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Treason, Horrible Death, & Oblivion: A Forgotten West Point Graduate's Story


Rick Research
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I returned home from my annual family reunion-- in Maine this year-- to find an envelope with photos from a Virginia 8th cousin once removed :cheers: that proves history is not "dead" and even if everyone ELSE has forgotten, Family Still Matters.

Everyone has heard the stories of loyal Southerners who remained with the Union... but who else has ever heard of Northerners who fought for the Confederacy? :unsure:

There is a long if hardly :unsure: "distinguished" :speechless1: connection between my Connecticut families, treason, and West Point. This is one of them.

Observe the stone kerbed plot around the obelisk at center, and the slab there on the far right.

Location: what was the New and is now Magnolia Cemetery... in Mobile, Alabama.

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You would not think to look at this mossy decay that there is the slightest connection to world events today, but the ripples outward from this place extend, thanks to one family, to the literal borders of the two Koreas.

Colin Powell-- among many many others-- lived in the house this man grew up in.

Lucius Loomis Rich was born September 1831 in Liberty, Missouri, son of Vermont native Hiram Rich (1799-1862) and Kentucky native Julia Ann Wilson (1812-1875). His father Hiram was an Indian trader, but served from 1841 until his death on 28 April 1862 (under a cloud of suspicion as the father of a traitor) as the U.S. Postmaster and Post Sutler of Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Hiram Rich's family home remains the Post Commandant?s official residence.

Lucius graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, a "5th year man" 50th of 52 of the Class of 1853.

Commissioned 2nd Lieutenant by brevet 1 July 1853, permanent seniority of 3 March 1855, and promoted to 1st Lieutenant 19 January 1859, both in the 5th Infantry Regiment.

He resigned his commission so abruptly on 31 May 1861 that it would take 55 years?54 after his death?for back pay to be dispersed to his ?heirs.?

Why? Cherchez la femme. His wife, Mary (last name alas unknown) was from Kentucky?and an avid Southern partisan. The family decamped southwards, and Lucius was given command as Colonel of the 1st Missouri Infantry, CSA.

He was mortally wounded at the battle of Shiloh 6 April 1862, taking until 9th August 1862 to die under medical care in Okolona, Mississippi. His wife Mary followed him in death?but not in burial?by July 1864, place and date unknown, which is when their only son Bradley was returned to Leavenworth as a 7 year old war orphan from the other side, to live with his staunchly Federal widowed grandmother Julia Wilson Rich. Bradley himself died in Lagrange, Kentucky 6 June 1872 in his 15th year and he too is buried alone. Mary probably came from Lagrange, but our only clue is that Bradley died in the household of a Henry W. Sanders. His maternal uncle, perhaps?

The inscription reads

?Colonel Lucius Lyon (SIC) Rich a native of Liberty, Missouri, died at Okolona, Miss. August 9th, 1862; from wounds received at the Battle of Shiloh ? 35 (SIC)?

He was a stranger, evacuated far from the battlefield where he was wounded, and buried in yet another place where he had never been in life, and where no one knew him. Whoever paid for his fine, but now weathered gravestone, got the details wrong. He is buried amid Beachs originally from Pennsylvania and Perrys originally from Massachusetts, so perhaps it was as simple as a "spare" spot among these transplanted ex-Yankees?

As far as we can tell, no member of his/our family had ever been to his grave before.

Colonel Lucius Loomis Rich was my half 3rd cousin 4 times removed.

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It's likely been more than a century since anyone at all cared about Col. Rich, why he passed or what he stood for.

I salute him and congratulate you. They are fine things, respect for fallen soldiers and remembering their commitment, our heritage and our debts.

Thank you for sharing this.

Chuck

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The United States Army-- being the United States Army (thus has it ever been since Caesar was a pup, most likely), carried Lieutenant Rich's unclaimed Final Paycheck In United States Employ in its annual budget until finally dispersed in

1916 :Cat-Scratch::speechless1:

to family members claiming to be his Nearest And Dearest.

Federal/military bureaucracy being then as now what it is and was... by an Amazing Coincidence every single member of the late Colonel Rich's "heirs" just happened :rolleyes: to be... serving West Point graduates or their spouses.

And who WERE the heirs and assigns of the Late Colonel Rich? Who got to divvy up that $504.15--which is what it came to with 55 years interest? :catjava:

Lucius?s sister Catherine (Kate) Rich had married a promising young artillery officer (USMA Class of 1854: 1833-1904) named Oliver Duff Greene before the war. He would win the Congressional Medal of Honor at Antietam, and retire as a brevet Brigadier General. Their daughter Mary Greene Bonesteel (1864-1905) herself had died by the time the paperwork went through 11 years later, as had her husband, Major General of U.S. Volunteers Charles Hartwell Bonesteel, Sr. (USMA Class of 1876: 1851-1902, who died on a military transport returning from the Philippines after fighting at San Juan Hill in ?98).

