Final Word on the Civil War

Just kidding….but the fifteen minute YouTube recording below may be the last audio sample of an actual veteran who provides a meaningful narrative instead of a mere sound bite.

The speaker is Julius Franklin Howell who enlisted in the 24th Virginia Cavalry at age 16 in 1862. The surprisingly lucid recording was made when he was 98 years old. He also addressed Congress for a single minute in 1947 when he was 101 years old.

Howell was born near the Holy Neck section of Suffolk in southeastern Virginia. He was the youngest of 16 children and the son of a Baptist minister. He saw action guarding the Blackwater River until his regiment left to help defend Richmond in 1864. By then, he was a corporal and courier for two generals. Howell was wounded once during the war.

After the war he attended the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard University and became the President of a now-defunct Virginia College. He also served at least one term as Commander & Chief of the United Confederate Veterans. He was awarded the honorary rank of “General” long after the war ended.

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