Robert Huston Milroy

Union General Robert Huston Milroy        Robert Huston Milroy was born on a farm near Salem, Indiana, on June 11, 1816. In 1840 he enrolled at a private military academy in Norwich, Vermont, and graduated in 1843. During the Mexican War Milroy served as a captain in the 1st Indiana Volunteers. He obtained a law degree from Indiana University and in 1850 was a member of the Indiana constitutional convention. He served on the bench before opening a law practice in Rensselaer.

        When the Civil War erupted Milroy was appointed colonel of the 9th Indiana Volunteer Infantry Regiment, a three-month unit. The 9th left for (West) Virginia on May 29 and participated in the rout of Confederates from the town of Philippi on June 3. Serving under Thomas Morris in the Indiana Brigade, Milroy took part in the battles at Laurel Hill and Carrick's (or Corrick's) Ford. The unit returned to Indianapolis in July and was reorganized as a three-year regiment in September.

        Milroy was promoted to brigadier general of volunteers and was assigned to duty in the Cheat Mountain district of (West) Virginia. In May 1862, Milroy's and one other brigade faced T.J. "Stonewall" Jackson at the battle of McDowell, Virginia, Jackson's first victory in the Shenandoah Valley campaign. A month later, Milroy took part in another Union army setback in the Valley at Cross Keys, Virginia.

        He fought ably at Second Bull Run (Manassas), Virginia, in August 1862. In June 1863, Milroy's reputation was damaged at Winchester, Virginia, when he elected to stand and fight with his division as a corps of Confederates approached. Milroy's position was overrun and he lost approximately 1,100 killed and wounded, 3,400, prisoners and 23 pieces of artillery. Milroy escaped and was later exonerated of any culpability by a court of inquiry. However, he was not given a command for ten months, when he was assigned to garrison duty in Tennessee. On December 7, 1864, he capably wielded his forces against a demonstration by Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest. Milroy resigned in July 1865 and was a trustee for the Wabash and Erie Canal. In 1872 he became an Indian agent in the state of Washington. Robert Milroy died in Olympia on March 29, 1890, and was buried there in the Masonic Cemetery.

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