MEMORIAL DAY….This year’s Memorial Day tribute is to the Civil War Veterans of Cerro Gordo, Illinois. The fellow in the yellow circle is my great-grandfather, Eli Drum, who joined the 107th Illinois Infantry regiment at the age of 19 and served for the duration ? all the while toting around a diary containing a picture of a mysterious young woman named Sal. He participated in the Siege of Knoxville, the Battle of Kenesaw Mountain, helped Sherman burn Atlanta, and then finished up his service at the Battle of Franklin. On July 2nd, 1865, the 107th returned to Camp Butler, where they received their final payment and were discharged. From there, Eli went home to Cerro Gordo, where he got married, became the town druggist, served as postmaster, and eventually started up three newspapers.

Here’s to you, Eli.

YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED: The photo is of GAR Post No. 210. The date is unknown, but judging from other pictures of Eli, it was taken around 1910 or so.

Sal remains a mystery. The picture of her was taken in Circleville, Ohio, where Eli and the rest of the Drum family lived until 1856. In pencil on the front is written “Look on this picture and,” but the continuation on the back is illegible. All that’s left is “Miss Sal.” Her name matches no known family friends or relatives, and I imagine she will remain a mystery forever.

Also, thanks to Rea in comments for correcting my battle chronology.

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