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Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States

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Title: Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Union Army, Augustus P. Davis, John Jacob Astor III, Edward Lyon Buchwalter, Francis Amasa Walker
Collection: American Civil War Veterans and Descendants Organizations, Lineage Societies, Military History of the United States, Union Army
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States

The Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States, (MOLLUS), or simply as the Loyal Legion is a


  • Origins 1
  • MOLLUS Commanders-in-Chief 2
  • Prominent Companions 3
    • Presidents of the United States 3.1
    • Vice Presidents 3.2
    • Honorary Companions 3.3
    • United States Army 3.4
    • United States Navy 3.5
    • United States Marine Corps 3.6
    • 3rd Class Companions 3.7
    • Hereditary Companions 3.8
      • Military and naval officers 3.8.1
      • Public officials 3.8.2
      • Others 3.8.3
    • Associate companions 3.9
    • Eligible veteran officers who did not join MOLLUS 3.10
    • Noteworthy persons eligible for hereditary companionship in MOLLUS 3.11
    • Eligible royalty 3.12
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • Further reading 6
  • External links 7


Following the assassination of President Independence Hall in Philadelphia, at which the name was chosen.

Originally, the Order was composed of three classes of members:

  • Officers who had fought in the Army, Navy, or Marine Corps of the United States in the suppression of the Rebellion, or enlisted men who had so served and were subsequently commissioned in the regular forces of the United States, constituted the "Original Companions of the First Class." The eldest direct male lineal descendants of deceased Original Companions or deceased eligible officers could be admitted as "hereditary Companions of the First Class."
  • "Companions of the Second Class" were the eldest direct male lineal descendants of living Original Companions or of living individuals who were eligible for membership in the First Class. (The use of the Rule of Primogeniture was abolished in 1905 for both the First and Second classes of membership, opening membership to all male lineal descendants, and later changes opened membership to male lineal descendants of siblings of eligible officers. As the former officers died off, the Second Class of Companions was discontinued.)
  • The Third Class comprised distinguished civilians who had rendered faithful and conspicuous service to the Union during the Civil War. No new elections to this class have been made since 1890.[1]

The Loyal Legion grew rapidly in the late 19th Century and had Companions in every Northern state, and also in many of the states that had once formed the Confederacy. The Commandery in Chief was established on October 21, 1885 with authority over the 14 state commanderies then in existence. Previously, the Pennsylvania Commandery functioned as the "first among equals" of the commanderies as it was both the oldest and largest.

At its height at the very end of the 19th Century, the Order had more than 8,000 Civil War veterans as active members, including nearly all notable general and flag officers and several presidents: Rutherford B. Hayes, Chester A. Arthur, Benjamin Harrison, and William McKinley. The Order's fame was great enough to inspire John Philip Sousa to compose the "Loyal Legion March" in its honor in 1890.

Today, the Order serves as a Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. In 2009, the MOLLUS helped coordinate an extended tribute with the help of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission to celebrate the two-hundredth anniversary of Lincoln's birthday.

There are now three basic categories of membership: Hereditary, Associate (non-hereditary), and Honorary. Just as many Original Companions of the Order were also members of the Grand Army of the Republic (the "GAR"), many current Companions of the Order are also members of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, the legal heir to the GAR.

Organizationally, the Loyal Legion is composed of a National Commandery-in-Chief and individual state Commanderies. There are currently 20 state Commanderies. States without their own Commandery are placed under the jurisdiction of an existing Commandery. Current national officers include Commander-in-Chief Waldron Kintzing "Kinny" Post of New York, Senior Vice-Commander-in-Chief James Alan Simmons of Texas, and Junior Vice-Commander-in-Chief Eric Armando Rojo of the District of Columbia. The Immediate past Commander-in-Chief is Jeffry Christian Burden of Virginia.

The Loyal Legion is the third oldest hereditary military society in the United States after the Society of the Cincinnati and the Aztec Club of 1847.

