Arthur MacArthur Jr.

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Lieutenant General Arthur MacArthur Jr. (June 2, 1845 – September 5, 1912) was a United States Army general. He became the military Governor-General of the American-occupied Philippines in 1900 but his term ended a year later due to clashes with the civilian governor, future-U.S. President William Howard Taft.

Arthur MacArthur Jr.
Arthur MacArthur Jr.jpg
3rd Military Governor of the Philippines
In office
May 5, 1900 – July 4, 1901
Preceded byElwell Stephen Otis
Succeeded byWilliam Howard Taft
Personal details
Born(1845-06-02)June 2, 1845
Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts, U.S.
DiedSeptember 5, 1912(1912-09-05) (aged 67)
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.
Resting placeArlington National Cemetery
Mary Pinkney Hardy
m. 1875; his death 1912)
ChildrenArthur MacArthur III
(b. 1876; died 1923)
Macolm MacArthur
(b. 1878; died 1883)
Douglas MacArthur
(b. 1880; died 1964)
MotherAurelia Belcher
FatherArthur MacArthur, Sr.
RelativesDouglas MacArthur II (grandson)
Arthur MacArthur IV (grandson)
EducationUnited States Military Academy
Military service
Nickname(s)The Boy Colonel
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Army
Union Army
Years of service1861–1865
RankUnion army lt gen rank insignia.jpg Lieutenant General (USA)
UnitWisconsin 24th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Regiment
United States 13th Infantry Regiment
United States III Corps
Commands1st Brigade, 2nd Division, Eighth Army Corps
2nd Division, Eighth Corps
Eighth Corps
Department of Northern Luzon
Department of the Pacific
Military Governor of the Philippines
Battles/warsAmerican Civil War
 • Battle of Chickamauga
 • Battle of Stones River
 • Battle of Missionary Ridge
 • Atlanta Campaign
 • Battle of Franklin
Indian Wars
Spanish–American War
 • Battle of Manila (1898)
Philippine–American War
 • Battle of Manila (1899)
AwardsMedal of Honor ribbon.svg Medal of Honor (1890)
Civil War Campaign Medal ribbon.svg Civil War Campaign Medal
Indian Campaign Medal ribbon.svg Indian Campaign Medal
Philippine Campaign Medal ribbon.svg Philippine Campaign Medal

His son, Douglas MacArthur, was one of only five men promoted to the five-star rank of General of the Army during World War II. In addition to their both being promoted to the rank of general officer, Arthur MacArthur Jr. and Douglas MacArthur also share the distinction of having been the first father and son to each be awarded a Medal of Honor.

Early lifeEdit

MacArthur was born in Chicopee Falls, then part of Springfield, Massachusetts. His father was Arthur MacArthur, Sr., a Scottish-born American lawyer, judge and politician who served as the fourth Governor of Wisconsin (albeit for only four days), a Wisconsin Circuit Court Judge in Milwaukee, and an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia.[1][2]

His mother was Aurelia Belcher (1819–1864), the daughter of a wealthy industrialist, Benjamin B. Belcher.[3] From his parents' marriage, he had one brother, Frank.[4] After his mother's death in 1864, his father remarried to Mary E. Willcut.[5]


MacArthur's father secured him an appointment to the United States Military Academy. At the outbreak of the American Civil War, MacArthur was living in Wisconsin.

Civil WarEdit

On August 4, 1862, his father secured a commission for him as a first lieutenant and appointed as adjutant of the 24th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Regiment, seeing action at Chickamauga, Stones River, Chattanooga, the Atlanta Campaign and Franklin.

At the Battle of Missionary Ridge on November 25, 1863, during the Chattanooga Campaign, the 18-year-old MacArthur inspired his regiment by seizing and planting the regimental flag on the crest of Missionary Ridge 35°1′7.15″N 85°15′51.02″W / 35.0186528°N 85.2641722°W / 35.0186528; -85.2641722 at a particularly critical moment, shouting "On Wisconsin." For these actions, he was awarded the Medal of Honor. He was brevetted colonel in the Union Army the following year. Only 19 years old at the time, he became nationally recognized as "The Boy Colonel" (not to be confused with Henry K. Burgwyn, known as the "Boy Colonel of the Confederacy").

MacArthur was severely wounded in the Battle of Franklin, receiving bullet wounds to the chest and leg from a rebel officer's pistol, but would ultimately survive.[6]

On January 25, 1864, he was promoted to major and about a year and a half later, on May 18, 1865, to lieutenant colonel – shortly before he was mustered out of service on June 10, 1865. In recognition of his gallantry in action he received brevets (honorary promotions) to lieutenant colonel and colonel dated March 15, 1865.

