Civil War Veterans

The Civil War took place from 1861-1865.  As Griggs County was not settled until the 1880's the war left little impact on the county.  The majority of the first settlers were immigrants from the northern European countries and had not any experiences with the War Between the States.

A small number of the first settlers came from the states east of the Dakotas.  A few of these had served with the Union forces.  We read about Bounty payments and Soldier Scrip, which they may have used, in securing government land.

In the Myrtle Porterville historical collection are a number of letters written by Dubois Newell to his parents in Illinois while he served with the Union forces in Tennessee, Georgia and North Carolina.  In one of his first letters from Camp Butler in Illinois he wrote, "They won't pay us our Bounty until they start us down to our regiment.€  We do not believe Mr. Newell used his Bounty in securing land in Griggs County.  In another document it was stated that he bought his land.  (Section 11, Sverdrup Twp.) from his brother, Wesley W. Newell who had settled here in 1883.  In his war letters Mr. Newell told about poor living conditions, rainy weather and limited rations.  The enemy troops were referred to as rebels.  Dubois Newell lived in Griggs County from 1888 to his death in 1895.

Another local man who had served with the Union forces was Mr. E.C. Butler.  Mr. Butler enlisted at the outset of the Civil War at the age of 17 in Company 1, 25th Maine Militia, and later served in Company G, 23rd Maine Infantry Volunteers until the regiment was mustered out of service.  Mr. Butler farmed in both Steele and Griggs County and his picture was hung in the Hall of Fame at the State Agricultural College by the Saddle and Sirloin Club January 30, 1925.  Mr. Butler died in Cooperstown in 1929.  He was the last of Griggs County's Civil War veterans.

The years of the Civil War are recalled in this area by documentation of the Sibley Expedition, in 1863, into what was to become Griggs County.  General Sibley€™s expedition was in pursuit of the Sioux Indians that were part of the tribe that had taken part in the Minnesota Massacre in 1862.  A camp about two miles south of Binford was occupied about one month in 1863 by part of the Sibley forces.  It was named Camp Atchison, in honor of Capt. Atchison.  An impressive marker has been erected at this historic place.

Source: Cooperstown, North Dakota 1882-1982 Centennial Page 174

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