafts of the presidential proclamation honoring Williams and directions for fortress Sam Houston on how one can continue upon Williams’s dying. The Lowell Bridwell tale seemed in newspapers round the country, so much significantly within the put up and Times-Star in Cincinnati. The Dallas Morning information, Sept. five, 1959, quoted Willie Mae Bowles protecting her father. that very same day, the newspaper released reactions from Williams’s buddies in Franklin, Tex. , approximately no matter if he actually used to be a accomplice veteran. Williams’s pension software records are housed through the Texas country information in Austin.

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