American-Indian WarsEdit

With the conclusion of the Civil War in June 1865, MacArthur resigned his commission and began the study of law. After just a few months, however, he decided this was not a good fit for him, so he resumed his career with the Army. He was recommissioned on February 23, 1866, as a second lieutenant in the Regular Army's 17th Infantry Regiment, with a promotion the following day to first lieutenant. Because of his outstanding record of performance during the Civil War, he was promoted in September of that year to captain. However, he would remain a captain for the following two decades, as promotion was slow in the small peacetime army.

Between 1866 and 1884, MacArthur completed assignments in Pennsylvania, New York, Utah Territory, Louisiana, and Arkansas.[7]

In 1884, MacArthur became the post commander of Fort Selden, in New Mexico. The following year, he took part in the campaign against Geronimo. In 1889, he was promoted to Assistant Adjutant General of the Army with the rank of major, and was promoted to lieutenant colonel in 1897.

Following the outbreak of the Spanish–American War, MacArthur was serving as the adjutant general of the Third Army Corps in Georgia.[citation needed] In June 1898 he was brevetted to brigadier general in the volunteer army. He was appointed as commanding general of the 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, Eighth Army Corps and led it to victory at the Battle of Manila on August 12, 1898. He was promoted to major general on August 13, 1898.

Philippine–American WarEdit

He led the 2nd Division of Eighth Corps during the Philippine–American War at the Battle of Manila (1899), the Malolos campaign and the Northern Offensive. When the American occupation of the Philippines turned from conventional battles to guerrilla warfare, MacArthur commanded the Department of Northern Luzon. In January 1900, he was appointed Brigadier General in the Regular Army and was appointed military governor of the Philippines with command of Eighth Corps, replacing General Elwell S. Otis.

He authorized the expedition, under General Frederick Funston, that resulted in the capture of Emilio Aguinaldo. MacArthur persuaded the captured Aguinaldo to cease fighting and to swear allegiance to the United States. He was promoted to major general in the Regular Army on February 5, 1901.

After the war, President William McKinley named him Military Governor of the Philippines, but the following year, William Howard Taft was appointed as Civilian Governor. Taft and MacArthur clashed frequently. So severe were his difficulties with Taft over U.S. military actions in the war that MacArthur was eventually relieved and transferred to command the Department of the Pacific, where he was promoted to lieutenant general.

Return to the United StatesEdit

In the years that followed, he was assigned to various stateside posts and, in 1905, was sent to Manchuria to observe the final stages of the Russo-Japanese War and served as military attaché to the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo. He returned to the U.S. in 1906 and resumed his post as Commander of the Pacific Division. That year the position of Army Chief of Staff became available and he was then the highest-ranking officer in the Army as a lieutenant general (three stars). However, he was passed over by Secretary of War William Howard Taft who he had clashed with in the Philippines. He never did realize his dream of commanding the entire Army.

MacArthur retired from the Army on June 2, 1909, having reached the mandatory retirement age of 64. He was one of the last officers on active duty in the Army who had served in the Civil War.

MacArthur was elected a member of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States (MOLLUS) in 1868 and was assigned insignia number 648. On May 6, 1908 he was elected commander of the Wisconsin Commandery of MOLLUS. He was elected as the Order's senior vice commander in chief on October 18, 1911, and became the Order's commander in chief upon the death of Rear Admiral George W. Melville on March 17, 1912.

Personal lifeEdit

On May 19, 1875, MacArthur married Mary Pinkney "Pinky" Hardy MacArthur (1852–1935), daughter of Thomas A. Hardy of Norfolk, Virginia.[8] Together, they had three children:[5]

On September 5, 1912, he went to Milwaukee to address a reunion of his Civil War unit. While on the dais, he suffered a heart attack and died there, aged 67. He was originally buried in Milwaukee on Monday, September 7, 1912, but was moved to Section 2 Gravesite 856-A of Arlington National Cemetery in 1926. He is buried among other members of the family there, while his son Douglas chose to be buried in Norfolk, Virginia the hometown of his mother, Mary Pinkney Hardy, and the site of the Hardy family home Riveredge.[8]

Awards and honorsEdit

Military awardsEdit

Medal of Honor citationEdit

Rank and Organization:

First Lieutenant, and Adjutant, 24th Wisconsin Infantry. Place and date: At Missionary Ridge, Tenn., November 25, 1863. Entered service at: Milwaukee, Wis. Birth: Springfield, Mass. Date of issue: June 30, 1890.


