The Immortal 17: Civil War Veterans on the Active Army List in 1909, Part 2

Author’s note: This is Part 2 of 2 listing the 17 officers still on the active army list four decades after the Civil War ended. You can find Part 1 here

 John Francis Weston (November 13, 1845 — August 3, 1917)

Major General John F. Weston. (Library of Congress)

Weston was commissioned a first lieutenant in the 4th Kentucky Cavalry on November 26, 1861, and rose to major by November 1, 1864. He received the Medal of Honor for his conduct at Wetumpka, Alabama, on April 13, 1865. His citation read: “This officer, with a small detachment, while en route to destroy steamboats loaded with supplies for the enemy, was stopped by an unfordable river, but with five of his men swam the river, captured two leaky canoes, and ferried his men across. He then encountered and defeated the enemy, and on reaching Wetumpka found the steamers anchored in midstream. By a ruse obtained possession of a boat, with which he reached the steamers and demanded and received their surrender.” During the Spanish-American War, Weston served as the chief commissary under Major General William R. Shafter in Cuba. In October 1905, Wesson retired with the rank of major general. In 1917, he died at the age of 71 and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.[1]

 Eugene Oscar Fechét (March 14, 1846 — January 15, 1925)

Lt. Colonel Eugene O. Fechét. (Find A Grave)

Fechét enlisted in Battery B, 1st Michigan Light Artillery in September 1861. He was discharged as a first sergeant on April 10, 1864, to accept an appointment to West Point. He graduated in the Class of 1868. In 1872, he took leave to serve as the chief signal officer on the General Staff of the Egyptian Army. Fechét resigned in 1875 to travel to South America to take charge of the mining operations for the Remington Arms Company. When war broke out with Spain, he offered his services and was appointed a major in the Signal Corps. He retired with the rank of lieutenant colonel in March 1910. Fechét died at the age of 78 in 1925 and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.[2]

James Nicholls Allison (September 4, 1848 — May 2, 1918)

Brigadier General James N. Allison. (Library of Congress)

Allison enlisted as a private in the 39th Kentucky Infantry, the same regiment as his father, Quartermaster-Sergeant (later First Lieutenant) James Willets Allison, on August 10, 1863. He was mustered out in 1865. He was appointed to West Point in 1867. He graduated in the Class of 1871. After graduating from the academy, Allison took part in a number of Native American campaigns. During the Spanish American War, he served as the chief commissary of the 2nd Corps. Allison retired in June 1912 with the rank of brigadier general. He was one of the four Civil War veterans still on the active list at the time. He died in 1918 in Portland, Oregon, at the age of 69. He was cremated by the Portland Crematory on May 4 (now Wilhelm’s Portland Memorial). The location of Allison’s cremated remains is unknown.[3]

George Breckenridge Davis (February 14, 1847 — December 16, 1914)

Major General George B. Davis. (The Association of the Graduates of the United States Military Academy, June 11, 1912)

Davis enlisted as a private in the 1st Massachusetts Cavalry on September 8, 1863. He fought in more than 25 battles during the war. He was mustered out on June 26, 1865. He received an appointment to West Point in 1867 after writing to President Andrew Johnson. Davis graduated in the Class of 1871. He served as a professor of law at the academy and was regarded as the greatest legal expert in uniform at the time. Davis served as the judge advocate general of the army from May 1901 to February 1911. He retired as a major general. Davis died at the age of 67 in 1914 and was buried at the United States Military Academy Post Cemetery.[4]

Arthur MacArthur, Jr.  (June 2, 1845 — September 5, 1912)

U.S. Philippine Commission. Lt. General Arthur McArthur, Jr. seated fourth from left. (Library of Congress)

McArthur, Jr. is probably the best known among the 17 officers listed. He was appointed a lieutenant and adjutant of the 24th Wisconsin Infantry on August 4, 1862. He won the Medal of Honor for his heroism at Missionary Ridge on November 25, 1863, when he seized his regiment’s colors at a critical moment of the battle and planted them on the crest of the ridge in the enemy’s works. (He and his son, Douglas McArthur, Jr. are the first father and son to win this honor.) He ended the war as a 20-year-old colonel in command of the regiment when he was mustered out on June 10, 1865. McArthur, Jr. retired in June 1909 with the rank of lieutenant general after 47 years of service. He died of a heart attack while attending a Civil War reunion for the 24th Wisconsin Regiment on September 5, 1912, at the age of 67. MacArthur, Jr. was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.[5]

Earl Dennison Thomas (January 4, 1847 — February 17, 1921)

Brigadier General Earl D. Thomas’ grave. (Find A Grave)

Thomas enlisted as a private in the 8th Illinois Cavalry in April 1862. He fought with the regiment in a number of the Army of the Potomac’s key engagements, which included the Seven Days’ Battles, Antietam, Fredericksburg, and Gettysburg. He was discharged on April 22, 1865. Thomas was appointed to West Point the same year. He graduated in the Class of 1869. He took part in expeditions against Native Americans in Nebraska, Arizona, and New Mexico. After the Spanish-American War, Thomas served in both the Philippines and Cuba. In April 1907, he was promoted to the rank of brigadier general. He retired in January 1911. Thomas died at the age of 74 in 1921 and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.[6]

