The Civil War is officially over, kinda
As widely noted by everyone from Military.com to the NYT, WSJ, and WaPo, Irene Triplett, aged 90, the last person to collect benefits for military service performed in the Civil War, recently passed away. Ms. Triplett, the daughter of a veteran of the conflict, received a $73.13 monthly check from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
As the last organized Confederate unit still in the field, Brig-Gen. Chief Stand Watie’s First Indian Brigade, laid down their arms at Doaksville, Oklahoma on June 23, 1865, this late chapter is closed 154 years, 11 months, and 8 days later.
Ms. Triplett’s pa, Mose Triplett, in true Brother-vs-Brother fashion, was a Tar Heel that fought on both sides as the war went on.
He mustered in first in the (Confederate) 53rd North Carolina Infantry then transferred to the much more well known 26th North Carolina— a unit that many historians suggest lost more men than any other at Gettysburg.
Pvt. Triplett later flipped sides and signed on with the bushwhacking Kirk’s Raiders, the controversial (Union) 3rd North Carolina Mounted Infantry, in late 1864. He died in 1938 at age 92 after marrying Irene’s mother very late in life.
In related news, Virginia’s likewise controversial governor, Ralph Northam, says a towering statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee will be removed as soon as possible from Richmond’s Monument Avenue.
And in Mobile, City officials removed the statue and plaques of Confederate RADM/Brig. Gen. Raphael Semmes from its pedestal, where it has stood near the top of Mobile Bay, for the past 120 years.
Semmes– who by all accounts was an absolute officer and gentleman (although eschewed by some as he was a catholic)– was not a proponent of slavery and, indeed, had married Anne Spencer, an anti-slavery Protestant from Cinncinatti. Before skippering the famed commerce raider CSS Alabama (under cruiser rules), Semmes had been a U.S. Navy officer, having served 34 years which included fighting at Veracruz during the Mexican War, and served as head of the U.S. Lighthouse Service just before the war.
Perhaps the Semmes statue will be re-installed at one of the forts at the mouth of Mobile Bay, Fort Gaines or Fort Morgan, where it can be properly conceptualized, and not lost to history.