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American History
General John McArthur


Born in the village of Erskine on the River Clyde on November 17th 1826. He learnt his fathers trade as a blacksmith. He emigrated to America at the age of twenty-three and settled in Chicago. There he became a manager in a Chicago Iron Works and at the start of the Civil War, became a Captain of a militia company (Chicago Highland Guards), and would rise to the rank of Brevet Major General during the war.

His assignments throughout the war were as follows:- Colonel, 12th Illinois (May 1861), named the Colonel of a three month regiment, he managed to re-enlist it for a three year full term on August 1st 1861. He commanded 1st Brigade, 2nd Division in Missouri and Tennessee during 1862 and was promoted to Brigadier General USV, on March 21, 1862 and led various units until July, 1865. He led a Brigade at Fort Donelson and was wounded in the foot at Shiloh. He briefly commanded a division but was again in brigade command during the Corinth, Mississippi operations. Not present at Luka or Corinth, he took part in the Vicksburg Campaign. Brevetted Major General for Nashville, he participated in operations against Mobile before being mustered out on 24th August 1865.

An article from the Louisville Daily Journal dated Wednesday November 27th, gives the following description of the 12th Illinois's Regimental National Colours.

"When the orator of the occasion Mr Robert Harvey, mounted the stand the flags were for the first time unfurled since leaving Chicago and consisted of a National flag of the finest silk, a regimental flag and a complimentary flag to the Colonel and a majority of the officers of the regiment who are of Scotland's noble sons. The regimental colors are composed of blue silk, regulation size, finest texture, fringed with yellow in the centre of which was a gilt spread-eagle from the beak of which floated a ribbon upon which were inscribed the words "E Pluribus Unum"; the eagle was encircled with thirteen stars over which in a half circle were the words 12th Reg. Ill. Volunteers.

The other flag (complimentary) was of white silk with a red border and yellow fringe ornamented in the centre with a representation of the Scottish thistle, over and beneath which were inscribed the following familiar words (with the exception of McArthur's name being substituted for that hero of Lucknow) "Dinna ye hear the slogan? Tis McArthur and his men"

Sadly after the war he does not appear to have done well in official matters or in business


Return to American History Part 2