Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States

Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States

The Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States, also known by its acronym MOLLUS or simply as the Loyal Legion, is a United States patriotic order, organized April 15, 1865, by officers of the Army, Navy, or Marine Corps of the United States who "had aided in maintaining the honor, integrity, and supremacy of the national movement" during the American Civil War. They stated as their purpose the cherishing the memories and associations of the war waged in defense of the unity and indivisibility of the Republic; the strengthening of the ties of fraternal fellowship and sympathy formed by companionship in arms; the relief of the widows and children of dead companions of the order; and the advancement of the general welfare of the soldiers and sailors of the United States. The modern organization is generally composed of descendants of these officers (hereditary members), and non-officer descendants who share the ideals of the Order (associate members).



Following the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln in 1865, rumors spread that the act had been part of a wider conspiracy to overthrow the legally constituted government of the United States by assassinating its chief men. Many people at first gave credence to these rumors, including three of the officers assigned to the honor guard for Lincoln's body as it was transported to Springfield, Illinois, for burial. The three officers, Brevet Lt. Col. Samuel Brown Wylie Mitchell, Lt. Col. Thoms Ellwood Zell, and Capt. Peter Dirk Keyser, are considered to be the founders of the Order. To demonstrate their loyalty, they decided to form a "Legion" modeled on the post-Revolutionary War Society of the Cincinnati. The Legion was organized largely during the same meetings that planned Lincoln's funeral, culminating in a meeting on May 31, 1865, in Philadelphia's Independence Hall at which the name was chosen, and a mass meeting of Philadelphia war veterans on April 20.

The society was composed of three classes:

  • Officers who had fought in the Army, Navy, or Marine Corps of the United States in the suppression of the Rebellion or of enlisted men who had so served and were subsequently commissioned to the regular forces of the United States.
  • Members of the second class were elected from among the eldest male descendants of those eligible for the first class.
  • The third class consisted of distinguished civilians who rendered faithful and conspicuous service to the Union during the Civil War. No new elections to this class have taken place since 1890. New International Encyclopedia

The order grew rapidly and had members (called "Companions") in almost every state except those of the former Confederacy. At its height at the very end of the 19th century, the order had counted over 8,000 Civil War veterans as members, including nearly all notable general and flag officers and several future presidents—Ulysses S. Grant, William T. Sherman, Philip H. Sheridan, George B. McClellan, Rutherford B. Hayes, Chester A. Arthur, Benjamin Harrison, and William McKinley, among others. The Order's fame was great enough to inspire John Philip Sousa to compose the Loyal Legion March in its honor in 1890.

As the Civil War veterans aged and died, the Order opened hereditary membership to male descendants of the original members. Today, the Order serves more as an hereditary society (descendants of eligible officers) than as a functioning military order. There are currently four categories of membership: Hereditary, Junior, Associate and Honorary. Many Original Companions of MOLLUS were also members of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR). Similarly, many Hereditary Companions of MOLLUS are currently also members of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, the legal heir to the GAR.

Organizationally, the Loyal Legion is composed of a National Commandery-in-Chief and individual state Commanderies. There are currently 19 Commanderies and two Provisional Commanderies. Current officers include Commander-in-Chief Jeffry Burden of Virginia; Senior Vice-C-in-C Waldron Post of New York; and Junior Vice C-in-C James Simmons of Texas.

Each year, the Loyal Legion commemorates President Lincoln's birthday with an annual wreath laying ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. In 2009, MOLLUS helped coordinate an extended tribute with the help of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission to celebrate Lincoln's 200th birthday.

Prominent original companions

U.S. Presidents

United States Army

United States Navy

External links

Further reading

  • Carroon, Robert G. and Dana B. Shoaf, (2001). Union Blue : The History of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States. Shippensburg, PA: White Mane Books. ISBN 1572491906. LCCN 00-049955. 

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States — Le Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States, connu également sous son acronyme MOLLUS ou plus simplement comme la Loyal Legion (que l on peut traduire en français par l « Ordre militaire de la légion des loyalistes des États… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Military Order of the Dragon — Medal of the Military Order of the Dragon. The Military Order of the Dragon. The purpose was to record the history and conserve the memory of the military campaign in China in the year 1900. Provision being made for admitting to honorary… …   Wikipedia

  • Military Order of the Carabao — Medal showing the insignia of the Military Order of the Carabao. The Military Order of the Carabao is a social club consisting of members of the U.S. military. Criteria for membership are shown on the organization s web site at http://www.carabao …   Wikipedia

  • UNITED STATES OF AMERICA — UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, country in N. America. This article is arranged according to the following outline: introduction Colonial Era, 1654–1776 Early National Period, 1776–1820 German Jewish Period, 1820–1880 East European Jewish Period,… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Loyal Legion — may refer to:* The Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States, a fraternity composed of former Union Army officers from the American Civil War (and, later, of their descendants). * The Loyal Legion of Loggers and Lumbermen (LLLL),… …   Wikipedia

  • Military establishment of the Roman Republic — This article is part of the series on: Military of ancient Rome (portal) 753 BC – AD 476 Structural history Roman army (unit types and ranks …   Wikipedia

  • Role of United States in the Vietnam War — The role of the United States in the Vietnam War began soon after the Second World War and escalated into full commitment during the Vietnam War (1956 1975).TimelineHarry S. Truman (1945–1953)Milestones of U.S. involvement under President Harry S …   Wikipedia

  • List of coalition military operations of the Iraq War — Operation Aloha redirects here. For the band, see Operation Aloha (band). Nordlicht redirects here. For the Kriegsmarine ship, see SS Nordlicht. Operation Falcon Freedom redirects here. For the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973… …   Wikipedia

  • Military history of African Americans — The 332nd Fighter Group attends a briefing in Italy in 1945. The military history of African Americans spans from the arrival of the first black slaves during the colonial history of the United States to the present day. There has been no war… …   Wikipedia

  • Military Affairs — ▪ 2009 Introduction        Russia and Georgia fought a short, intense war in 2008, fueling global fears of a new Cold War. On August 7 Georgia launched an aerial bombardment and ground attacks against its breakaway province of South Ossetia.… …   Universalium

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”