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Two Civil War veterans to be honored at Blue Earth cemetery

By Staff | May 18, 2009

George Pfeffer’s grave marker.

At the Memorial Day Service in Blue Earth on Monday there will be speeches, bands and salutes.

It is a day to remember, and the program promises to do just that at Riverside Cemetery.

There will be a couple of special remembrances this day, though. Three fallen soldiers will get special honors thanks to the efforts of a few local veterans.

One of those is Richard Henry Krumm, a Blue Earth soldier killed in Vietnam on May 16, 1967. He was killed near the DMZ (De-Militarized Zone) along with three others.

Krumm had joined the Marines shortly after his graduation from the University of St. Thomas. He told his friends and family that he joined the Marines because “they did the real work” in the war.

He signed on in March of 1966, and friends say that although he did become disillusioned with the war, he served honorably, and was awarded the Purple Heart.

Krumm was a wrestler at Blue Earth High School, and his father has kept up a wrestling award in his name to this day.

For those of us who lived through those strange years of the 1960’s, it is hard to believe that 42 years have passed since Richard Krumm, and many other friends, were killed in the Vietnam War.

A short biographical story about Krumm will be placed near his grave on Memorial Day. Plans are to use the same metal stands to display information about him as were used during the Blue Earth Sesquicentennial Cemetery Tour.

While there are probably plenty of folks around who remember Richard Krumm, it is doubtful anyone recalls the other two soldiers who will be honored.

You see, the other two fought in the Civil War, 142 years ago.

The two are George Pfeffer and James Mead. The two are buried in Riverside Cemetery and Calvary Cemetery in Blue Earth.

Pfeffer was born in Germany and lived in Mankato, working as a tailor when volunteers were needed for the Union Army. He walked the 100 miles from Mankato to Fort Snelling to enlist.

At the Battle of Bull Run he was shot through the left side of his chest. The ball (not a bullet) passed through his lung and came out his shoulder blade.

He was left for dead on the battle field, but was found by Confederate soldiers and taken to Richmond, Va. A confederate doctor passed a handkerchief through Pfeffer’s wound, three days after the battle, to clean it out.

He went on to a Confederate prison that was a converted tobacco warehouse. He was released in June, 1862.

Somehow, probably because he had family here, Pfeffer wound up in Blue Earth. He died on October 3, 1892, at the age of 54.

Not much is known about the other soldier, James Mead. He was a private in Company C, 5th Minnesota Infantry Volunteer Regiment. That company was made up of mostly men from Faribault and Freeborn Counties.

Their first action was at Fort Ridgely, near New Ulm, fighting off attacks by Sioux warriors under Little Crow’s leadership.

After that, they saw Civil War action in Mississippi.

Mead was also taken prisoner and spent time in Confederate prisons in Mississippi and Alabama before winding up in the infamous Andersonville, Ga. prison.

Over 13,000 men died at that prison, but luckily Mead only spent three months and 17 days there before leaving on April 1, 1865.

How he ended up being buried in Blue Earth is a bit of a mystery. But he will be remembered with a new grave marker as part of the Memorial Day program this year. As will George Pfeffer.