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Loyal Legion Medal to Couch and Hancock's Adjutant, Libby Prison Survivor and Commissioner of Indian Affairs and Bay Stater: Francis Amasa Walker


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cylekostello

Posted this on the USMF FB Group and CWT but forgot to post it here. Pictured is a well loved MOLUS medal numbered 2330 and belonged to Francis Amasa Walker of Boston, Massachusetts.

This is probably the most historically significant MOLLUS I own. Francis A. Walker was born July 2, 1840 to a prominent Boston family. His father, Amasa Walker was a founder of the Free Soil party and an abolitionist.

 

Walker the elder objected to his youngest son enlisting in the army but Francis eventually obtained permission to enlist. Doing so as a sergeant major in the 15th Massachusetts. Walker would serve only briefly with the 15th before being promoted to the staff of Gen. Darius Couch. With whom Walker would see his first combat on the Peninsula. Walker would stay on Couch’s staff up through the battle of Chancellorsville where he was severely wounded by a rebel shell. Which took him out of action until the fall of 1863. Upon returning to the second corps Walker would find himself under a new general, Winfield Scott Hancock.

 

Walker would serve Adjutant General to General Hancock for the remainder of the war. Including the Overland Campaign, where the old Second Corps was decimated. As well as the Richmond-Petersburg Campaign where he would be captured at Ream’s Station. After a bold escape attempt that nearly ended with Walker drowning in the Appomattox Francis was confined in Libby Prison for three months.

 

Exchanged in October of 1864 Walker returned to Boston to recover from the damage done to him at Libby Prison. But his Chancellorsville injury and weakened constitution compelled him to resign his commission in January of 1865. In recognition of his long and gallant service Hancock himself recommend Walker for a promotion to brevet brigadier general. Which was confirmed by the senate in 1866.

 

Walker’s post war life is, in many ways, just as interesting as his war time service. After mustering out Walker married Exene Stoughton and had 7 children, all of whom would live to adulthood. Post war Walker severed as the Superintendent of the 1870 and 1880 Census. Walker would also serve as Commissioner of Indian Affairs (1870-72). Where he would oversee Federal response to the Modoc War. After his stint in the Grant Administration Walker would return to academia. First as a professor of political economy at Yale and then as President of MIT. Walker would go on to become one of the most prominent economists of the era and gave his name to the “Francis A Walker Prize”. A predecessor to the modern Nobel Prize in Economics.

Walker would maintain a correspondence with his former commander. Writing a biography on Hancock as well as a history of the Second Army Corps.

Walker would pass away in 1897 after a truly astounding life and is buried North Brookfield, Massachusetts.

 

If any members have an interest in economics, American Indian policy, or statistics Walker’s Wikipedia page is well worth a read. There is also a wealth of documents related to Walker online.

All in all a very nice medal with a truly incredible history.

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wartimecollectables.com

One of my favorite society badges, great piece!

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