George G. Barnum

BARNUM, George G.

George Barnum was born in Buffalo, New York on Oct. 10, 1843.

When the Civil War began he enlisted in the 100th Regiment, New York Volunteers. Barnum served for three years and was a captain when the war ended. He was at Appomattox Court House in 1865 when Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered to end the war. Upon orders from Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, Barnum delivered a wagonload of food to Confederate soldiers being held prisoner.

Barnum was one of the first residents of Duluth, Minnesota arriving in 1867 as a member of the first survey party. He first was involved in the railroad and lake shipping industries before joining the grain trade as an incorporator of the Duluth Board of Trade and owner of the Barnum Grain Co.

The town of Barnum was named after him. He gave his monthly Civil War pension checks to the Children’s Home and was known for other philanthropic efforts.

He died in 1936.

During his Civil War service, Barnum wrote letters to members of his family, including this one from Morris Island, S.C., dated July 20, 1863.

It read in part: “On the 18th the monitors and ironclads attacked Fort Wagner and kept up the bombardment all day long and part of the night, assisted by the gunboats above 12 or 14 in number, and it was the grandest sight I ever witnessed....Fort Sumpter remained silent, not firing a gun. The dirt flew high in the air every time a shot struck the fort, and one would think it would be blown to atoms, but it remained firm and replied to our guns thick and fast.

“The Negro Brigade...was ordered to charge on the fort. The boys went out with hearts beating high, longing to meet face to face with the enemy, and they did meet them. It was a splendid night.”

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