“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Cannon Falls in Goodhue County, Minnesota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)

Colonel William Colvill Monument

William Colvill image. Click for full size.
By Keith L, July 22, 2011
1. William Colvill
North Face
William Colvill,
Col. 1st Regt. Minn. Vols.
Born April 5, 1830.
Died June 12, 1905.

In Memory Of

Colonel William Colvill and the 1st Reg. Minn. Vols. which he commanded at the Battle of Gettysburg on July 2nd, 1863.

This was the first regiment tendered to President Lincoln at the outbreak of the Civil War; and it served three years in the Army of the Potomac, during which time it engaged in the following battles and operations:

Bull Run, Ball's Bluff, Siege of Yorkton, Construction of "Grapevine" Bridge across the Chickahominy River (over which McClellan moved reinforcements to support his left wing at Fair Oakes), Fair Oakes, Peach Orchard, Savage's Station White Oak Swamp, Glendale, Malvern Hill, Flint Hill, Vienna, South Mountain, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Haymarket, Gettysburg, Bristow Station and Mine Run.

At Gettysburg

The loss of the Regiment on July 2nd, 1863, in its charge against the Confederate Brigades of General Barksdale and General Wilcox, was 82 per cent of the men engaged.

General Hancock says, – "I ordered these men to charge because I saw that I must gain five minutes time. Reinforcements
In Memory Of image. Click for full size.
By Keith L, July 22, 2011
2. In Memory Of
East Side
were coming on the run, but I knew that before they could reach the threatened point the Confederates, unless checked, would seize the position. The charge was necessary. I was glad to find such a gallant body of men at hand willing to make the terrible sacrifice."

Again, on July 3rd, 1863, the regiment sustained a further loss of 15 per cent of the men engaged in resisting General Pickett's charge of 15,000 men against the left center of the Union line.

The regiment was successively commanded by Colonel Willis A. Gorman, Colonel Napoleon J. T. Dana, Colonel Alfred Sully, Colonel George N. Morgan, and Colonel Colvill, of whom the first three, through the valor of the regiment, were made brigadier generals during the service, and the last two were breveted brigadier generals at the close of the war.

Colonel William Colvill

Colonel William Colvill was born in Forestville, New York, April 5, 1830. He emigrated to Red Wing, Minnesota in 1854 where he opened a law office. In 1855, he established the first local newspaper, the "Sentinel," which he edited until the outbreak of the Civil War.

In 1861, he raised the Goodhue County Volunteers and was mustered in as its captain in the First Minnesota Volunteer Infantry. He was promoted to colonel of the regiment in May, 1863. During the Civil War, Colonel
At Gettysburg image. Click for full size.
By Keith L, July 22, 2011
3. At Gettysburg
West Side
Colvill was twice afflicted with wounds that would affect him the rest of his life. He was discharged with the regiment in 1864. He was mustered out of the service in May, 1865, with the brevet rank of brigadier general for gallant and meritorious service.

He resumed his law practice in Red Wing. Appointed editor of the "Republican," he held the position until his election to state attorney general, serving at that capacity from 1866-1868. In 1878, he entered the House of Representatives and served one term. In 1887, he was appointed registrar of the federal land office at Duluth. A student of astronomy, mineralogy and geology, Colonel Colvill was the author of A History of Glaciers in the Northwest.

In 1867, Colonel Colvill married Jane Morgan. Jane Morgan was born in Trenton Falls, New York on October 9, 1834. She was a direct descendant of Parson Brewster, the minister who served the little band of colonists who came to this country on the Mayflower. Highly regarded for her charity and her leadership in church work, Mrs. Colvill died in Duluth on November 13, 1894. She was laid to rest in the Cannon Falls Cemetery.

Colonel Colvill died on June 12, 1905. He was buried beside his wife in the Cannon Falls Community Cemetery near the graves of his aunt, two sisters and their families.

The statue of Colonel Colvill, designed by Mrs.
Colonel William Colvill image. Click for full size.
By Keith L, July 22, 2011
4. Colonel William Colvill
South Side
George Backus, of St. Paul, is of bronze and mounted on a pedestal of Bedford stone. A duplicate is found at the state capitol in St. Paul, Minnesota. This monument was unveiled at a ceremony in 1909. After completing ground work including the balustrade and steps to the memorial, a plaque commemorating the Colonel and the First Minnesota was unveiled at a dedication ceremony on July 29, 1928. President and Mrs. Calvin Coolidge along with Minnesota Governor Christianson were in attendance. The memorial stairway and balustrade were designed by St. Paul architect, J. C. Neimeyer.

This statue is the only state monument dedicated to a Civil War veteran.

July 31, 1994

Erected 1928 by the State of Minnesota. (Marker Number 20.)
Location. 44° 30.543′ N, 92° 53.463′ W. Marker is in Cannon Falls, Minnesota, in Goodhue County. Marker can be reached from East State Street (State Highway 19 at milepost 192), 0.1 miles east of North Almond Street, on the right when traveling east. Click for map. Marker is in the southeastern area of Cannon Falls Cemetery. Marker is in this post office area: Cannon Falls MN 55009, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 5 other markers are within 15 miles of this marker, measured as the crow
William Colvill Monument image. Click for full size.
By Keith L, July 22, 2011
5. William Colvill Monument
flies. "We Must Have a Gun" (here, next to this marker); 1888 Cannon Falls Fire Hall (approx. 0.6 miles away); Vasa: Mattson's Settlement (approx. 8.3 miles away); Thomas Anderson Veblen and Kari Bunde Veblen Farmstead / History of the Veblen Farmstead (approx. 13.5 miles away); Nerstrand City Hall (approx. 14.5 miles away).
More about this marker. This monument was the twentieth of 23 state monuments that were erected by the Minnesota legislature between 1873 and 1929. These monuments represent Minnesota's public efforts to mark historic sites or to recognize prominent persons.
Also see . . .
1. Reminiscences of Col. Colvill. (Submitted on September 3, 2011.)
2. First Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment. (Submitted on September 3, 2011.)
3. William J. Colvill. Wikipedia entry. (Submitted on September 3, 2011.) 
Additional keywords. William Colvill State Monument
Categories. Cemeteries & Burial SitesWar, US Civil
Colonel William Colvill Monument image. Click for full size.
By Keith L, July 22, 2011
6. Colonel William Colvill Monument
The gravesite is in the left foreground.
William Colvill Monument image. Click for full size.
By Keith L, July 22, 2011
7. William Colvill Monument
Stairway and Balustrade
"To The Last Man" plaque (the motto) is atop the stairway.
"To The Last Man" image. Click for full size.
By Keith L, July 22, 2011
8. "To The Last Man"
1861 1st Minn. Vol. 1865
1898 13th. Minn. Vol. 1899
1916 1st. Minn. Inf. 1917
1917-135th. Inf. World War-1918
[Minnesota National Guard Insignia]
135th. Inf. M.N.G.
Dedicated July 29, 1928
William and Jane Colvill Grave image. Click for full size.
By Keith L, July 22, 2011
9. William and Jane Colvill Grave
Col. Wm. 1830 - 1905
Jane E. 1834 - 1894
Flagpole Dedication image. Click for full size.
By Keith L, July 22, 2011
10. Flagpole Dedication
Dedicated to Colvill Memorial
Legion Post 142 Cannon Falls Minn July 29 1928
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 978 times since then and 164 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. submitted on , by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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