Charles Russell Lowell

Charles Russell Lowell, nephew of the poet, was born January 2, 1835, in Boston. He was graduated from Harvard at the head of the class of 1854 and then spent several years traveling abroad. At the beginning of the Civil War, he was managing an iron works in Maryland. On May 14. 1861, he accepted a commission as captain in the 3rd (later 6th) U. S. Cavalry. He served throughout the Peninsular campaign and at its close was assigned to the staff of General George B. McClellan. During the battle of Sharpsburg (Antietam), Lowell displayed such gallantry while carrying orders under fire and rallying broken troops that he was chosen to carry the captured Confederate battle flags to Washington. In the autumn of 1862 he recruited and organized the 2nd Massachusetts Cavalry of which he was commissioned colonel on May 10, 1863. During the winter of 1863-64 he was in charge of the outer defenses of Washington, and the following July Lowell was engaged in repelling the raid of the Confederate Jubal Early—an operation which brought rebel troops within sight of the Capitol dome for the last time in the war and even placed President Lincoln under fire. In the course of the ensuing Shenandoah Valley campaign between Early and Philip H. Sheridan, Lowell commanded a brigade of Merritt's division of the Cavalry Corps (then under the command of A. T. A. Torbert), comprised of his own old regiment, the 6th Pennsylvania, and three regiments of Regulars. He distinguished himself in the battle at Winchester on September 19, and on October 9 took a leading part in the rout of Rosser's command at Tom's Brook, where Sheridan's orders to Torbert were "to whip the rebel cavalry or get whipped." During his three years' service Lowell had twelve horses shot from under him without sustaining a scratch himself. At Cedar Creek on October 19, however, his luck ran out: he was wounded early in the day, and refusing to leave the field, he was at the head of his brigade when he sustained a mortal wound, during the successful Union counterattack which virtually dispersed Early's army. He died the following day at Middle-town, Virginia, and was buried in Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Upon the personal intercession of Sheridan, Lowell's commission as brigadier general of volunteers was signed on the day of the battle.

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