MN Civil War soldier visits Mabel Public Library
Wednesday, January 15, 2014 3:18 AM
Charles Goddard, a noted Civil War soldier in the First Minnesota Infantry died shortly after the war at the young age of 23 in 1868 - but his legacy lives on though the many letters he wrote back home. Kyle Anderson of the Minnesota Historical Society shared Goddard's story to both students and the general public during a presentation on Jan. 9 at the Mabel Public Library.
Anderson shows off a Brogan shoe, also known as Jefferson Booties, that Civil War soldiers such as Goddard would have worn. “The heel plate gives you added traction when you’re marching through the mud or on slippery grass.”
Anderson, who portrayed Goddard during the presentation, recounted his childhood growing up in the small frontier town of Winona, and how Goddard enlisted to fight in the Civil War at the young age of 16. He shared pieces of what life was like for those involved including the clothing, medicine, food, music, the weapons and, of course, the letters home that continue Goddard's legacy today.
Anderson went on to present how the Minnesota First Infantry played a crucial role in battle at Gettysburg. "By the time I was marching to Gettysburg, I was carrying nothing aside from the bare essentials," Anderson said as he told Goddard's story. He then told of how the Minnesota First Infantry held part of the Union line at Gettysburg until reinforcements arrived.
The infantry, made up 262 men and also greatly outnumbered, were able to hold the line for 15 minutes. "By the end of the battle of Gettysburg, there were only 47 of us, who had not been killed our wounded from that 262," Anderson continued. "We endured (the Minnesota First Infantry) the highest casualty rate of any regimen in any battle in the Civil War at Gettysburg. Eighty-two percent of us were killed or wounded there. But we held the line, we won the day, this was really the turning point in the war."
Many of the students who attended the program will have the opportunity to visit where these events took place at Gettysburg during the Mabel-Canton annual senior trip.
The presentation was made possible through Legacy Funds and SELCO (Southeastern Library's Cooperating).