US – Gettysburg Papers – MOLLUS

Shortly after, and in response to rumors of a possible coup in the wake of the assassination of President Lincoln, a group of US Army officers met in Philadelphia and formed the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States.  MOLLUS’ organization was modeled on the Society of Cincinnati, started by General Henry Knox in 1783 [which became a hereditary organization of direct descendants of officers who served in the military during the Revolutionary War] in that it was also to become a hereditary organization of direct descendants of officers who served during Civil War the US Army, Navy and Marine Corps.

MOLLUS organized into state Commanderies and at some point after their 1865 founding, they began holding state commandery meetings periodically, at which members were invited to present papers on their wartime experiences.   These papers were collected and assembled into volumes by MOLLUS until 1914, by which time many of the Veterans had passed on, and those who remained had their memories stretched too many years  to be reliable.

In 1978, Bob Younger, Publisher of Morningside Books, in Dayton Ohio, published a two volume set of these papers strictly limited to ones about the Battle of Gettysburg.  They were compiled by Ken Bandy and Florence Freeland, and indexed by Margie Riddle Bearss.  They also included some papers of the Military Historical Society of Massachusetts from 14 volumes published between 1881 and 1918.

The papers are mostly first hand accounts, with a few exceptions.  Colonel Strong Vincent, commanding the Brigade tasked with defending the left of the Army of the Potomac on Little Round Top on July 2, 1863 was killed that day, and therefore was unable to become a member of MOLLUS.  However, his brother Boyd, an Episcopal Bishop, joined as a Hereditary Companion and presented a paper about his brother to the Ohio Commandery in February of 1915, which leads off Volume 2 of the Gettysburg Papers.

These are truly wonderful and mostly first-hand accounts of various aspects of the Battle of Gettysburg, and the people who fought it.

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