Robert Francis Catterson

Union General Robert Francis Catterson        Robert Francis Catterson, the son of an Irish immigrant, was born March 22, 1835, on a farm near Beech Grove, Marion County, Indiana. He was educated at Adrian College in Michigan and Cincinnati Medical College. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Catterson was practicing medicine in Rockville, Indiana, but he gave up his newly established medical practice and quickly enlisted in the 14th Indiana Volunteer Infantry Regiment when the Civil War broke out.

        During his service in the Civil War, Catterson held every rank from sergeant to brigadier except major. On April 23, 1861, he was mustered into Company A of the 14th Indiana Infantry. He was quickly promoted to first sergeant in June, second lieutenant in July, first lieutenant the following March, and captain in May 1862. He served in western Virginia, seeing action at Cheat Mountain and Greenbrier River, and fought at Kernstown, in the Shenandoah Valley campaign of 1862, and Antietam. In that battle, the 14th Indiana fought at the now-famous "Bloody Lane." They went to Antietam with 320 men; 31 were killed and 150 were wounded.

        On October 18, 1862, Catterson was appointed lieutenant colonel of the 97th Indiana and colonel the following month. He served at Memphis, took part in the siege of Vicksburg, the Tullahoma campaign, the battle of Chattanooga and the Atlanta campaign, When Sherman started marching north through the Carolinas, Catterson was given a brigade of C. R. WoodТs division in Logan's XV Corps and saw action at Bentonville, North Carolina, the last major engagement of the Civil War. He was promoted to brigadier general of volunteers to rank from May 31, 1865, and was mustered out of the service on January 15, 1866.

        Robert Francis Catterson would never return to the practice of medicine. He failed in cotton speculation and became commander of the Arkansas Negro militia under Governor Powell Clayton to fight against the Ku Klux Klan. From 1872 to 1874, he served as mayor of Little Rock, Arkansas. He moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he was an unsuccessful farmer and farm implement merchant. On March 30, 1914, Catterson died of a stroke in a San Antonio, Texas, veterans' hospital and was buried in the local National Cemetery.

          cover          cover