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Bloomington Yesterday: The Civil War 44

Veterans Day is a time to think of and be thankful for all Bloomington service members past and present. On Memorial Day in 1890, 25 years after the Civil War had ended, townspeople erected an 11-foot monument in the cemetery to honor the Bloomington soldiers who served in Company B of the First Minnesota volunteers. 

The First Minnesota became one of the most famous regiments in Civil War history. On July 2, Gen. Winfield Scott Hancock ordered the undersized regiment to attack a much larger brigade of Alabamians. The result was devastating. The First Minnesota suffered an 82 percent loss of men, a record for the Union army, but halted the brigade and turned the tide of the battle at Gettysburg in favor of the Union.

Inscribed on the monument are the names of 44 men and four battles – Gettysburg, Antietam, Fort Blakely and Birch Coulee. The monument was the first in the state to honor Minnesota soldiers who fought in the Civil War. It still stands in the Bloomington cemetery today.