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Lovell Harrison Rousseau
[[Image:200px|center|200px|border]]Major General Lovell H. Rousseau
Personal Information
Born: August 4, 1818(1818-08-04)
Place of Birth: {{{place of birth}}}
Died: January 7, 1869 (aged 50)
Place of Death: {{{place of death}}}
Birth Name: {{{birth name}}}
Other Information
Allegiance: United States of America
Participation(s): {{{participations}}}
Branch: United States Army
Union Army
Service Years: {{{service years}}}
Rank: Captain (Mexican-American War)
Major General (Civil War)
Service number : {{{servicenumber}}}
Battles: Mexican-American War
American Civil War
Relations: {{{relations}}}
Other work: {{{otherwork}}}

Lovell Harrison Rousseau (August 4, 1818 – January 7, 1869) was a general in the United States and Union Armies during the American Civil War and a lawyer and politician in both Kentucky and Indiana.

Early life and career[]

Born near Stanford, Kentucky, on August 4, 1818, Rousseau had attended the common schools as a child. His father died in 1833 when he was thirteen years old, leaving the young Rousseau with more responsibilities in taking care of the family. He moved to Louisville, Kentucky, in 1840 and studied law. He was admitted to the bar the next year and started a private practice in Bloomfield, Indiana. He was a member of the Indiana House of Representatives from 1844 to 1845 when the Mexican-American War broke out. He served as the captain of a company and fought gallantly at the Battle of Buena Vista. Back in Indiana, he was elected to the Indiana Senate and served from 1847 to 1849. He moved back to Kentucky in 1849 and settled back in Louisville where he continued to run a successful law practice. He later served in the Kentucky Senate from 1860 to 1861.

Civil War[]

As the Civil War was becoming more and more likely, Rousseau took a bold and decided stand in favor of maintaining state government in Kentucky and helped keep it from seceding from the Union. He resigned from his seat in the senate in June 1861 and applied for a commission to raise volunteers. Against the opposition of many prominent figures in Kentucky, he succeeded in raising two regiments composed entirely of Kentuckians at Camp Joe Holt, across the Ohio River from Louisville in Jeffersonville, Indiana. They were known as the Louisville Legion. With the help of a battalion of the Louisville Home Guard, the regiments saved Louisville from being captured by Confederate troops. He was appointed colonel of the 5th Kentucky Volunteer Regiment in September 1861 and was later promoted to brigadier general of Volunteers attached to the army of General Ormsby M. Mitchel. Later, Rousseau was once again promoted to major general of Volunteers. He served valiantly at the Battles of Shiloh, Stones River, Chickamauga, during the Tullahoma Campaign and movements around Chattanooga, Tennessee. Although from November 1863 until his resignation in November 1865, Rousseau had command of Nashville, Tennessee, he had also, on Sherman's orders, carried out a very successful raid on the Montgomery and West Point Railroad in July 1864.[1]

House of Representatives and assault on Josiah B. Grinnell[]

Rousseau was elected an "Unconditional Unionist" to the United States House of Representatives in 1864, serving from 1865 to 1866. As a former military officer, he served on the Committee on Military Affairs. In June 1866, relations between Rousseau and Iowa congressman Josiah Bushnell Grinnell became tense. The two had a series of debates over a bill intended to give more power to the Freedman's Bureau. Rousseau opposed it having seen and heard about rebellious and illegal actions by agents working for the bureau, whereas Grinnell strongly supported the bill as a former active abolitionist and aide to runaway slaves. The debates eventually turned into mudslinging, Grinnell questioning Rousseau military record and insulting his performance in battle as well as a few uncalled-for comments on the state of Kentucky.

On June 14, 1866, Rousseau approached Grinnell in the east portico of the capitol building after a session of congress. He told Grinnell that he had been waiting for an apology from him for the insults he made about him before the House. Grinnell pretended not to know what Rousseau was talking about, enraging Rousseau who struck him repeatedly with the iron handle of his rattan cane until it broke. He struck him chiefly in the face but a few blows hit Grinnell's hand and shoulder. Grinnell walked away with only bruises and did not have to be absent from congress at all. However, a committee was organized to investigate the incident which was composed of Nathaniel P. Banks, Henry J. Raymond, Rufus P. Spalding, M. Russell Thayer and John Hogan. Rousseau was reprimanded for his actions and soon later resigned. He was elected back the same year to fill the vacancy caused by himself and continued to serve until 1867.

Later life and death[]


Rousseau's monument in Cave Hill Cemetery, Louisville, Kentucky.

After leaving the House of Representatives, Rousseau was appointed brigadier general in the U.S. Army with the brevet rank of major general, and was assigned to duty in Alaska on March 27, 1867. General Rousseau played a key role in the transfer of Alaska from the Russian Empire to the United States on October 18, 1867, today celebrated as Alaska Day. On July 28, 1868, he was placed in command of the Department of Louisiana. He died in this capacity in New Orleans, Louisiana, on January 7, 1869. He was interred in Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. He also has a monument in his honor at Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville, Kentucky.

See also[]

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32x28px American Civil War portal


  1. pp. 178-179, Cavalry raids of the Civil War, Col. Robert W. Black.

External links[]

Template:Start box |- ! colspan="3" style="background: #cccccc" | United States House of Representatives Template:U.S. Representative box Template:U.S. Representative box |- | colspan="3" style="background:#bebebe; color:#000000;" | Notes and references |- | colspan="3" style="text-align:left;"| 1. Rousseau had resigned from the seat, but was later elected back to fill the vacancy. |}

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.