Presumably their DAUGHTER, Catherine Bonesteel Stone (1883-19??) thereby ended up with half of 1/3 shares. HER marriage to Colonel Charles Bertody Stone, Jr (1879-1934) produced

Lieutenant General USAF Charles Bertody Stone II (USMA Class of 1927: 1904-1992), whose son in turn Colonel Charles Bertody Stone IV (USMA Class of 1957: 1934-) was a Major and instructor of Earth, Space, and Graphic Sciences at the USMA when a fellow Forums member (and frequent visitor to the Hereditary Schloss here :beer: ) was a cadet there.

Like Marley?s fictional ghost, we all bear the chains of history most of us are never even aware of, links to links to links connecting past, present and future?a mossy cemetery in Alabama to a house deep in the woods of Southern Canada to Pyongyang and a fat little tyrant who may or may not have joined the Colonel in the Great Beyond?.

The late Mary Green Bonesteel?s SON, Major General USA Charles Hartwell Bonesteel Jr (USMA Class of 1908: 1885-1964) may well have split his mother?s 1/3 with his sister Catherine?. And HIS son, 4-star General USA Charles Hartwell Bonesteel III (USMA Class of 1931: 1909-1977) decided with Dean Rusk that the 38th Parallel made an obvious demarcation line for ?armistice? in Korea in 1945? and by a cruel irony of self-created historical fate, "IIIrd" was ALSO the Commander of U.S. forces in Korea at the time of the U.S.S. Pueblo ?incident? in 1968.

The third ?heir? of the Very Late Colonel Rich was Major General USA Francis Kernan (USMA Class of 1881: 1859-1945), widower of General Greene?s daughter Catherine /Kate (1865-1894). Kernan and Bonesteel Sr were officers in the same regiment when they each married a Greene sister, nieces of the unfortunate Colonel Rich.

My late grandmother always said I should let her know when I found somebody who owed us money. Well, it?s 92/147 years too late NOW?

But at least West Point traitor/devoted husband/unfortunate father Colonel Lucius Loomis Rich no longer molders forgotten in an alien state. History is often spurned as ?dead? because most of its characters are.

But despite this remove in time and distance, some members of the Colonel?s family have NOT forgotten him.

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How does Rick do that???

The unnamed visitor missed the opportunity of being instructed by the good Colonel (then Major) by a year. This was a first year course considered by some to be part of the hazing. Even if that had not been the case ? the likelihood of mutual fond remembrances is slim as this morning class was often coma inducing at least for the students... the course being converted from ?ES&GS? to ?ES&BS? by grudging students.

Colonel Charles Bertody Stone IV had a distinguished thirty-year career. He served two combat tours in Vietnam (first with the First Cavalry, second as a regimental advisor). His awards included the Combat Infantryman?s Badge, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Soldier?s Medal, three Bronze Star Medals (one with ?V?), eight Air Medals (seven with ?V?) and an Army Commendation Medal (he already had two prior to deploying with the First Cavalry Division) for good measure.

As a Colonel of Infantry, I?d say this apple fell reasonably close to the tree?

Above is courtesy of the Register of Graduates and Former Cadets.

The Bicentennial edition of same cites father and grandfather but does not link to Col. Rich, CSA whose sparse entry is only ?Indian Wars 56-57. Resigned 61 1LT. COL MO Inf CSA. Mortally wounded at Shiloh. Died August 62 aged 32.?

Nice job of fleshing out this story Rick!

Edited by W McSwiggan
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If any photo exists of cousin Lucius, it would be somewhere in the hands of cousins Greenes, Bonesteels, or Stones.

It still amazes me that he just... showed up... in Missouri and was handed a regiment with NO local connection or political pull--and his father on active duty in the enemy camp.

This from a Kansas cousin (we are :unsure: everywhere):

2nd Lt. Rich served at Newport Barracks, Kentucky 1853-54, Fort McIntosh, Texas 1854-55, Fort Clark, Texas 1855-56 (skirmish with Lipan Indians at the headwaters of the Nueces River 13 April 1856) and in 1857 was fighting Seminoles in Florida. Aide de Camp for some months (time 1857-60 gets vague) to a Brigadier General Harney. In 1860 with Utah Expedition into New Mexico. In 1861 he was signals officer in the Department of New Mexico at the time he resigned.

On 11 June 1861 (12 days after resignation in New Mexico!!!!) commissioned Lieutenant Colonel of the 1st Missouri Infantry Regiment, CSA. Colonel in command of the regiment 1 April 1862.

His Kentucky Confederate wife's full name MAY have been Mary F(ontaine) Cosby but I am unconvinced of that, given the source and vague details.

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