Saturday, December 1, 2007

Last Survivors


The Annual Report of the Commissioner of Pensions for 1874 reported that "With the death of Daniel T. Bakeman of Freedom, Cattaraugas County, N.Y., April 5, 1869, the last of the pensioned soldiers of the Revolution passed away." He was 109.

The last surviving general of the Revolutionary War was Thomas Sumter, "the Carolina Gamecock," who died in 1832 at age 98.

The last known Union survivor of the Civil War was Albert Woolson of Duluth, who died about 1956.

The last known survivor of the Civil War was Walter Williams, a forager for John Hood's Texans. Williams died in Houston on Dec. 19, 1959 at age 117. That same week, the nuclear sub Robert E. Lee was launched while troops clad in Confederate uniforms stood at attention while "Dixie" was played.

Last surviving Lt. Gen. was Simon Buckner, who died in 1914. His son, Gen. Jr., was killed in WWII.

The Daughters of the Confederacy honored Gen. Julius Franklin Howell, 99, still spry., Army of Northern Virginia, June 1, 1945 honored.

The last Confederate widow was reported to be Alberta Martin, 97, of Enterprise, Alabama. (She had heart attack in May 2004 that left her unable to talk.) She was a 21-year-old widow with a young son when she married William Jasper Martin, 82, in 1927. He'd been a private in the late unpleasantry. He'd enjoyed the tag of "last survivor" for many years. On Jan. 17, 2003, she became the last surviving widow of all troops in the war; that was when Gertrude Janeway died in Blaine, Tennessee. Mrs. Martin died in May.

But in June 2004, another family came forward, saying Maudie Celia Hopkins was the last. The United Daughters of the Confederacy agreed. Mrs. Hopkins of Little Rock married William M. Cantrell, 86, on Feb. 2, 1934. She was 19 and had been hired to clean his house. Her age as of June 2004 wasn't given in the story but she'd be about 89.

You might say that Capt. Albert Barnitz was the last casualty of Civil War. He was with Custer when shot through the stomach at Washita. The bullet deflected off three ribs, just missed his spinal cord, then passed out his back. Doctors thought he was a goner. But he recovered and lived another 34 years. The wound finally killed him at age 77. An autopsy showed that part of his overcoat had been in his body all along.

Figures published in 2005 list the ages of the last survivors:

War of 1812, age 105 in 1906.
Mexican War, age 98 in 1929
Indian Wars, age 101 in 1973.
Civil War, age 112 in 1958.
Spanish-American War, age 106 in 1992.
World War I: There were about 30 to 50 left.

The last U.S. soldier killed before the Vietnamese ceasefire was Lt. Col. William B. Nolde. He was buried in Arlington Cemetery Feb. 5, 1973.

Anyone who's ever been associated with the army, especially, knows, well. . . On Nov. 14, 1943, an American vessel fired a torpedo at the USS Iowa, which was taking FDR to the Tehran conference. His joint chiefs were aboard too. The torpedo exploded harmlessly in the Iowa's wake.

No comments: