Augustus Louis Chetlain

Augustus Louis Chetlain, the son of Swiss parents who came to the United States by way of Canada, was born in St. Louis, Missouri, December 26, 1824. He was taken to Galena, Illinois, as an infant. After attending local schools, he became a clerk. In 1852 he went into business for himself; by 1859 he was wealthy. Selling his business, he traveled in Europe and participated actively in the 1860 presidential campaign. When the Civil War came Chetlain was elected, at the suggestion of U. S. Grant, captain of a volunteer company recruited in Galena, and when the company was made part of the 12th Illinois Infantry, he became first lieutenant colonel and then colonel in April, 1862. In the absence of its regular colonel (John McArthur) in brigade command, Chetlain led the regiment at the capture of Forts Henry and Donelson and at the battles of Shiloh, Iuka, and Corinth. On December 18, 1863, he was commissioned brigadier general of volunteers, and organized and recruited Negro troops in Tennessee and Kentucky, with headquarters at Memphis. On January 26, 1865, he was assigned to the command of the Post and Defenses of Memphis, a subdistrict of the District of West Tennessee under the command of the Department of Mississippi. He was brevetted major general of volunteers on June 18, 1865, and mustered out the following January. Chetlain was collector of internal revenue at Salt Lake City from 1867 to 1869, and United States consul at Brussels for the next three years. In 1872 he established himself in the banking business in Chicago, where he was president of the Home National Bank, organizer of the Industrial Bank of Chicago, director of the Chicago Stock Exchange, member of the Board of Education, an active philanthropist, and was prominent for many years in the Military Order of the Loyal Legion and the Grand Army of the Republic. He wrote his Recollections of Seventy Years in 1893. General Chetlain died in Chicago on March 15, 1914, and was buried in Greenwood Cemetery, Galena.

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Reference:  Generals in Blue.  Lives of the Union Commanders by Ezra J. Warner.  Louisiana State University Press.  Baton Rouge.