Robert Kingston Scott

Robert Kingston Scott, as unique a mixture of hero and rogue as ever wore a United States uniform, was born in Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, on July 8, 1826. He studied medicine, worked as a miner in the California gold rush, visited Mexico and South America, and ultimately began the practice of his profession in Henry County, Ohio, where he also amassed a competence by profitable real estate investments. He entered the war as major of the 68th Ohio, was made lieutenant colonel in November, 1861, and colonel the following July. The regiment performed guard duty at various points until the Vicksburg campaign, during which it fought at Port Gibson, Raymond, Champion's Hill, and at the city itself in Logan's division of the XVII Corps. During the Atlanta campaign Scott commanded the brigade of which his regiment had been a part and continued in this capacity (with advancement to brigadier general on April 21, 1865, to rank from January 12th in W. T. Sherman's march through the Carolinas. Up to this point Scott seems to have been a thorough soldier, lacking neither courage nor ability; he was brevetted major general in December, 1865. Soon after he was made head of the South Carolina branch of the Freedman's Bureau, still retaining his military rank which he did not relinquish until he was elected governor of the state in 1868 by the Negro-carpetbagger alliance. At this time the helpless state was being plundered by such corrupt political figures as "Honest John" Patterson, later U. S. Senator, Frank Moses, speaker of the overwhelmingly Negro legislature (80 per cent of whose members were illiterate), and the subversive intellectual Robert Brown Elliott, who would sit in Congress. Governor Scott quickly succumbed to the venality which surrounded him and assumed a leading part in its continuance. "Subject alike to alcoholic and female allurements," at the high point of his career he was seduced while drunk by the notorious burlesque actress Pauline Mark-ham into signing a fraudulent issue of state bonds. Fleeing the state after the restoration of white rule in 1877, he returned to Ohio where he celebrated Christmas Day, 1880, by committing a homicide. He died in Henry County, August 12, 1900, and was buried in Napoleon.

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