Lucien Greathouse

Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War

Photos from the Past

Colonel Lucien Philip Greathouse

Lucien Philip Greathouse was born June 7, 1842, at Carlinsville, Illinois. His father was a prominent lawyer and States Attorney. Lucien graduated from Indiana University in 1858 at the age of 18 and began teaching school and studying law with his brother, Tevis Greathouse in Vandalia, Illinois. When president Lincoln issued the call for volunteers to preserve the Union, Lucien enlisted and recruited Company C of the 48th Illinois Infantry, a unit he later commanded. He rose rapidly in rank and was transferred to join the regimental staff. The members of Company C presented him with an inlaid jewelled sword in his honor. The 48th joined General Grant's forces in the siege of Vicksburg and then became part of General Sherman's march to the sea. They participated in forty battles until reaching the outskirts of Atlanta. At the battle of Peach Tree Creek on July 22, 1864, a large brick house owned by Troupe Hurtt was used as a rebel stronghold. At this time, Lucien, now a Colonel and Commander of the 48th, was ordered to seize the house and destroy the rebel occupants. Riding a large claybank horse, and with saber in hand, Col. Greathouse led the charge. With the rebels in pursuit of the broken Union line, one of them yelled. Surrender, can't you see you are beaten?. Col. Greathouse replied, Beat hell, we've just come into the fight! At that moment a minie ball struck him in the chest and he was immediately killed. His age at the time of his death was 22 years, 1 month and 15 days. Two days after his death orders were received promoting him to the rank of Brevet Brigadier General.

Lucien's body was returned to Vandalia and buried in Old City Cemetery. A 16 foot granite monument was placed at the head detailing the battle in which he had participated. It also contained the following inscription: His Example was Worth a Thousand Men, Gen. W. T. Sherman. The Bravest man in the Army of the Tennessee, Gen. J. A. Logan. He led the command in forty hard fought battles and was killed with the flag of his regiment and country in his hands standing upon the breast works of the enemy before the city of Atlanta, GA in the memorable fight of July 22, 1864. May his God and his Country deal justly by him.

    LUCIEN GREATHOUSE, COLONEL U. S. ARMY. BORN CARLINSVILLE, ILLINOIS 7TH DAY OF JUNE 1842 A.D. AND WAS KILLED AT THE HEAD OF HIS REGIMENT BEFORE ATLANTA, GEORGIA 22ND JULY 1864 A.D. WE CANNOT WIN HIM BACK. You shall not mourn, oh daughters and sons, for the noble cause of liberty comes with a price of the supreme sacrifice of the gallant, the brave, and the best that one day all men may be free.

Recently a marble stone containing the same inscriptions was placed at the foot of the grave. Had Lucien Greathouse lived to receive his promotion he would have been the youngest general officer in the history of the U.S. Armed Forces. Photograph submitted by Colonel Greathouse's great grand nephew, Theodore P McMullen.

Lucien Philip Greathouse