Photo of Lovell Rousseau
Lovell Rousseau

Library of Congress

Quick Facts

Significance:
Union infantry commander
Place Of Birth:
Near Stanford, KY
Date Of Birth:
August 4, 1818
Place Of Death:
New Orleans, LA
Date Of Death:
January 7, 1869
Place Of Burial:
Arlington, VA
Cemetery Name:
Arlington National Cemetery

A self-made man who rose from difficult circumstances, prior to the Civil War Lovell Harrison Rousseau was a lawyer, Indiana state representative, Kentucky and Indiana state senator and Mexican-American War veteran. A committed Unionist, Rousseau resigned his Kentucky senate seat in 1861 in order to recruit volunteers for the Union cause.

He was appointed colonel of one of the 5th Kentucky Infantry who, in combination with Home Guard troops, helped save Louisville, Kentucky from advancing Confederates in the fall of 1861. In October 1862, Rousseau was promoted to brigadier general, and less than two weeks later, to major general. He served valiantly at the Battles of Shiloh, Stones River and Perryville, during the Tullahoma Campaign and in movements around Chattanooga, Tennessee in the summer of 1863. Between November 1863 and November 1865, Rousseau oversaw units defending Nashville, Tennessee and carried out a successful raid on the Montgomery and West Point Railroad.

Rousseau resigned his commission in 1865 to take a seat in the 39th U.S. Congress. He left office a year later following a confrontation with a fellow representative that drew a formal reprimand from the House, but took back his seat in 1867. He returned to the army a brevet major general in 1867 and was assigned to duty in Alaska where he assisted in the transfer of that territory from the Russian Empire to United States. On July 28, 1868, he was placed in command of the Department of Louisiana. He died in New Orleans on January 7, 1869.

Last updated: June 17, 2015