Gov. Dayton to speak at New Ulm Civil War 150th commemoration

NEW ULM – Governor Mark Dayton will join Retired Army Colonel Peter Monsoor at a New Ulm Civil War commemoration event to honor the service of local soldiers.

“The Civil War, Gettysburg and New Ulm: A 150th Commemoration” will be held 4-8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 3, at Riverside Park at 101 South Front Street. The grounds, food and beverage tents will open at 3:30 p.m.

In 2011, Governor Dayton established the Minnesota Civil War Task Force to help Minnesotans remember the service of over 18,000 Minnesotans who served in the Civil War. The Governor will speak at 4:15 p.m.

Dr. Peter Mansoor, retired Army Colonel and noted military history author, will give a brief history on the significance and importance of the 1st Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment’s valor.

Other special guests include Major General Elicerio of the Minnesota National Guard, local state representatives and direct descendants of Minnesota native Christopher Heffelfinger, a decorated Civil War Union Army officer.

The program includes three concerts, the first will be presented by the Original German Band of New Ulm, a seventeen-piece band in their 29th concert season.

The second concert will be music by Dick Kimmel and Company, a six-piece string band featuring Blue Grass music of the Civil War era. Their highlight performance is an original composition by song-writer and musician Tony Rook, a native of Raleigh, NC, who now lives in New Prague, MN. Laura Lee is about a young Confederate Soldier marching to battle with General Robert E. Lee.

Lastly, Civil War era favorites and patriotic music will be performed by the New Ulm Municipal Band under the direction of local band director, Don Jirak. Music will be played accompanied by an explanation of relevance to the Civil War era and its significance today.

Following the concerts, a delivery of the Lincoln Gettysburg Address by historian and Abraham Lincoln impersonator, Bryce Stenzel, Mankato, will be given. The evening’s finale includes a performance of Taps, cannon fire and rifle salutes.

During the event, a fabricated full size model of the proposed New Ulm Civil War Memorial will be on display and New Ulm Actors Community Theatre will dress as costumed Civil War characters. The public is encouraged to provide input for the display and participate by wearing period style clothing.

At the outbreak of war in 1861, Minnesota, with a population around 180,000 was the newest state in the Union. Minnesota’s Governor Ramsey made the very first offer to Lincoln to volunteer troops in its defense. New Ulm and Brown County young men were actually training for army duty two months before the outbreak of the Civil War. They made several trips to nearby Fort Ridgely where they learned to fire a cannon.

Many historians claim that the heroism of the 1st Regiment Minnesota Volunteer Infantry changed the Battle of Gettysburg. They stopped a Confederate charge on July 2, 1863 which saved the Union line and allowed Union troops to regroup for a counterattack. The sacrifices made by this regiment were great, with battle casualties to 215 of the 262 regiment members. Their courageous stand was a major factor in helping the Union win the Battle of Gettysburg, and ultimately the Civil War.

The 150th commemoration event is presented by a committee appointed by Robert Beussman, Mayor, City of New Ulm. The event is sponsored by the New Ulm Area Foundation, Minnesota Civil War Task Force and the Prairie Lakes Regional Arts Council with funds appropriated by the Minnesota State Legislature. All activities are free and open to the public.

For more information, please call 507-217-.9276 or visit

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