In 1864, while civil war raged across the United States, a Congregational minister named Elias Hillard set out on a mission to find six men. There was urgency in his quest. All six of these men were near 100 years old. Some of them had passed the century mark. They were the last surviving soldiers of the American Revolutionary War.
Eighty-three years after British General Cornwallis surrendered to the Americans at Yorktown, ending the War of Independence, photos of the last six surviving veterans were taken, their histories and memories recorded, their names, faces, and stories preserved.
Here is a brief overview of each man’s story, with his photo.
Teenagers, frontiersmen, drummer boys, prisoners, guards, farmers, runaway apprentices, and soldiers. Here are their stories given in detail at AmericanRevolution.org:
A Photograph of each from Life
TOGETHER WITH VIEWS OF THEIR HOMES PRINTED IN COLORS.
Accompanied by brief Biographical Sketches of the Men
REV. E. B. HILLARD
ENTERED ACCORDING To ACT OF CONGRESS IN THE YEAR 1864, BY N.
A, & R. A. MOORE,
IN THE CLERK’S OFFICE OF THE DISTRICT COURT OF CONNECTICUT.
H. S. GRIFFITHS, PRINTER, HARTFORD, CONN.
For capturing a sense of the language and speech patterns of these old soldiers, and a glimpse into the mindset of men who were young during the late 18th century (not to mention the mindset, attitudes, and outlook of the interviewer, a man of the mid-1800s) this collection is worth a look.
But to a history lover like me, just getting to see their faces was enough to make it worth checking out.