Seized the colors of his regiment at a critical moment and planted them on the captured works on the crest of Missionary Ridge.[12][13][14]

Just over eight decades later (1864–1945), his son, Douglas MacArthur, would also gain fame for leading U.S. forces to victory in the Philippines. Arthur MacArthur Jr. and Douglas MacArthur were the first father and son ever to each be awarded a Medal of Honor. To date, the only other father and son to be given this honor are former President Theodore Roosevelt and his son, Theodore Roosevelt Jr.


Fort MacArthur, which protected the San Pedro, California, harbor from 1914 until 1974, was named after General Arthur MacArthur. Camp MacArthur, a World War I training camp in Waco, Texas, was also named for the General.[15]

One of MacArthur's fellow officers in the 24th Wisconsin was future United States Senator John L. Mitchell, the father of controversial Army aviator Major General Billy Mitchell. MacArthur's son, General Douglas MacArthur, was a member of the younger Mitchell's court martial in 1925.

The actor Tom Palmer (1912-1997) played Arthur MacArthur Jr. in the 1959 episode, "The Little Trooper", of the syndicated television anthology series, Death Valley Days, hosted by Stanley Andrews. Child actor Bryan Russell (1952-2016) played Arthur's four-year-old son, Douglas, the subject of the title of the episode, set at Fort Selden in the New Mexico Territory. Leonard Bremen (1915-1986) was cast as played Trooper Norkul, who takes a protective interest in young Douglas.[16]


Insignia Rank Component Date
  First Lieutenant 24th Wisconsin August 24, 1862
  Major 24th Wisconsin January 25, 1864
  Brevet Colonel Volunteers March 13, 1865
  Lieutenant Colonel 24th Wisconsin May 18, 1865
  Second Lieutenant Regular Army February 23, 1866
  First Lieutenant Regular Army February 24, 1866
  Captain Regular Army July 28, 1866
  Major Regular Army July 21, 1889
  Lieutenant Colonel Regular Army May 26, 1896
  Brigadier General Volunteers May 27, 1898
  Major General Volunteers August 28, 1898
  Brigadier General Regular Army January 2, 1900
  Major General Regular Army February 5, 1901
  Lieutenant General Regular Army September 15, 1906


Union Army

  • First Lieutenant, 24th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Regiment, Union Army – August 4, 1862
  • Major, 24th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Regiment, Union Army – January 25, 1864
  • Brevet Lieutenant Colonel and Brevet Colonel – March 13, 1865
  • Lieutenant Colonel, 24th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Regiment, Union Army – May 18, 1865
  • Mustered out of Volunteer service – June 10, 1865
  • Colonel, 24th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Regiment, Union Army – June 13, 1865 (Commissioned but not mustered)

United States Army

In popular cultureEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "McArthur, Arthur 1815 - 1896". Wisconsin Historical Society. Archived from the original on February 2, 2014.
  2. ^ Perret, Geoffrey (1996). Old Soldiers Never Die: The Life of Douglas MacArthur. New York City: Random House, Inc. p. 3. ISBN 9780679428824.
  3. ^ Wurts, John S. (1945). Pedigrees of the Barons (1942). Brookfield publishing Company. p. 438. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
  4. ^ Young, Kenneth R. (1994). The General's General: The Life and Times of Arthur Macarthur. Westview Press. p. 4. ISBN 9780813321950. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
  5. ^ a b Marble, John Emerson (1943). The New England Historical and Genealogical Register. New England Historic Genealogical Society. p. 343. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
  6. ^
  7. ^ MacArthur 1964, pp. 13–14.
  8. ^ a b
  9. ^ James 1970, p. 25.
  10. ^ James 1970, p. 23.
  11. ^ "From Turbulence to Tranquility: The Little Rock Arsenal Part 2". MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History. Archived from the original on July 6, 2008. Retrieved May 23, 2010.
  12. ^ (2010). "Civil War Medal of Honor citations". Retrieved May 23, 2010.
  13. ^ Congressional Medal of Honor Society (2010). "MacArthur, Arthur Jr". Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina: Congressional Medal of Honor Society. Retrieved May 23, 2010.
  14. ^ "Medal of Honor recipients: Civil War (M-Z)". Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, DC: United States Army Center of Military History. May 21, 2010. Archived from the original on June 4, 2010. Retrieved May 23, 2010.
  15. ^ "Camp MacArthur". Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved April 16, 2012.
  16. ^ "The Little Trooper on Death Valley Days". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved December 29, 2018.
  17. ^ Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army, 1789–1903. Francis B. Heitman. 1903. Volume 1. pg. 652.


External linksEdit

Government offices
Preceded by
Elwell Stephen Otis
Military Governor of the Philippines
May 5, 1900 – July 4, 1901
Succeeded by
William Howard Taft