Charles Libbeus Hodges (March 13, 1847 — December 26, 1911)

Major General Charles L. Hodges. (Library of Congress)

Hodges enlisted as a private in the 65th New York Infantry — also known as the 1st U.S. Chasseurs — on August 20, 1861. The regiment saw hard fighting during the war, participating in all of the Army of the Potomac’s major battles. Hodges was mustered out on July 17, 1865. He enlisted in the Regular Army in November 1869. He was promoted to brigadier general in April 1907 and commanded the Department of the Lakes. Hodges retired with the rank of major general on March 13, 1911. He held every rank in the U.S. Army, from private to major general. Hodges died a little over nine months after his retirement at the age of 64 and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.[7]

Daniel Harmon Brush, Jr. (May 9, 1848 — March 8, 1920)

Brigadier General Daniel H. Brush, Jr. (The Association of the Graduates of the United States at West Point, New York, June 11th, 1921)

Brush, Jr. enlisted as a private in the 145th Illinois Infantry in May 1864 and was discharged four months later. His father, Daniel Harmon Brush, Sr., was brevetted brigadier general for gallant and meritorious service at the Battles of Fort Donelson and Shiloh. Brush, Jr. was appointed to West Point in 1867. He graduated in the Class of 1871. He saw service in Cuba during the Spanish American War, most notably at the Battle of El Caney on July 1, 1898. He was made a brigadier general in February 1908. Brush, Jr. commanded various department until he retired in May 1912. He was one of the four Civil War veterans still on the active list at the time of his retirement. Brush, Jr. died in 1920 at the age of 72 and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.[8]

Daniel Webster Arnold (September 11, 1848 — March 14, 1931)

Lt. Colonel Daniel W. Arnold’s grave. (Find A Grave)

Arnold enlisted as a private in the 134th Illinois Regiment on May 14, 1864. He was mustered out a little over five months later. He was employed in a drug store after the war. Arnold didn’t serve again until the Spanish-American War, when he was made a paymaster with the rank of major in May 1898. In February 1901, he received an appointment as captain in the Quartermaster’s Department. Arnold was made a major in 1910. He retired with the rank of lieutenant colonel in September 1912. He was the second-to-last Civil War veteran still on the active list until his retirement. Arnold died in 1931 at the age of 82 and was buried at Oak Hill Cemetery in Watseka, Illinois.[9]

Charles Samuel Walkley (May 26, 1845 — January 6, 1917)

Lt. Colonel Charles S. Walkley’s grave. (Find A Grave)

An immigrant to the U.S. from England, Walkley joined the 58th Pennsylvania Infantry as a musician on September 20, 1861. He later served as a private in the Veteran Reserve Corps from January 1864 to September 1865. Walkley returned to the army in April 1897 when he was appointed a post chaplain by President William McKinley. He was assigned to the Coast Artillery Corps in February 1901. Walkley traveled to Manila to serve as the Chaplain of the First Reserve Hospital that same year. He retired with the rank of lieutenant colonel in May 1909. Walkley died at the age of 70 in 1917 and was buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in Everett, Massachusetts.[10]

Endnotes

[1] Raul R. Ingles, The Way It Really Was: Historical Journal for the U. P. Centennial, 1908-2008 (Diliman, Quezon City: The University of Philippines Press, 2008), 66-67; Medal of Honor Recipients, 1863-1978: “In the Name of the Congress of the United States,” Prepared By The Committee of on Veterans’ Affairs, United States Senate (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1979), 253; Register of the Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the Navy of the United States and of the Marine Corps to January 1, 1903 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1903), 25; Emmet Hamilton, “Maj.-Gen. John Francis Weston,” in The National Magazine and Illustrated American Monthly, Volume 30: April, 1909—September, 1909 (Boston: The Chapple Publishing, Ltd.), 444-48; Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States of America, Volume 36, Fifty-Ninth Congress, First Session, From December 4, 1905, to June 30, 1906 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1931), 63.

[2] George W. Cullum, Biographical Register of the Officers and Graduates of the U. S. Military Academy From 1802 to 1867, Vol. 1 (Bedford, MA: Applewood Books, 2009), 380; Arpad A. Kopcsak, Jr. “Short Tour —1870,” Assembly 43, no. 1 (June 1975): 16-17; “Report No. 94: Eugene Oscar Fechét” in 54th Congress, 1st Session, January 21, 1896, House Documents (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1896), 1-2; “Promotions and Retirements,” Army and Navy Journal, March 5, 1910.

