Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

The Boys of ’61 memorial May 9, 2011

ON AUGUST 21, 1862, he was mustered into the Seventh Regiment Minnesota Volunteer Infantry, Company K. He was 34 years old. He was my great great grandfather, John Dallmann.

More than two years later, he was among seven men from his company wounded in the Battle of Nashville. The battle represented one of the Union Army’s largest victories during the Civil War. Two soldiers from Company K were killed in that December 15-16, 1864, conflict.

Remarks written in the Company K roster, published in Minnesota in the Civil and Indian Wars 1861-1865, under the supervision of The Board of Commissioners appointed by the act of the Minnesota legislature in 1889, state that Dahlman (the roster spelling) was “Wounded at Nashville; discharged in hospital in ’65.”

Other than that basic information, I know nothing of my great great grandfather’s military service.

He was among some 24,000 Minnesotans who marched off to war 150 years (or so) ago. Some came home; many died on battlefields or of disease.

My great great grandfather, John Dallmann (seated in the front row) was wounded on December 16, 1864, at the Battle of Nashville. My great grandmother, Anna Dallmann Bode is standing in the center in the back row, between her siblings, Minna, left to right, Carl, Herman and Hulda.

On this the sesquicentennial of our nation’s bloodiest war, plans are in place to construct a memorial honoring “all Minnesota citizens who served and fought to preserve Minnesota and the Union between 1861 and 1866,” according to the Minnesota Boys of ’61 nonprofit corporation.

A one-acre site south of the State Capitol in Summit Park has been selected for the state-wide memorial, current location of a monument to Josiah King, the first Minnesotan to volunteer for the Union.

Design plans call for granite monuments recognizing each Minnesota regiment, battery, battalion or independent organization encircling a full-scale bronze infantryman, calvaryman and civilian volunteer. Artillery pieces will flank each side of the memorial.

Efforts are currently underway to raise $750,000 for the project, which will be funded entirely by private donations.

For Minnesotans, this monument offers an opportunity to honor a soldier-ancestor on a state-wide level. Contributions made payable to “Minnesota Boys of ’61 Memorial” should be sent to:

Minnesota Boys of ’61 Memorial

1524 East Cliff Road

Burnsville, MN. 55337

A “Wall of Honor” will recognize donors at various levels, beginning with patriot donors who give a minimum $150. Contributors may choose to be recognized by personal or business name or may honor an ancestor.

Those who donate over $1,000 in money or in-kind services will also receive a signed, limited edition print of Minnesota Iron, the official Boys of ’61 print by Minnesota artist David Geister.

My great great grandfather's name is listed on the Veterans Wall of Honor in Bella Vista, Arkansas, where my two maternal aunts and their husbands live.

FYI: Log on to boysof61.org for more information about the Minnesota memorial and how you can donate.

Click here to read about the Arkansas memorial.

© Copyright 2011 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Family photo courtesy of Dorothy Bowman