Education Resource Portal

William Colvill

William Colvill

William Colvill is widely considered to be Minnesota's hero of the Civil War. He commanded the First Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment during the Battle of Gettysburg. When the fighting began, the Confederates broke through the Union army's lines, leaving only the First Minnesota to stand in their way. Colvill led his 262 man regiment straight into the 1,600-man Confederate force. He lost more than 80 percent of his men, but the charge held the Confederates back long enough for Union reinforcements to arrive. When Colvill died in 1905, just before a scheduled reunion of the First Minnesota, his body lay in state in the new Capitol building.