Anson Croman and the 150th Anniversary of the Grand Review

May 22, 2015 § Leave a comment

On May 23, 1865, the Army of the Potomac, which including the 20th Michigan Infantry Regiment, paraded in the Grand Review of the Armies in Washington D.C. The Army of the Potomac had defeated the Army of Northern Virginia forcing General Lee to surrender.


”Washington, D.C. Infantry unit with fixed bayonets followed by ambulances passing on Pennsylvania Avenue near the Treasury” – Library of Congress caption.

Click for larger image.

None of the units are identified in the Library of Congress’s photos of the Grand Review. While this may not be the 20th Michigan, this illustrates how the 20th Michigan appeared at the Grand Review.

Library of Congress states: No known restrictions on publication (Library of Congress)

The next day on May 24th, the Army of the Tennessee paraded. Under the command of General Sherman, they had defeated the Confederate armies south and west of Virginia, forcing their surrender in North Carolina shortly after General Lee’s surrender.

This was a bittersweet celebration. The Confederacy was defeated and the major rebel armies had surrendered. But Abraham Lincoln, the architect of the victory with the abolition of slavery and reunification, was not present as he had been murdered five weeks earlier.

After the Grand Review, Anson Croman and the 20th Michigan were demobilized and returned to Michigan. Anson married Mariah.


Anson and Mariah Croman, undated.

Among the many things he did was with the rest of his life was to care for his great-grandchildren including my mother-in-law Marge (Mitchell) Robinson.

One of Anson’s great-grandsons Robert remembers Anson calling to his great-grandchildren to “come shake the hand that shook Abe Lincoln’s!”.

Anson died two months before his 94th birthday in 1938 and is buried in Mt. Hope Cemetery in Waterloo, Michigan.


2004 photo of Anson Croman gravestone by Ralph E. Robinson, Anson’s great-grandson-in-law.

Links, sources, and more information:

1865: Anson Croman and the Civil War

1865 – 1938: The Rest of His Life

The Library of Congress has over 134 photos of the Grand Review.

If Anson Croman wrote letters home, none have survived.

Therefore the best way to preserve the story of his service is by sharing the history of his regiment.

Records document that Anson Croman was with his regiment from his 1862 enlistment until the Confederate surrender at Appomattox, Virginia in 1865.

The Musbachs and Robinsons are direct line descendants of Anson Croman and he is my 2nd great-grandfather-in-law.



Why Cinco de Mayo is also a U.S. holiday

May 5, 2015 § Leave a comment

Cinco de Mayo is more than Mexican cultural and historical event.

Cinco de Mayo celebrates the post Mexican War (1846-1848) friendship between our countries and American support for the Mexican struggle to regain independence from France.

In 1861 during the U.S. Civil War, France sent troops to Mexico and made Mexico into a French colony.

The U.S. was still committed to its foreign policy of opposing by force attempts to recolonize any American nation that had won their independence (the Monroe Doctrine). The Civil War prevented the U.S. from enforcing that policy. As Lincoln said regarding another dispute, only one war at a time.

However, Mexico resisted.

On May 5, 1862, at Pueblo outside of Mexico City, Mexican irregulars, guerrillas, and militia defeated the invading French forces.

While the French lost that battle, they still were able to capture Mexico City and impose colonial rule.

Despite losing their capitol and government, Mexico continued to resist.

Abraham Lincoln and the Union supported the Mexicans while the Confederacy hoped to trade support for the French colonization of Mexico for recognition of Confederate independence.

At Lincoln’s order in late 1863 Union forces landed from the Gulf of Mexico and seized Brownsville, Texas as a show of force and a warning to France.

After the surrender of the Confederacy, 50,000 Federal troops under General Philip Sheridan were deployed to the Mexican border with Texas.


General Philip Sheridan commander of the U.S. forces deployed to the Texas border with Mexico.

1865 photo by Matthew Brady from the Library of Congress.

France withdrew and the Mexicans overthrew the colonial government, completing their struggle which began with their victory on the first Cinco de Mayo.

The success of the Mexican resistance restored Mexican independence and saved the U.S. from engaging in another war immediately after the Civil War.

Napolean III’s defeat in Mexico also was a victory for the French resistance to his dictatorship.

Cinco de Mayo was one in a series of events over eight years that resulted in his fall and the restoration of democracy in France with the establishment of the Third Republic in 1870.

That’s something all three nations can celebrate together.

I wrote this in reaction to white supremacists advocating making Cinco de Mayo “Turn in an Illegal Day”.

In depth historical background and context are occasional features of my family history blogs.

Originally posted on May 5, 2010 on Leonard’s Critical Thinking with a Cynical Edge.

Revised: May 5, 2018.


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