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Friday, December 9, 2011

Civil War Photo Friday: The Last of Shelby's Men

I first saw this gravestone more than ten years ago at the Confederate retirement home in Higginsville, Missouri, and it has always stuck in my mind. Many old warriors came here to live out their days, and the last one to die was John T. Graves. He joined J.O. Shelby's famous Iron Brigade of Missouri cavalry raiders, survived the war, and lived through half of the twentieth century.

Remarkably, he wasn't the "last of Shelby's men". Joseph Hayden Whitsett was still alive in Texas and made it to 1951.

Of course I put this image in my book Ride Around Missouri: Shelby's Great Raid 1863. Shelby's Iron Brigade made numerous grueling raids into Union-occupied Missouri. His "ride around Missouri" was the most ambitious, and led the Union troops on a merry chase through the entire state.

It's amazing to look at these old gravestones and realize that some Civil War veterans lived so long. Albert Woolson, a Union drummer boy and the last surviving Civil War veteran whose story is confirmed, lived until August 2, 1956! There must be old folks around today who remember some of these guys. The Civil War wasn't so long ago after all. 


  1. It is quite amazing that these guys were still around when my parents were kids. civilwardays.blogspot.com

  2. I grew up hearing stories about Graves. He was one of my cousins and lived out his days around our family farm. I thought this was very interesting for you to put up. Thanks.


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