Arthur MacArthur Jr.

Arthur MacArthur Jr. belongs to one of two sets of father/son Medal of Honor recipients (the others are Theodore Roosevelt and his son, Theodore Jr.). MacArthur’s son, the famed World War II General Douglas MacArthur, also received the Medal for his service in the Phillipines Campaign. 

MacArthur himself was the son of a Wisconsin judge and former governor. Born in Springfield, MA, MacArthur was living in Wisconsin at the start of the Civil War and enlisted there on August 4, 1862, at the age of 17.

Commissioned as a first lieutenant, he became adjutant of the 24th Wisconsin Volunteer Regiment. He saw action in some of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War: Chickamauga, Stones River, Chattanooga and the Atlanta campaign.

On November 25, 1863, in the fierce fighting on Chattanooga’s Missionary Ridge, 18-year-old MacArthur seized his regiment’s flag and, singing “On Wisconsin,” charged to the crest of the ridge and planted the flag, inspiring his regiment in the fight that eventually drove the Confederate Army out of the crucial rail center of Chattanooga.

Brevetted colonel the next year, he became nationally known as “The Boy Colonel,” at age 19. By the time he left the Army in 1865, he had achieved the rank of lieutenant colonel. He left the Army briefly to study law but reenlisted and fought in the Indian Wars, including the campaign against Geronimo.

In the Spanish-American War, as commanding general of the 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, Eighth Army Corps, he led his troops to victory at the Battle of Manila on August 12, 1898, and was promoted to major general the next day. He continued to lead the Eighth Corps during the Phillipine-American War in 1899 and eventually became governor of the Phillipines.

He retired from the Army in 1909 as a three-star general, one of the last active duty officers to have served in the Civil War. He died of a massive heart attack on September 5, 1912, while addressing a reunion of his Civil War regiment in Wisconsin.

Fort MacArthur, San Pedro, CA, and the World War I training site, Camp MacArthur, Waco, TX, were named for him.

Citation: Seized the colors of his regiment at a critical moment and planted them on the captured works on the crest of Missionary Ridge.