[3] Cullum, Biographical Register of the Officers and Graduates of the U. S. Military Academy. Vol. III, 176; George F. Chase, “James N. Allison” in Forty-Sixth Annual Reunion of the Association of the Graduates of the United States at West Point, New York, June 11th, 1915 (Saginaw, MI: Seemann & Peters, Inc., Printers & Binders, 1915), 92-94; Cullum, Biographical Register of the Officers and Graduates of the U. S. Military Academy, 162; Confirmation of Leonard Wood, 78; The National Cyclopædia of American Biography, Vol. 18 (New York: James T. White & Co., 1922), 115; “Report No. 478: Retirement of Certain Officers,” 1.

[4] Frederic L. Borch, “From Frontier Cavalryman to the World Stage: The Career of Army Judge Advocate George B. Davis,” Army History: The Professional Bulletin of Army History, no. 74 (Winter 2010): 6-19.

[5] Roger D. Hunt, Colonels in Blue — Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin A Civil War Biographical Dictionary (Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co., Inc., 2017), 253; “News and Notes,” in The Public: A National Journal of Fundamental Democracy & a Weekly Narrative of History in the Making, September 13, 1912.

[6] R.A. “Earl Dennison Thomas,” in Fifty-Second Annual Report of the Association of the Graduates of the United States at West Point, New York, June 11th, 1921, 137-38; Cullum, Biographical Register of the Officers and Graduates of the U. S. Military Academy, 136; “Earl Dennison Thomas,” Men of America A Biographical Dictionary of Contemporaries, ed. John W. Leonard, Vol. 1 (New York: L.R. Hamersly & Co., 1908), 2,046-2,047.

[7] “Charles Libbeus Hodges,” The Americana Supplement: A Comprehensive Record of the Latest Knowledge and Progress of the World, Vol. 1 (New York: Scientific American Compiling Department, 1911), 615; “Obituary: General Charles L. Hodges,” New York Tribune, December 27, 1911; “Rose from Private to Major General: Every Position From Low to High Rank Filled By C.L. Hodge,” Las Vegas Optic (East Las Vegas, New Mexico), January 26, 1911.

[8] “Daniel Harmon Brush” in Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States Register of  the Commandery of the State of Illinois (Chicago, 1886), 22; James H. Kelley, ed., The Alumni Record of the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign: University of Illinois, 1913), 674; F.J. Morrow, “Daniel Harmon Brush,” in Fifty-Second Annual Report of the Association of the Graduates of the United States at West Point, New York, June 11th, 1921, 73-76; “Report No. 478: Retirement of Certain Officers,” 1.

[9] J.W. Kern, Past and Present of Iroquois County, Illinois: Together with Biographical Sketches of Many of Its Prominent and Leading Citizens and Illustrious Dead (Chicago: The S.J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1907), 694; “Commissioned Officers Who Had Civil War Service,” in The Abridgment 1912 Containing the Annual Message of the President of the United States to the Two Houses of Congress 62d, 3d Session with Reports of Departments and Selections from Accompanying Papers, Vol. 1 (Washington, 1913), 342; “Report No. 478: Retirement of Certain Officers,” 1; “Retired from Active Service,” in Official Army Register for 1913 (Washington: Washington Printing Office, 1912), 529; Official Army Register: January 1, 1932 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1932), 955; “Recent Appointments,” Army and Navy Journal, April 20, 1901.

[10] The Living Church, January 20, 1917; “Retired from Active Service,” in Official Army Register for 1913, 556; William H. Powell, List of Officers of the Army of the United States from 1779 to 1900, Embracing a Register of All Appointments by the President of the United States in the Volunteer Service During the Civil War, and of Volunteer Officers in the Service of the United States (New York: Hamersly & Co., 1900), 653; “Retirements and Promotions,” Army and Navy Journal, May 29, 1909; Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States of America, Fifty-Fifth Congress, From March 15, 1897, to March 3, 1899, Vol. 31, Part 1 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1909), 47; “Clerical Changes,” The Churchman, February 2, 1901; “Washington Lobby Gossip,” The Evening Times (Grand Forks, North Dakota), January 19, 1909.

 

About Frank Jastrzembski

A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Frank Jastrzembski studied history at John Carroll University (B.A.) and Cleveland State University (M.A.). He's written dozens of articles and two books on Victorian officers. Visit www.frankjastrzembski.com to view a complete list of his publications. When he is not writing, he travels with his wife, explores old cemeteries, plays wargames, and hunts for vintage military and political memorabilia.
This entry was posted in Common Soldier, Leadership--Federal and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to The Immortal 17: Civil War Veterans on the Active Army List in 1909, Part 2

  1. Chris Kolakowski says:

    Outstanding. Was Fechet any relation to the Fechet who later commanded the Air Corps?

    One small correction: Arthur and Douglas MacArthur were the first father-son Medal of Honor combination. Theodore Roosevelt Sr and Jr have since joined them on the list.

  2. Meg Groeling says:

    This is a lovely commemorative post. Well done, good sir.

  3. Richard Dulyea says:

    Thank you Frank, Great post!

  4. Pingback: Week In Review: August 31-September 6, 2020 | Emerging Civil War

Please leave a comment and join the discussion!