Lawrence Pike Graham


Lawrence Pike Graham was born at The Wigwam, the country home of his father in Amelia County, Virginia, on January 8, 1815. The elder Graham, a physician, was a veteran of both wars with England and Lawrence's three brothers, one of whom was George G. Meade's brother-in-law, were graduates of West Point. All four brothers adhered to the Union cause. Having been educated by private tutors, young Graham was commissioned directly into the army in 1837 as a second lieutenant of dragoons and during the various Seminole disturbances in Florida was promoted to first lieutenant and to captain. In the Mexican War he won the brevet of major for gallant conduct at Palo Alto and Resaca de la Pal-ma, was regularly promoted to major in 1858, and in August, 1861, was appointed a brigadier general of volunteers. The following October he was placed in charge of a brigade, composed of two New York and two Pennsylvania infantry regiments of the Army of the Potomac, which George B. McClellan was whipping into shape. This command in March, 1862, was assigned to Couch's division of Reyes's IV Corps, with Graham directing it in the siege of Yorktown. However, he soon fell ill and took no further part in the Peninsular campaign. In June he was assigned as chief of cavalry to the camp of instruction near Annapolis, where he rendered good service. He afterward acted as president of a general court-martial in St. Louis and of a board for the examination of invalid officers at Annapolis. Meantime, he became colonel of the 4th (U. S.) Cavalry in 1864 and on August 24, 1865, was mustered out of volunteer service with the brevet of brigadier general, U. S. Army, for gallant and meritorious service during the war. Five years later, during which his regiment's active duties were performed piecemeal at various frontier posts, General Graham was retired on December 15, 1870. He was then only fifty-five and in his remaining thirty-five years outlived his wife and both of his sons, one of whom was also a West Point graduate. He became one of the most accomplished Shakespearean scholars in Washington, where he lived from 1877. He died there on September 12, 1905, and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

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