Hugh Thompson Reid

Hugh Thompson Reid was born of South Carolina parentage on a farm in Union County, Indiana, on October 18, 1811. After acquiring a primary education in the local schools, he was graduated from Bloomington (Indiana) College, studied law, and was admitted to the bar. In 1839 he moved to Fort Madison, Iowa, where he practiced until 1849 when he moved to Keokuk. In 1840-42 he was prosecutor for the five counties comprising the southeast corner of the state, and after moving to Keokuk, he served for four years as president of the Des Moines Valley Railroad. On February 22, 1862, Reid entered the Union army as colonel of the 15th Iowa, a Keokuk regiment. His first service was in April at Shiloh where his command was employed by U. S. Grant to prevent stragglers from leaving the field and where he was badly wounded. At the battle of Corinth the 15th Iowa was in Crocker's brigade of McKean's division; however, Reid himself was ill during the principal action and unable to exercise command. During the Vicksburg campaign Reid, who had been promoted to brigadier general on April 9, 1863, to rank from March 13, commanded a brigade of Negro and white troops of the XVII Corps around Lake Providence, Louisiana. An early proponent of the enlistment of colored troops, he offered the interesting observation that "every colored soldier who stops a rebel bullet saves a white man's life." He was ordered to the command of the post at Cairo, Illinois, in October. On March 16, 1864, he was relieved from this command, and at the time his resignation was accepted (April 4, 1864), he seems to have been in command of the District of Cairo with headquarters at Columbus, Kentucky.  General Reid returned to Des Moines after his resignation and again devoted himself to the interests of the Des Moines Valley Railroad Company. He was also a pioneer advocate of building the railroad and passenger bridge over the Mississippi River at Keokuk, Iowa. He died of Bright's disease on August 21, 1874, and was buried in Oakland Cemetery.

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