Lucius Bellinger Northrop

Reference: Find-a-Grave

Lucius Bellinger Northrop was born at Charleston, South Carolina, September 8, 1811, and was graduated from West Point in 1831. During the 1839 Seminole War he was so severely wounded as to be retired from the army on permanent sick furlough, after which he studied medicine in Philadelphia. He returned to Charleston, and was dropped from the army in 1848 for practicing medicine, but was soon reinstated. This grace was supposedly due to Jefferson Davis, with whom he had been intimate since West Point days. Still on sick furlough Northrop engaged in his new profession until 1861, when he resigned on January 8. He was soon appointed colonel and commissary general of the Confederacy by Davis, and assumed the enormous responsibility of providing food not only for the Southern armies, but for the tens of thousands of Union prisoners as Avell. Though bitterly criticized by many of his contemporaries, and deemed to be a "pet" of the President's, it seems apparent now that no one could have discharged Northrop's duties to the satisfaction of all concerned. This was especially true in view of the shortages of food and transportation, the latter being under the control of the quartermaster's department. Davis had appointed him brigadier general, to rank from November 26, 1864, but does not appear to have risked forwarding his nomination to the Senate, where it doubtless would have been rejected. Finally relieved on February 15, 1865, when the end was already in sight, he was arrested by the Federal authorities on June 30, 1865, on suspicion of having deliberately starved prisoners of war. The charges were manifestly absurd, and he was released in October. He spent the next twenty-five years of his life on a farm near Charlottesville, Virginia. Stricken with paralysis in 1890, he died in the Confederate Home at Pikesville, Maryland, on February 9, 1894. He is buried in New Cathedral Cemetery, Baltimore.

Ref: Generals in Gray, Lives of the Confederate Commanders by Ezra J. Warner.  Printed by Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge and London.

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