The Living History Tour Commemorates the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War

At the Angelus Rosedale Cemetery, History Comes to Life on Saturday, September 27, as the annual Living History Tour commemorates the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War, with stories told by those who witnessed it.

The War Between the States remains a touchstone event for Americans.  The conflict began on April 12, 1861, when the Confederates attacked Fort Sumter in South Carolina, and ended on April 9, 1865 when Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox, Virginia – just a few days before President Abe Lincoln’s assassination. The Civil War’s sesquicentennial has been remembered across America with events and exhibitions.
At this year’s Living History Tour, visitors will “meet” a variety of Civil War era personages, all of whom later made Los Angeles their home. These war veterans include both Union and Confederate soldiers, including two who fought at Gettysburg; along with a Civil War “Florence Nightingale” who became the oldest surviving Union Army nurse, a former slave who served as a Union chaplain,  an actor, the founder of the Union Rescue Mission, and a flamboyant Wild West pioneer (and former Confederate soldier) who was friends with Doc Holliday,  mentored the “Apache Kid” (later a renegade), and captured Geronimo. (Allen Allensworth pictured)

Not all of this year’s portrayals will be of men who fought at war. A Confederate generate killed at Shiloh left behind in Los Angeles his children and his widow, a strong Southern woman who witnessed how the war tore asunder relationships in the former Pueblo. And visitors will also meet the female cousins of President Abraham Lincoln, and Confederate President Jefferson Davis, who, like the others portrayed this year, are buried at Angelus Rosedale Cemetery.

Because the battles largely took place east of the Mississippi River, few people today realize that there’s Civil War history right here in Southern California. Secessionists were likely in the majority in pre-Civil War Los Angeles, where Abe LincolnaugMargaretMeserollweb2 garnered just 350 votes in the 1860 election. Once the war began, armed skirmishes played out on Los Angeles’s dusty streets. In response, the federal government built Camp Drum in Wilmington; the remaining Union Army barracks is now a Civil War museum. Federal troops were also sent to Catalina Island, responding to rumors that Confederates planned to seize the island for a base to strike at and loot ships hauling gold. In Pasadena, two streets remind us of the Civil War heritage: Fair Oaks was named for southern sympathizers, while Union Street gives a nod to northern sympathizers. (Margaret Meseroll Hayes Pictured)

Angelus Rosedale Cemetery was founded in 1884, and is now home to many generations of Los Angeles's citizens, representing every race, faith, and creed.  Along with family plots that are the permanent resting places for both Confederate and Union veterans, some 450 Union soldier veterans are buried in a plot at Angelus-Rosedale Cemetery dedicated to the Grand Army of the Republic. Each year, West Adams Heritage Association (WAHA) tells some of their life stories while touring the historic grounds and elaborately-carved monuments of L.A.’s first lawn cemetery. 

This year’s portrayals include:

• Mary Davis Flournoy, cousin of Jefferson Davis, and Lina Carlisle, cousin to Abraham Lincoln;

• Col. Allen Allensworth, who was born into slavery, escaped during the Civil War and joined the Union Army, later serving as a military chaplain; in 1908 Allensworth founded a self-named town for African-Americans where they could live free of political and social persecution;

• Margaret Meseroll Hayes, the last living Civil War nurse who died at age 101 in 1934;

augLymanstewartweb Lyman Stewart, who joined the Pennsylvania Cavalry and fought at Gettysburg; after the war, he became an oil wildcatter who founded Union Oil, and then used his wealth to establish the “Jesus Saves” BIOLA (Bible Institute of Los Angeles) College and the Union Rescue Mission;

auggottswebLouis F. Gottschalk, who was a Missouri lawyer, judge and legislator who fought on the Union side and later served as the state’s Acting Governor before moving West;

• Eliza Griffin Johnston, the widow of one of the most famed Confederate Generals, Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston, who died at the battle of Shiloh;

augBridwelBeaufordweb Clay Beauford/Welford Chapman Bridwell -- Bridwell changed his name and joined the Confederacy at age 14 (he didn’t want his parents to find him). As Beauford, he later joined the U.S. Army to fight in the Indian Wars, and received the Medal of Honor; and

augHSDuffieldwebHarry Duffield, an actor who made his first footlight bow at age 12, but a year later ran away from home to become Confederate drummer boy; after the war, spent a lifetime on stage and, later, screen.

Tickets will go on sale in early August and cost $30 apiece (by September 10; after that date or at the door, $35, space available). Purchase online or download a mail-in form at

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Established in August of 2008 by writerartist Dianne V. Lawrence, The Neighborhood News covers the events, people, history, politics and historic architecture of communities throughout the Mid-City and West Adams area in Los Angeles Council District 10.

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