The Rochester Public Library has scanned their James Hard scrapbook of newspaper clippings (126 pages).
Mr. Hard was the last verified Union combat veteran of the Civil War. There was one other veteran to died after him but he had only been a drummer boy and nor a soldier.
James Albert Hard was born in Windsor, Broome Co., NY. He joined the Union Army in May 1861 and served in Co. E, 37th NY Volunteers. He saw action at he battles of first Bull Run, Antietam, Fredericksberg, and Chancellorsville. He told the story that during the War he met President Lincoln at a White House reception shortly after joining the Army and saw him again once later.
After the War Mr. Hard worked for a railroad, was a building contractor and a veteran’s pension attorney. He also joined the veteran’s organization, the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR). In that organization, he served two terms as NY State commander and was the national junior vice-commander in chief. Mr Hard was one of six at the last encampment of the GAR. in 1949.
The scrapbook shows Mr. Hard at the hospital a few times before his death on 12 March 1953 at Rochester General Hospital. He had died from complications following having his right leg being amputated from circulation problems. His funeral was held at the Masonic Temple and then a funeral procession of 1,000 people following his remains through downtown Rochester. He was buried in Mt. Hope Cemetery with military honors. It was said at the time of his death that was aged 111 years old but research through old census records, years later, found that he was only 109 years old.
The scrapbook chronicles Mr Hard from 1941 through to his funeral. It includes a series of articles of his telling of his war experiences. Only complaint is that the scrapbook pages are a little dark.
Click on pictures for a larger view.