MOLLUS Commanders-in-Chief

  • Major General George Cadwalader – First MOLLUS Commander-in-Chief, 1865–1879. (Died in office.)
  • Major General Winfield Scott Hancock – 1879–1886. (Died in office.)
  • General Philip H. Sheridan – 1886–1888. (Died in office.)
  • Major General Rutherford B. Hayes – 1888–1893. (Died in office.)
  • Rear Admiral John J. Almy – 1893.
  • Brigadier General Lucius Fairchild – 1893–1895.
  • Major General John Gibbon – 1895–1896. (Died in office.)
  • Rear Admiral Bancroft Gherardi – 1896–1899.
  • Lieutenant General John M. Schofield – 1899–1903.
  • Major General David McMurtrie Gregg – 1903–1905.
  • Major General John R. Brooke – 1905–1907.
  • Major General Grenville M. Dodge – 1907–1909.
  • Lieutenant General John C. Bates – 1909–1911.
  • Rear Admiral George W. Melville – 1911–1912. (Died in office.)
  • Lieutenant General Arthur MacArthur – 1912. (Died in office.)
  • Colonel Arnold A. Rand – 1912–1913.
  • Brevet Brigadier General Thomas H. Hubbard – 1913–1915. (Died in office.)
  • Rear Admiral Louis Kempff – 1915.
  • Lieutenant General Samuel B.M. Young – 1915–1919.
  • Lieutenant General Nelson A. Miles – 1919–1925. (Died in office.)
  • Rear Admiral Purnell F. Harrington – 1925–1927.
  • Master Robert M. Thompson, USN – 1927–1930. (Died in office.)
  • Brigadier General Samuel W. Fountain – 1930. (Died in office.)
  • Brevet Major George Mason – 1930–1931.
  • Captain William P. Wright bio – 1931–1933. (Died in office. Last Civil War veteran to serve as MOLLUS commander-in-chief. Also was Commander in Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic from 1932 to 1933.)
  • Colonel Hugh Means – 1933–1935.
  • Colonel William Ennis Forbes – 1935–1940. (Resigned.)
  • Major General Malvern Hill Barnum – 1940–1941.
  • Mr. James Vernor, Jr. – 1941–1947 (First MOLLUS commander-in-chief who did not serve in the armed forces of the United States.)
  • Rear Admiral Reginald R. Belknap, USN – 1947–1951.
  • Mr. Donald H. Whittemore – 1951–1953
  • Commander William C. Duval, USNR – 1953–1957
  • Major General Ulysses S. Grant III – 1957–1961. (Commander-in-chief of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, 1953–1955.)
  • Lieutenant Colonel Donald M. Liddell, Jr., USAR – 1961–1962. (Resigned.)
  • Lieutenant Colonel H. Durston Saylor II, USAR – 1962–1964.
  • Major General Clayton B. Volgel, USMC – 1964. (Died in office.)
  • Colonel Walter E. Hopper, USAR – 1964–1967.
  • Lieutenant Colonel Lenahan O'Connell, USAR – 1967–1971
  • Colonel Brooke M. Lessig USAR – 1971–1973
  • Lowell V. Hammer – 1989–1991 (Commander-in-chief of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, 1991–1992.)
  • Colonel Scott W. Stucky, USAFR – 1993–1995 (Federal judge.)
  • Gordon R. Bury II – 2001–2003 (Commander-in-chief of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, 1986–1987.)
  • Keith Harrison – 2009–2011 (Commander-in-chief of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, 1994–1995.)

Prominent Companions

Note – the ranks indicated are the highest the individual held in the armed forces of the United States and not necessarily the highest rank held during the Civil War.

Presidents of the United States

Note – Presidents Andrew Johnson and James Garfield were both generals in the Union Army during the Civil War, and were thus eligible to be veteran companions of MOLLUS, but did not join the Order.

Vice Presidents

Vice President Hannibal Hamlin, who had served under President Lincoln from 1861 to 1865, was elected as a MOLLUS Companion of the 3rd Class.

Vice President Henry Wilson, who served under President Grant from 1873 until his death in 1875, was colonel of the 22nd Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry and was a MOLLUS Companion of the First Class.

Vice President Charles G. Dawes, who served under President Coolidge from 1925 to 1929, became a First Class Companion in succession to his father, Brevet Brigadier General Rufus Dawes.

Honorary Companions

A limited number of individuals may be elected as Honorary Companions of MOLLUS. They are usually individuals who have had distinguished careers either in public service or the military.

United States Army

Note – The rank indicated is the highest held either in the Regular Army or the Volunteers.

