Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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NORTHROP, Lucius Bellinger, soldier, born in Charleston, South Carolina, 8 September, 1811. He was graduated at the United States military academy in 1829, and was then appointed 2d lieutenant of dragoons and stationed at Fort Gibson and other places in the west for eight years. He was severely wounded while following an Indian trail, and after his recovery he returned to Charleston on sick-leave, never resuming active service. He studied medicine at Jefferson college, Philadelphia, and on his return to Charleston practised occasionally for charity only. The war department, having been informed that he was practising medicine, dropped him from the army, but when Jefferson Davis became secretary of war he not only reinstated him, but promoted him to the rank of captain with full pay. When South Carolina seceded he was among the first to resign his commission, and when a provisional government was established at Montgomery, Alabama, Jefferson Davis offered him the place of commissary-general, which, after declining twice, he accepted at the urgent solicitation of Mr. Davis, who had been his classmate at West Point and his friend ever since. When Richmond became the capital of the Confederacy he removed to that city and remained at the head of the commissary department until within a few weeks of the fall of the Confederacy. It is related that, after the first battle of Bull Run, on being requested to make some provision for feeding the prisoners then in Libby prison, he replied:" I know nothing of Yankee prisoners ; throw them all into the James river," and subsequently did all in his power to thwart the efforts of those who were humanely laboring to render the subsistence received by the prisoners less precarious. By the spring of 1864 Northrop had succeeded in having a law passed abolishing the office of commissary of prisons, thus leaving the whole matter of providing food for them in his own hands. " From this date," says Edward A. Pollard in his "Secret History of the Confederacy," " whatever there was of distress for food among the prisoners is to be properly and distinctly charged to one man in the Confederacy, Northrop." He was referred to in the Confederate congress as "a certain commissary-general who is a curse to our country," " and has attempted to starve the prisoners in our hands." Senator Orr, of South Carolina, with the aid of several congressmen, attempted to procure his removal from office, but was defeated by the opposition of Jefferson Davis, whose "affection for Northrop" is declared by Mr. Pollard to be "grotesque, inexplicable, insane." After the fall of Richmond, Northrop retired to North Carolina and engaged in farming, but in July, 1865, he was arrested by the National authorities and confined in Richmond until the following November, when he was released. He then bought a farm near Charlottesville, Virginia, upon which he has since resided.
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