President Lincoln’s Recruiter

General Lorenzo Thomas and the United States Colored Troops in the Civil War

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About the Book

Historians have often marginalized the effect of African American troops on the outcome of the Civil War. While many histories briefly mention the service of the blacks, few reveal their impact. Lorenzo Thomas was one of the most exceptional people to serve in that war, but no biography of his life has been written. Most of his career was spent as an administrator in the U. S. Army, from his graduation from West Point in 1823 until the start of the war when he was the army’s Adjutant General. His life changed when he was charged by Secretary of War Stanton to go West and recruit troops for the Union that were desperately needed. Stanton and Thomas did not get along and with pressure mounting to get more troops, Stanton saw this as an opportunity to get Thomas out of Washington. Thomas did exceptionally well in recruiting tens of thousands of troops for the Union. After the war ended, President Andrew Johnson replaced Stanton with Thomas as temporary Secretary of War. This precipitated the impeachment hearings against Johnson and some say that the testimony of Thomas caused the impeachment of Johnson to be dismissed.

About the Author(s)

Born and raised in Minnesota, Michael A. Eggleston is a graduate of West Point and a 30 year Army veteran. Now retired, he lives in Nokesville, Virginia.

Bibliographic Details

Michael A. Eggleston
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 208
Bibliographic Info: 53 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2013
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7217-8
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0190-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Acknowledgments vii

Preface 1

Introduction 7

1. The River and the Rock 13

2. Life in the Fourth U.S. Infantry Regiment 19

3. President Lincoln’s Recruiter 31

4. The Impeachment of President Andrew Johnson 83

Biographical Dictionary 101

Appendix A. Family History of Lorenzo Thomas 119

Appendix B. Early Recruiting Efforts 121

Appendix C. The Impeachment Articles 136

Appendix D. The Senate Votes 147

Appendix E. The Thomas Papers 148

Appendix F. Significant Battles Fought by U.S. Colored Troops 157

Appendix G. Medal of Honor 166

Chapter Notes 177

Bibliography 189

Index 197

Book Reviews & Awards

“Eggleston does an excellent job describing how the troops were raised and the process that was created to select and train white officers to lead the black regiments”—The Civil War Round Table; “Eggleston has rescued Thomas from historical obscurity in this finely-crafted and even-handed examination…extensive research…Eggleston’s discussion of Thomas’ work in recruitment is superb…enlightening”—Civil War News; “a useful look at one of the forgotten men of the Civil War and at the U.S.C.T.”—The NYMAS Review.