United States Navy

United States Marine Corps

  • Major General Charles Heywood – Commandant of the United States Marine Corps.
  • Brigadier General Henry Clay Cochrane – Veteran of the Civil War, Spanish–American War and Boxer Rebellion.
  • Brigadier General James Forney
  • Brigadier General Percival Pope – Recipient of the Marine Corps Brevet Medal.
  • Brigadier General Jacob Zeilin – Commandant of the United States Marine Corps.
  • Brevet Brigadier General George G. Meade.
  • Colonel Robert W. Huntington – Commanded the 1st Marine Battalion at Guantanamo Bay in 1898.
  • Colonel Charles Grymes McCawley – Commandant of the United States Marine Corps.
  • Lieutenant Colonel John L. Broome
  • Major and Paymaster John C. Cash

3rd Class Companions

From 1865 to 1890 a limited number of civilians who contributed outstanding service to the Union during the Civil War were elected into the Order as 3rd Class Companions.

Hereditary Companions

Originally, the MOLLUS had Companions of the Second Class, who were the eldest sons of Companions of the First Class (i.e., veterans of the Civil War who also held a commission at some point). A Second Class Companion became a First Class Companion upon the death of his father. This practice was discontinued in 1905, when the MOLLUS Constitution was changed to allow any direct male descendant of a Union officer to become a MOLLUS Companion. The nomenclature of First Class and Second Class Companions was discarded, leaving only the qualifiers of "Original" and "Hereditary" Companions. Later, the eligibility rules were changed to allow nephews of Union officers to become a MOLLUS Companions. Furthermore, brothers of fallen officers were allowed to join as hereditary companions if there was no surviving issue.

Military and naval officers

Public officials


Associate companions

MOLLUS allows state commanderies, at their own discretion, to elect up to one third of their membership as Associate Companions.

Eligible veteran officers who did not join MOLLUS

A number of noteworthy Union officers, although eligible, did not become MOLLUS companions. These included the following:

Brigadier General and President Edward Ord, Major General John G. Foster, Brevet Brigadier General Thomas J. Rodman, Brevet Brigadier General Sylvanus Thayer, Captain Augustin Thompson, Rear Admiral John Ancrum Winslow, Major General John E. Wool.

Noteworthy persons eligible for hereditary companionship in MOLLUS

William Waldorf Astor, 1st Viscount Astor was, and his male descendants are, eligible for hereditary membership in MOLLUS by right of his father's service in the Union Army. All other male descendants of William Backhouse Astor Sr. are eligible for membership in MOLLUS by collateral descent.

All male West Point in 1860 and died on January 1, 1864 in Nice, France without issue. These descendants include the current Duke of Marlborough and CNN reporter Anderson Cooper. Anderson Cooper is also eligible for hereditary membership in MOLLUS by right of his descent from Major General Hugh Judson Kilpatrick.

Secretary of State John Foster Dulles and his brother, CIA Director Allen Dulles were eligible for membership in MOLLUS by right of their decent from their maternal grandfather Colonel John W. Foster, who served as Secretary of State in the administration of President Benjamin Harrison.

Eligible royalty

Several Europeans of royal descent at eligible for membership in MOLLUS by right of their descent from Captain Philippe d'Orleans, the grandson of King Louis Philppe I of France.

King Felipe VI of Spain and his father, former King of Spain Juan Carlos, are eligible for hereditary companionship in MOLLUS, as are their male descendants, The same is true for Henri d'Orléans, Count of Paris (b. 1933), the current Orleanist pretender to the throne of France.

King Manuel II of Portugal (1889–1932) was eligible to become a hereditary companion of MOLLUS as his mother was a daughter of Philippe d'Orleans. He had no offspring.

Prince Pedro Carlos of Orléans-Braganza (b. 1945), is a claimant to the Brazilian throne and a decendnant of Philippe d'Orleans. His grandson is Peter, Hereditary Prince of Yugoslavia (b. 1980).

Prince Amedeo, Duke of Aosta (b. 1943), head of the House of Savoy and claimant to the throne of Italy, is eligible for Hereditary MOLLUS membership but was elected as an honorary member instead.

A number of other individuals of royal descent can join MOLLUS by right of their descent from French Foreign Legion, and Prince Axel of Denmark.

See also


Further reading

  • Carroon, Robert G. and Dana B. Shoaf, (2001). Union Blue : The History of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States. Shippensburg, PA: White Mane Books.  

External links

  • Official website
  • MOLLUS-organized marker for Union POWs buried in Richmond, Virginia
  • MOLLUS-Massachusetts Photograph Collection US Army Heritage and Education Center, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania
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