Isaac Fitzgerald Shepard

Isaac Fitzgerald Shepard was born in Natick, Massachusetts, on July 7, 1816, and was educated at Harvard, where he was graduated in 1842.  From 1844 until 1857 he was principal of a Boston grammar school and in 1859-60 was a member of the Massachusetts legislature. He also was editor of the Boston Daily Bee in 1846-48. Shepard went to St. Louis early in 1861; an avowed anti secessionist and abolitionist, he soon found a place for himself on the staff of General Nathaniel Lyon with rank of major and assistant adjutant general of the state militia. He was Lyon's principal aide at Wilson's Creek and after the latter's death became lieutenant colonel of the 19th Missouri Infantry and colonel of the 3rd Missouri, when the two regiments were consolidated in January, 1862. A year later he was warmly commended for his conduct in the capture of Arkansas Post by both Generals A. P. Hovey and W. T. Sherman. Shepard was ever zealous for the cause of the Negro and in May, 1863, accepted the colonelcy of the 51st U. S. Colored Infantry, which was recruited largely in the wake of the advancing Federals from runaway slaves and contrabands. The uniformed Negroes were used mainly for garrison and fortification duty; consequently, Shepard's later Civil War service involved little combat duty. He was promoted brigadier general of volunteers on November 17, 1863, to rank from October 27. The following year found him stationed at Vicksburg with his brigade of three Negro regiments in General John P. Hawkins' Negro division of the District of West Tennessee. At this juncture Shepard's nomination to be a brigadier general failed to obtain Senate approval and his commission expired by action of law. He returned to Missouri and lived a challenging and interesting life for another twenty-five years. He was at various times adjutant general of Missouri, United States consul in Swatow and Hankow, China, chairman of the Republican state committee, department commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, editor of the Missouri Democrat and of the "Missouri State Atlas." After returning from China in 1886 General Shepard made his home in Massachusetts. He died in Bellingham, on August 25, 1889, and was buried in Ashland Cemetery, Middlesex County, Massachusetts.

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