First Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment
Sgt. Wm Irvine shortly after
Gettysburg holding the tattered
regimental flag
The First Minnesota Infantry Regiment was one of the first units organized after President Lincoln's call for 75,000 troops in April, 1861. The regiment was quickly filled with enthusiastic men from all parts of Minnesota and was one of the few regiments that received training by a qualified officer. Colonel Gorman was an unpleasant but competent taskmaster and by July, 1861 the regiment had been sent east and fought with distinction at the
Charles Mason Co.D
mortally wounded at Gettysburg
battle of Bull Run under Colonel Gormans leadership. The regiment participated in all the major campaigns of the Army of the Potomac through the fall of 1863 and a portion of the command called the First Battalion was present at Appomattox, the final battle of the war.

The regiment is best known for the dramatic charge at the battle of Gettysburg. On the evening of July 2, 1863 the regiment attacked Wilcox's Alabama Brigade as it was preparing for the final push to break the Union line. Confederate General Wilcox stated in his report, "This stronghold of the enemy, together with his batteries, were almost won, when still another line of infantry descended the slope in our front at a double-quick, to the support of their fleeing comrades and for the defense of the batteries." The line of infantry was the First Minnesota. They crossed over 200 yards of open ground and charged the Confederates in spite of five to one odds. The rebels recovered and in five minutes killed or wounded over 170 of the 300 plus men. The survivors did not panic but fell back to their orginal position and rallied around the remnant of the flag waiting for a counterattack that did not come.

The reduced regiment fought as skirmishers at the battle of Bristoe Station and mustered out in May 1864. The First Battalion was created with veterans of the regiment who reenlisted or had more time to serve and this unit saw heavy action at Petersburg and Appomattox.

After the war the survivors held annual reunions in Minneapolis and St. Paul where they reminisced and took up collections to help members in need. These reunions continued until 1932; the last members of the regiment, Edwin Season and James Wright of Company F died in 1936.