Lewis Merrill

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Lewis Merrill
Born (1834-10-28)October 28, 1834
New Berlin, Pennsylvania
Died February 27, 1896(1896-02-27) (aged 61)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Place of burial Arlington National Cemetery
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch  United States Army
Union Army
Years of service 1855–1886
Rank Union army brig gen rank insignia.jpg Brevet Brigadier General
Battles/wars American Civil War
American Indian Wars

Lewis Merrill (1834–1896) was a career officer in the United States Army noted for his work in resisting the early Ku Klux Klan organization in several Southern states. During the American Civil War, he combated guerrillas in Missouri.


Merrill was born at New Berlin, Pa. He studied at the University at Lewisburg (Pennsylvania), graduated at West Point in 1855, was assigned to duty as second lieutenant with the First Dragoons, and served in Missouri, in Kansas Territory, and with the Utah Expedition. In 1861 he was appointed a first lieutenant with the 2nd Dragoons.

In 1861, as colonel and first cavalry officer on the staff of John C. Frémont, he organized the Second Missouri Volunteer Cavalry, usually known as Merrill's Horse to fight the secessionist Missouri State Guard and guerrillas in central Missouri. His regiment was well known for its strict military organization and its aggressiveness in carrying out its anti-guerrilla mission. Colonel Merrill later commanded the Department of St. Louis and then the Department of Northern Missouri. In 1864 he was commander of the cavalry bureau at St. Louis and took part in the engagements at Franklin, Mo. The next year he was sent against guerrillas in northern Georgia and Alabama and was brevetted brigadier general of U.S. Volunteers.

After various western assignments he was placed in command of a military district in South Carolina with orders to break up the Ku Klux Klan. From 1871 to 1873 he succeeded in this so well that he received the thanks of the War Department. When similar conditions arose in the Red River district of Louisiana he was made commander there in 1875, remaining until the following year. As a consequence of his activities his nomination as lieutenant colonel in the regular army was held up for several years in the Senate by Southern sympathizers, but it was finally confirmed as from 1886. Merrill retired in 1886. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

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Wikisource-logo.svg This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainGilman, D. C.; Thurston, H. T.; Colby, F. M., eds. (1905). "article name needed". New International Encyclopedia (1st ed.). New York: Dodd, Mead.