Theodore Runyon

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Theodore Runyon
Theodore Runyon cph.3a03195.jpg
1st United States Ambassador to Germany
In office
October 26, 1893 – January 27, 1896
PresidentGrover Cleveland
Preceded byHimself
as Minister
Succeeded byEdwin F. Uhl
United States Minister to Germany
In office
June 4, 1893 – October 26, 1893
PresidentGrover Cleveland
Preceded byWilliam Walter Phelps
Succeeded byHimself
as Ambassador
Personal details
Born(1822-10-29)October 29, 1822
Somerville, New Jersey, U.S.
DiedJanuary 27, 1896(1896-01-27) (aged 73)
Berlin, Germany
Resting placeMount Pleasant Cemetery, Newark, New Jersey
Military service
Allegiance United States of America
Branch/service United States Army
New Jersey New Jersey Militia
Years of service1857–1864
RankUnion Army major general rank insignia.svg Major General
Battles/warsAmerican Civil War

Theodore Runyon (October 29, 1822 – January 27, 1896) was a United States politician, diplomat, and American Civil War brigadier general in the New Jersey Militia, serving with the Union Army at the Battle of First Bull Run. Runyon was a lawyer before the Civil War and mayor of Newark, New Jersey, a major general in command of the New Jersey National Guard until 1873, first president of the Manufacturers' National Bank of Newark, chancellor of New Jersey for 14 years and, between 1893 and 1896, envoy and later ambassador to Germany.

Early life[edit]

Theodore Runyon was born in Somerville, New Jersey of Huguenot descent. He was a direct descendant of Vincent Rongion (1644–1713), a Huguenot who was born in Poitiers, France and settled in New Jersey.[1] Theodore Runyon graduated from Yale University, where he helped found Scroll and Key Society. Runyon was admitted to the New Jersey bar in 1846 and began the practice of law in Newark, New Jersey.

Military service[edit]

As a brigadier general in the New Jersey militia, Runyon commanded the Fourth Division of the Army of Northeastern Virginia in June and July 1861.[2][3] The division was composed of 90-day New Jersey volunteer regiments and new 3-year New Jersey volunteer regiments which had been organized for less than a month.[3][4] Union Army commander, Major General Irvin McDowell held this division in reserve during the First Battle of Bull Run and they were not engaged in the battle.[3][5]

Although the Historians John and David Eicher show Runyon in charge of the division and as mustered out of the volunteers on July 31, 1861, they do not show him with a formal Union Army commission.[2] Also, neither the 1906 War Department list of Union Army generals nor Historian Ezra J. Warner's Generals in Blue show Runyon as a commissioned Union Army general rather than or in addition to a New Jersey militia general.[6][7][8] Runyon held his position as division commander as a State militia or short-term volunteer general, not as a formally commissioned Union Army general.[9] On February 25, 1862, Runyon was appointed a brevet major general in the New Jersey militia.[2] After the war, he was elected a companion of the Pennsylvania Commandery of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States - a military society of officers of the Union armed forces and their descendants.

Fort Runyon, named in Theodore Runyon's honor, was a timber and earthwork fort constructed by the Union Army following the occupation of northern Virginia in order to defend the southern approaches to the Long Bridge as part of the defenses of Washington, D.C. during that war.[10]

Later career[edit]

From 1864 to 1866, Runyon served as mayor of Newark as a Democrat. He had previously been city attorney and city counsel. Runyon was appointed major general in charge of the New Jersey National Guard, and served in this post until 1873. He was the first president of the Manufacturers' National Bank of Newark until he became chancellor of New Jersey, an office he held for 14 years.

In 1893, Runyon became envoy and later ambassador to Germany, where he died in 1896.[11] He is buried at Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Newark, New Jersey.[12]


  1. ^ Johnson, Rossiter; Brown, John Howard, eds. (1904). The Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans. Vol. IX. Boston: The Biographical Society. Retrieved May 26, 2022 – via Internet Archive.
  2. ^ a b c Eicher, John H., and David J. Eicher, Civil War High Commands. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2001. ISBN 0-8047-3641-3. p. 465
  3. ^ a b c Davis, William C. Battle at Bull Run: A History of the First Major Campaign of the Civil War. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1977. ISBN 0-8071-0867-7. p. 76
  4. ^ Detzer, David. Donnybrook: The Battle of Bull Run, 1861. New York: Harcourt, 2004. ISBN 978-0-15-603143-1. p. 132
  5. ^ Detzer, 2004, p. 440
  6. ^ United States War Department, The Military Secretary's Office, Memorandum Relative to the General Officers in the Armies of the United States During the Civil War, 1861-1865 (Compiled from Official Records.) 1906. Retrieved August 5, 2010.
  7. ^ Warner, Ezra J. Generals in Blue: Lives of the Union Commanders. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1964. ISBN 0-8071-0822-7.
  8. ^ See also Davis, 1977, p. 76 where Davis describes Runyon as "New Jersey's Brigadier General Theodore Runyon".
  9. ^ Several officers who commanded Union Army units or State units under Union Army control held this status as apparent federal, but actually only State, officers early in the war. Brigadier General Ebenezer Peirce of the Massachusetts militia, Brigadier General Thomas A. Morris of the Indiana militia and Colonel Joseph H. Tucker of the Illinois militia, an early commandant of Camp Douglas (Chicago) are other officers with similar positions and duties with the Union Army early in the war.
  10. ^ Civil War Defenses of Washington, National Park Service. Accessed September 20, 2007.
  11. ^ "Theodore Runyon Dead" (PDF). The New York Times. January 27, 1896. p. 1. Retrieved May 26, 2022.
  12. ^ "Funeral of Theodore Runyon". Chicago Tribune. New York. February 25, 1896. p. 8. Retrieved May 26, 2022 – via


External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by Mayor of Newark, New Jersey
Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by Democratic Nominee for Governor of New Jersey
Succeeded by
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by United States Ambassador to Germany
1893 – 1896
Succeeded by