Mar 4, 2021

Phi Delta Theta During A Crisis: The Civil War

Phi Delta Theta During A Crisis: The Civil War


From Walter B. Palmer’s History

From the beginning to the end of the war, Phi Delta Theta was well represented from the first call for volunteers to the gallant death of Brevet Brigadier General Theodore Read, Indiana 1854, who was killed April 6, 1865, only three days before the surrender of General R. E. Lee.

Several members enlisted as early as April 15, 1861, the day after the fall of Fort Sumter. Irvin Robbins, Butler 1860, enlisted in the 7th Indiana Infantry on April 24, 1861, and took part in the engagement at Philippi, Virginia (now West Virginia) on June 3, 1861, which was the first battle of the war.

Henry L. Powell, Indiana 1867, enlisted on April 25, 1861, was wounded at Rick Mountain, Virginia (now West Virginia), on July 11, 1861. P. A. Davidson, volunteered April 18, 1861, and was a member of Stonewall Jackson’s command at the battle of Manassas on July 21, 1861. During a charge of that famous brigade, he was shot through the right shoulder.

General J. C. Black, Wabash 1862, was elected Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, 1903.

Two hundred and eighty one members of Phi Delta Theta are known to have served in the American Civil War.

Photo: BG Theodore Read, Indiana 1854

Involvement of the Fraternity’s Founders and Benjamin Harrison

  • Founder John McMillan Wilson served in the US Army as a recruiting officer.
  • Founder Andrew Watts Rogers served as major in the US Army.
  • Early initiate of Ohio Alpha and future president Benjamin Harrison served in the Army and was promoted to brevetted Brigadier General of the 20th Army Corps, and recognized “for his ability and manifest energy and gallantry of the brigade.”

As Seen in the 1886 Issue of The Scroll

From The Scroll Archive – Read the report from General Council President, Hilton U. Brown to the National Convention ab0ut the impacts of the Civil War to the Fraternity

Phi Delt Fact

The original coat of arms was introduced in 1866.

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Take the opportunity to honor the Phi Delta Theta heritage this month by making a contribution in support of our General Headquarters building in Oxford, Ohio. Donate at one of our five levels to receive your Founders Day gift!

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