William Colvill Camp 56
Minneapolis / St. Paul
Camp officers:
Commander: Andrew Willenbring
Sr. Vice Commander: Douglas Urbanski
Jr. Vice Commander: Glen Kieker
Secretary / Treasurer: Mark Campbell
Council #1: PCC Garen Engquist
Council #2: Robert Minish
Council #3: Randall Nelson PCC
Membership Information Contact: Mark Campbell
Colonel William Colvill

Col. William Colvill, 1st Minnesota

Camp Meetings

Contact Camp Secretary/Treasurer Mark Campbell for detail about upcoming meetings.

About Col. William Colvill

William Colvill was born at Forestville, Chautauqua County, New York, on April 5, 1830. He graduated from the Fredonia Academy, taught school for a year and then read Law in Millard Fillmore's office in Buffalo before being admitted to the New York Bar in 1851. He married Jane Elizabeth Morgan of Oneida County, who was a direct descendant of Elder Brewster, one of the Pilgrim Fathers. In 1854, they migrated to Minnesota, where he worked about a year in St. Paul as enrolling clerk and then secretary of the Territorial Council. The following year, Colvill went to Red Wing and established the Red Wing Sentinel, an independent Democratic paper, which he published until he enlisted in the Union Army.

When President Lincoln made his first call for volunteers, a war meeting was held at Red Wing. Colvill was the first to volunteer. He was elected Captain of Company F, 1st Minnesota Infantry. He was first wounded in the fighting on the Chichahominy; on the march to Gettysburg, he had a horse shot from under him and received some slight injuries; and in the charge at Gettysburg he was severely wounded twice in the hip and these crippled him for life.

Colvill participated in 28 battles, but is best known for leading the charge of the 1st Minnesota at Gettysburg, holding the Union line until reinforcements arrived and changing defeat to victory. He was mustered out on May 4, 1864, returned home, and improved from his wounds. That summer, he re-enlisted in the 1st Minnesota Heavy Artillery, was commissioned its Colonel, and served in and about Chattanooga until the close of the war. He was mustered out in July 1866.

After the war, Col. Colvill returned to Red Wing, where he practiced law, got involved in politics and continued to publish the Sentinel. He was elected a Representative to the State Legislature from Goodhue County in 1865 and 1878. He was State Attorney General from 1866 to 1868. In 1887, President Cleveland appointed him Register of the Duluth Land Office. He resigned that office in 1891and four years later, returned to his homestead, about seven miles northeast of Grand Marais. He spent the remaining years of his life living either on his homestead or on his farm near Red Wing.

Col. Colvill died in his sleep, June 14, 1905, at the Soldier's Home in Minneapolis, where he had come from Red Wing to attend a reunion of his old regiment. He is buried beside his wife in Cannon Falls. A bronze statue of Col. Colvill was placed in the rotunda of the Minnesota State Capitol in 1909. A replica of it at Cannon Falls was dedicated by President Coolidge in 1928.

Camp Calendar
Days the flag should be flown Days the flag should be flown

1 May: Loyalty Day
28 May: Days the flag should be flown Memorial Day Mass and Ceremony, 10 a.m., Calvary Cemetery, Milwaukee
2 June: 135th Annual Dept. of Wisconsin Encampment, Wisconsin Veteran's Home, King, WI (hosted by Old Abe Camp 8)
Encampment Registration Form
14 June: Days the flag should be flown Flag Day
4 July: Days the flag should be flown Independence Day
9-12 August: 137th National Encampment, Sheraton Framingham Hotel and Conference Center, Framingham, MA

Recent Activities

Lichtfield GAR HallLitchfield GAR Hall: The Meeker County Historical Society gave a presentation to Camp #56 members earlier this year on its Civil War cannon project. Two original cannons will be on display inside the Litchfield GAR hall while two replica cannons will be placed outside at the building's entrance. Once the home of Frank Daggett Post #35, the Litchfield GAR hall now serves as the headquarters for Camp #56.

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Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War
Department of Wisconsin


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