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COL Alexander Wilkin

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COL Alexander Wilkin

  • Birth 1 Dec 1819 Goshen, Orange County, New York, USA
  • Death 14 Jul 1864 Tupelo, Lee County, Mississippi, USA
  • Burial Goshen, Orange County, New York, USA
  • Memorial ID 25736787

Civil War Union Army Officer. A native New Yorker and from a prominent political family (his father Samuel J. Wilkin, and grandfather James Whitney Wilkin, both served in the United States House of Representatives), he studied law under his father in Goshen, New York before volunteering to serve in 1847 in the Mexican War. Commissioned as a Captain on February 28, 1847, he served in the 10th United States Infantry. During this time he became embroiled in a dispute with Captain Joshua W. Collett of the 10th's Company E, the result of which was a duel between the two officers that ended in Captain Collett's death. He resigned from the Army on March 6, 1848, and in the early summer of 1849, he moved to Saint Paul, Minnesota where he practiced law and pursued entrepreneurial activities. A Whig, he gained the support of many influential people and on October 24, 1851, he was named Secretary of the Minnesota Territory by President Millard Fillmore. He served in this capacity from 1851 to 1853. In addition to his political duties and law practice during the 1850s, he was an explorer, newspaper publisher, land speculator, railroad investor and insurance agent. Some of these business ventures were unsuccessful, as was an attempted run for Congress. However in 1853 Wilkin founded Saint Paul Mutual Insurance Company with sixteen other fellow Saint Paul businessmen. He acted as its first president and under his leadership, the insurance company survived the Panic of 1857; after the Civil War it was reincorporated as a stock company and renamed the Saint Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Company (known today as Travelers). With the start of the Civil War, he recruited the first company of the first Minnesota regiment, and was commissioned as Captain and commander of Company A, 1st Minnesota Volunteer Infantry on April 29, 1861. He led his men at the July 21, 1861 First Battle of Bull Run, and for his gallantry he was commissioned on August 5, 1861 as a Captain in the Regular Army (17th United States Infantry). A month later he received a commissioned of Major, US Volunteers and was appointed to the 2nd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry. On August 26, 1862 he received a final promotion, this time to Colonel and commander of the 9th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry. Colonel Wilkin was detached to participate in the Indian campaign in Minnesota in the fall of 1863, but then returned to the south to his regiment, which was attached to the XVI Army Corp under Major General A.J. Smith. Commanding a brigade at the July 14, 1864 Battle of Tupelo, Mississippi, he was shot in the heart and killed in the thickest of the fighting. His remains were eventually returned to Goshen, New York, where they were buried in his family's plot. He was honored by his adopted state in 1868 when Wilkin County, Minnesota was named for him. He was further honored in 1910 when a bronze statue of his was set in place in the Minnesota Capitol Building. A poem extolling Colonel Wilkin's last courageous moments in battle was written and read by Hanford Lennox Gordon at the dedication.

Bio by: LadyGoshen


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: LadyGoshen
  • Added: 4 Apr 2008
  • Find A Grave Memorial 25736787
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for COL Alexander Wilkin (1 Dec 1819–14 Jul 1864), Find A Grave Memorial no. 25736787, citing Slate Hill Cemetery, Goshen, Orange County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .