Latest News

• • •

25th Anniversary of Ken Burns’ film ‘The Civil War’


To mark the 25th Anniversary of Ken Burns’ magnificent film The Civil War, PBS is rebroadcasting over five nights, Sept. 7 – 11, 2015, at 9PM ET, a fully re-mastered HD  edition of this amazing film, which, to this day, is the highest rated PBS series ever broadcast having attracted nearly 39 million viewers when first broadcast in September 1990.

In addition, on August 11th, PBS will broadcast a new special that tells the story behind the award-winning series and its impact on the viewing audience and documentary film production.  The special features interviews with Ken Burns, writer Geoffrey Ward, co-writer and co-producer Ric Burns, and others.  Sam Waterston, who is the voice of Lincoln in the film, is the host of the special.

Great documentary film-making is evergreen as the re-broadcast of this seminal film will show.

This truly is must-see TV.

Project update


UPDATE: First Minnesota Films was recently featured in the Pioneer Press.

Following the completion of the research and story development phase of the project, we have been quietly working behind the scenes to complete the fund raising needed to finish production of the film.

While this effort has been moving slowly, all of our partners have remained steadfast in their support and belief in No More Gallant a Deed. For this we are thankful.

On the promising news front, we have been invited by Representative Dean Urdahl, Chairman of the Legacy Fund Committee of the Minnesota State Legislature, to present our project to the full committee for their consideration as part of the 2015 legislative session’s allocation of Legacy Funds.

The legislative process is a slow one that won’t be complete until the session ends in May.

Commemorating the First at Cannon Falls


This past Tuesday, July 2, Bill Semans and I went to Cannon Falls, Minnesota to attend a ceremony commemorating Col. William Colvill and the First Minnesota Regiment 150 years almost to the hour of the First’s famous charge during the Battle of Gettysburg.

It was a beautiful, early evening when the crowd of a few hundred were treated to a presentation of arms by members of the Minnesota National Guard, a wreath laying ceremony at Col. Colvill’s grave, and the playing of taps as the sun hung low on the horizon.

Bill was interview by several media outlets while there. Some of his interview is included on this nice piece by Kare-11.

Thanks to Major Kristen Auge of the Minnesota National Guard for inviting us.

Minnesota Twins salute Military Veterans


On Sunday, June 30 our production team attended the Minnesota Twins game at Target Field. During the pre-game program saluting veterans of all branches of the service, a short piece was run on the 40 foot wide video screen promoting our film. Thanks to the Minnesota National Guard for giving us the screen time.

Also this week, I received a call from the great-great grandson of Henry D. O’Brien of the First Minnesota, an early Congressional Medal of Honor winner. It is always rewarding to hear from relatives of veterans of the First. Henry is this week’s profiled soldier.

First Minnesota Films at Target Field


This Sunday, No More Gallant a Deed will be featured as part of a Minnesota National Guard ceremony preceding the Twins game at Target Field.

First Minnesota Films wants to thank the Minnesota National Guard and the Minnesota Twins for bringing our film No More Gallant a Deed to the attention of thousands of Minnesotans.

Below is the short promotional video for the film and transcript from the ceremony:

Ladies and gentlemen, in 1861, when President Lincoln called for 75,000 troops to support the Union Army in battle, Minnesota Governor Alexander Ramsey was the first to tender troops from his state. It took less than two weeks to obtain 1,009 volunteers to answer the call. Thus, the First Minnesota entered into military service. July 2nd will mark 150 years since the First Minnesota fought at Gettysburg which significantly impacted the Union being able to win the war. To capture this history, producer Jeff Hohman and his team are producing a documentary to record the lives of these citizen soldiers. Please direct your attention to the video board for a short piece.

Visit the First Minnesota Films office


In our office is a forty foot long, eight foot high, white sheetrock wall on which the film is being storyboarded.

A month ago or so, we began bringing visitors in to see the wall, currently filled with the Battle of Gettysburg section. While we expected a reaction to the accumulated images, we did not expect the response from the array of grainy photocopies to be so emotional. Some have been moved to tears standing before the wall. This speaks to the fundamental power of the story of the 1st Minnesota Volunteer Regiment and why we are making this film.

Trading ideas with other Civil War stakeholders


On the evening of Thursday, October 11th, a gathering of Civil War stakeholders in Minnesota was held at the James J. Hill House in St. Paul.

The purposes were to make introductions, share opinions, and cross-pollinate ideas regarding our individual and collective efforts marking Minnesota’s involvement in the Civil War.

The 1st Minnesota’s Return Home: Winona


Recently I had occasion to visit La Crosse, Wisconsin.  An evening soiree on behalf of the Mississippi Valley Conservancy was held on sightseeing pontoon boat.  We left from Levee Park in downtown La Crosse and wandered amongst the backwater islands and sand dunes near La Crosse. 

La Crosse’s Levee Park was designed by Frederick Law Olmstead the Younger in the early 1900’s.  His father, Frederick Law Olmstead the Elder, designed Central Park.  Go to Wikipedia and read about the two Olmsteads and imagine what America would be like without the influence of their landscape contributions.

On the trail of the 1st Minnesota


Last week, Bill Semans, Director of No More Gallant a Deed, and I travelled to Rochester and Winona to speak to their Civil War Roundtables.  We had a terrific time.  Both groups were energetic and engaged.  They asked many good questions about the project both in terms of its subject matter and how we plan on telling this rich and dramatic story.

We spoke in Rochester on Wednesday night and Winona on Thursday.  Since it is a short trip between these two Southeastern Minnesota cities, we took our time and made a side trip to see the Pickwick Mill located in Pickwick, Minnesota which was named after Dickens’ Pickwick Papers.   The mill  ground grain for the Union Army. Later, we drove past the Bunnell House, a Civil War era home located in Homer, Minnesota.

The 1st Minnesota’s First Battle: Bull Run


It was a time before newsreels. It was a time before the 24-hour news cycle. There were no battlefield photos from previous wars to be seen. It was a time before the photographs of World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam had seared images of war’s cruelty on the public mind.

The great mass of people didn’t know the reality of war. Everyone knew someone who had died violently because work was dangerous. People died of disease and epidemics because medicine was inadequate.  Women often died in childbirth.  But no one had ever seen death on the scale that the big battles of the Civil War were about to reveal. No one. Not ever.

Donate

Make a Financial Contribution

Our film is being funded from corporate sponsors and from individuals like you.

To make this film possible we need your help. Please consider making a financial contribution today. More »

Photographs and Artifacts

We are asking organizations and individuals to look over their collections for any information, photos, or artifacts related to the 1st Minnesota. More »

Latest News

25th Anniversary of Ken Burns’ ‘The Civil War’

Aug 8, 2015

To mark the 25th Anniversary of Ken Burns’ magnificent film The Civil War, PBS is rebroadcasting it over five nights.More »

Project update

May 10, 2015

Following the completion of the research and story development phase of the project, we have been quietly working behind the scenes to complete the fund raising needed to finish production of the film.More »

First Minnesota Films at Target Field

June 29, 2013

This Sunday, No More Gallant a Deed will be featured as part of a Minnesota National Guard ceremony preceding the Twins game at Target Field.More »

Trading ideas with other Civil War stakeholders

October 30th, 2012

On the evening of Thursday, October 11th, a gathering of Civil War stakeholders in Minnesota was held at the James J. Hill House in St. Paul.More »

The 1st Minnesota’s Return Home: Winona

August 27th, 2012

Recently I had occasion to visit La Crosse, Wisconsin.  An evening soiree on behalf of the Mississippi Valley Conservancy was held on sightseeing pontoon boat. More »

On the trail of the 1st Minnesota

May 17th, 2012

Last week, Bill Semans, Director of No More Gallant a Deed, and I travelled to Rochester and Winona to speak to their Civil War Roundtables. More »

The 1st Minnesota's First Battle: Bull Run

April 20th, 2012

It was a time before newsreels. It was a time before the 24-hour news cycle. There were no battlefield photos from previous wars to be seen. More »

The Men

Charles Goddard

Charlie Goddard was born in Pennsylvania May 14, 1845 to Catherine and Abner Goddard. He was the only child of nine that survived childhood.More »

Edward Bassett

Edward Bassett was just 19 when he was mustered into Company G of the 1st Minnesota on April 29, 1861 as a private. His family moved west, settling in Morristown, Minnesota in the south central part of the state.More »

Mathew Marvin

Mathew Marvin was born on September 21, 1838 in Connaston, New York. In 1859 at the age of 19, Matthew moved to Winona, Minnesota where he worked as a clerk for J. J. Randall & Co, a leather goods store. More »

Samuel Stebbins

Samuel was born in Brookline, Vermont on April 30, 1830. Upon reaching his majority, he travelled quite extensively and worked at a variety of occupations before purchasing a farm near Winona, Minnesota in the fall of 1856. More »

The Timeline

1861

Apr 12

Confederates open fire on Fort Sumter.

In Washington, Governor Alexander Ramsey pledges 1000 Minnesota troops to President Lincoln, the first troops pledged.

Apr 15

President Lincoln calls for 75,000 troops.

Apr 27

The ten companies of the 1st Minnesota report to Fort Snelling.

Jun 22

The 1st leaves for Washington D.C., arriving on June 26.

Jul 21

The 1st sees combat at the Battle of Bull Run. One of the last regiments to leave the battlefield, the 1st suffered the highest casualties of any Union regiment with 48 killed, 83 wounded, 23 wounded and missing, and 30 missing.

Oct 21

The 1st is lightly engaged at the Battle of Ball's Bluff.

More »