Lucius Northrop

Photo of Lucius Northrop
Lucius Northrop


Quick Facts

Commissary-General of the Confederacy
Place Of Birth:
Charleston, SC
Date Of Birth:
September 8, 1811
Place Of Death:
Pikesville, MD
Date Of Death:
February 9, 1894
Place Of Burial:
Baltimore, MD
Cemetery Name:
New Cathedral Cemetery

Lucius Bellinger Northrop was a West Point graduate and close personal friend of Jefferson Davis who accidentally maimed himself with his own weapon while serving in the Second Seminole War in 1839. Severely disabled, Northrop was eventually forced out of the army in 1848 but was recalled by his friend and then-U.S. Secretary of War Davis five years later. Northrop left the army again in the midst of the secession crisis.

In March 1861, he was commissioned a colonel in the Confederate army by Davis and then appointed Commissary-General for the military forces of the Confederacy. Northrop, in his role as Commissary-General, was responsible for all logistical services for the Confederate military, including the procurement and transport of supplies to the armies and navy, the transport of troops, and the supply of necessities to inmates in prisoner-of-war camps. Northrop served in this role from March 1861 until February 1865 when he was forced from office.

While it is true the Confederacy lacked many of the resources and much of the infrastructure necessary to maintain its armies and prison camps, it is also clear that Northrop magnified these deficiencies through the incompetent administration of his department. Nevertheless, Davis refused to abandon his friend and even promoted Northrop to brigadier general in 1864, an appointment that was never ratified by the Confederate Senate. After the war, Northrop was briefly imprisoned by Union forces but then retired to his farm near Charlottesville, Virginia.

Last updated: June 17, 2015