By Richard A. Serrano
Richard Serrano, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist for the Los Angeles Times, pens a narrative of 2 veterans. within the past due Fifties, as the USA ready for the Civil struggle centennial, very outdated males lay demise. Albert Woolson, 109 years previous, slipped out and in of a coma at a Duluth, Minnesota, health facility, 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, not may possibly 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 type of males used to be certainly a veteran of that terrible clash and one in response to the simplest proof not anything yet a fraud. One used to be a soldier. the opposite were dwelling a good, tremendous lie.
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Extra info for Last of the Blue and Gray: Old Men, Stolen Glory, and the Mystery That Outlived the Civil War
Didn’t get a scratch. ” different instances he insisted that he merely had fired his rifle while he used to be despatched out attempting to find stray livestock. “I needed to kill twenty of them a day,” he stated of the livestock. “I killed all of them alongside the line whilst i'll locate them. ” He additionally bragged that Willie was once the simplest horse within the outfit, and that he had knowledgeable his mount to halt each time he raised his rifle as though to fireside at whatever. He acknowledged that once the warfare he rode Willie domestic. whilst Williams’s 11 months below Hood clocked out, he used to be “free to head home,” he stated. yet he claimed he additionally rode in short with Quantrill’s Raiders. “I wasn’t discharged,” he maintained. “We simply broke up. ” It appeared a wierd statement, provided that Quantrill and his guerrillas spent their a part of the battle far-off within the Kansas and Missouri zone throughout the border conflicts there. yet, like Hood, the identify Quantrill within the years of defeat and Reconstruction turned particularly a legend. probably in his later years the outdated accomplice forage grasp Walter Williams easily used to be improper. stories lose their carry after your time. quickly after the give up, Williams married his first spouse, Florence Humphries. As he instructed it, they moved to Texas in 1870 and settled in Brazos County. They raised seven youngsters, and he opened a meat marketplace. yet Florence died, and in 1888, whilst he stated he was once forty-six, he married Ella Mae Holliday. She used to be simply eighteen, but he outlived her too. jointly they raised twelve young children in their personal, and for almost seventy years the relatives planted plants and amassed eggs on their twenty acres of woods and flatland subsequent to the cabin outdoors of Franklin in Robertson County—largely remoted from the remainder of the more and more smooth age. Williams enjoyed to fox hunt, and he saved a passel of twelve hound canine. He raised a puppy deer in his cabin. sometimes he employed himself out as a farm animals herder at the Chisholm path, he acknowledged. yet except that, the area outdoors of rural Texas spun busily alongside with none considered Walter Williams, the outdated accomplice. In August 1932, in the course of what proved for plenty of to be the leanest yr of the nice melancholy, Williams utilized for a accomplice pension. lower than a Texas nation legislation handed in 1889, pensions have been paid to any “bona fide” accomplice veteran who lived within the kingdom. And whereas for greater than 40 years he had by no means raised his hand as a accomplice veteran and requested for the cash, Williams obviously notion a few country tips could see him during the tough occasions. In his program, written in longhand via a chum, Williams pointed out Hood’s Brigade and Quantrill’s Raiders. He was once eighty-six, he mentioned, and he wanted support. “My profession is a farmer yet i can't farm or do any of this sort of paintings at this time,” he instructed the pension place of work in Austin. not able to learn or write a lot himself, he signed the appliance together with his “X. ” A county pass judgement on in Franklin, Joe Y. McNutt, mailed his personal letter to the country capitol helping the applying. He instructed George H. Sheppard, the kingdom comptroller of public bills, that he thoroughly vouched for Williams.