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General Frank D. Baldwin

General Frank Baldwin (from

American General Frank D. Baldwin from the State of Michigan was one of only 19 people to be awarded two Medals of Honor. General Baldwin fought in three separate wars, the Civil War, the Indian Wars and the Philippine – American War (Patterson). He was also indirectly involved with World War I acting as the Command General for the Colorado National Guard.

The Civil War

In the Civil War General Baldwin enlisted in the Michigan Horse Guards as a Second Lieutenant on September 19, 1862 (Patterson). Frank Baldwin did not stay in the Michigan Horse Guards long and in November 22, 1861 he was mustered out of service (Stone). In September 1862 through Frank Baldwin volunteered for service in the Nineteenth Michigan Volunteer Infantry as a First Lieutenant where he remain assigned for the duration of the Civil War (Volo and Volo).

Lieutenant Frank Baldwin was captured twice during the Civil War. The first time was in a battle at Brentwood, Tennessee on March 25, 1863 and he was held prisoner until the unit was traded for another Confederate unit in August (A. B. Baldwin). That wasn’t the end of Lieutenant Baldwin’s time being a prisoner of war. A couple months later, on October 5th, 1863 his company, including himself was captured again by the Confederates (A. B. Baldwin). He was released that same day and his Brigade Commander recommended him for a Medal of Honor for his actions that day which was denied.

After the winter of 1863-1864 Frank Baldwin was promoted to Captain and was reassigned to Third Brigade, Third Division, and Twentieth Corps of Sherman’s army. He joined the campaign known as “Sherman’s March to the Sea.” In one battle during that campaign, The Battle of Peach Tree, Captain Frank Baldwin and his men fought off a Confederate charge and then counter-charged. Under heavy fire and far ahead of his men Captain Baldwin led the counter-charge and was the first to break into enemy lines. He also was able captured two commissioned officers and the guidon of a Georgia regiment as a result of the charge. This action led to the award of his first medal of honor (Stone).

The Indian Wars

After the Civil War Frank Baldwin returned to Michigan and finished College at Hillsdale Baptist College (Hillsdale College). While at college Frank Baldwin tried his hand in farming but was not satisfied with life on a farm (Carriker and Carriker). So in February 1866, he accepted a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the 19th U.S. Infantry and quickly promoted to First Lieutenant. He was then transferred to duty out west in Kansas with the 37th United States Infantry (Patterson).

In 1869 Frank Baldwin was reassigned to the Fifth U.S. Infantry where he was stationed at Fort Hays Kansas acting as a quartermaster (Stone). He served in a couple other post at the same capacity until December 1872 where he was transferred to Detroit, MI for recruiting duty (Steinbach).

Lieutenant Frank Baldwin was reassigned back to the Fifth U.S. Infantry in June 1874 when he joined the Indian Territory Expedition at under the command General Nelson Miles (Carriker and Carriker).  Under General Miles he acted as the chief of scouts under the command of Colonel Nelson Miles. He led his men against several tribes of Indians including the Sioux, Cheyennes, Kiowas, Arapahoes and Comanches (A. B. Baldwin). One attack he led rescued two sisters that were being held captive by the Indians after the Indians slaughtered the sisters’ family, this action earned him his second Medal of Honor (Patterson).

The German family, which consisted of the father, mother, four young girls and two young boys where moving from Georgia to find a home in Colorado. On the morning of September 11th this family was attack by Indians known as Dog Soldiers (A. B. Baldwin). These group of was comprised of Indians from various tribes. The father, mother and two sons were killed and scalped in the presence of the four girls. These girls were then split into two groups and sold to other Indian tribes (A. B. Baldwin).

On November 8th, 1874 Lieutenant Baldwin, at this time, had been given the order to escort 23 six-mule teams to a supply camp by the Washita River in Texas (A. B. Baldwin). The attachment consisted of one cavalry company, one infantry company and Lieutenant Baldwin’s scout company (Stone). One morning before the convoy began moving Lieutenant Baldwin sent scout out to look for any signs of Indians. When a scout returned he told Lieutenant Baldwin that we had found an Indian Camp led by Grey Beard (Stone). There had been reports that the German girls where held by Grey Beard at this time (Volo and Volo). Instead of going around Grey Beard, Lieutenant Baldwin decided to attack the Indian camp despite being outnumbered two to one and the Indians holding a superior fighting position (A. B. Baldwin).

The attack completely surprised the Indians though and not only did they rescue the two of the German girls being held but also chased the Indians completely routing the tribe. This defeat cause most of the hostile Indians to either surrender or move out of the area ending most Indian conflicts there (Patterson).

After the surrender of the Indians in Texas Captain Frank Baldwin was sent to Fort Leavenworth in Sept 1875. He helped General Miles settle troubles with the Apache Indians and then was turned to Yellowstone to conduct operations against the Sioux Indians who were led by Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse. He was commended for his bravery and successful attack on Sitting Bull’s camp in December 1876 and for his actions against the Indians at Wolf Mountain in January 1877. Those actions helped him receive a long overdue promotion to Captain on March 20th, 1879 (Stone).

Frank Baldwin fell ill in late 1878 and was unable to continue service out west. This ended much of the frontier life for Captain Baldwin but he continued his military service. He was assigned as judge advocate of the Department of Columbia from 1881 – 1885 where he made trips to Europe (A. B. Baldwin). He was able to regain his health in that time and in late 1885 he rejoined his regiment where he acted as the inspector general of the Division of the Missouri until the Indians surrendered in January 1891. Afterwards he served as the inspector of small arms in Chicago until 1894 until 1898 (Stone).

Philippine War

In December 1899 the now Colonel Frank Baldwin request to return to his unit in the Philippines. He was sent to the Philippines where he played an important role of capturing Lt. General Mariano Trias (Steinbach).In the Philippine Island of Luzon in the Cavite Province laid the majority of the insurgents. Colonel Frank Baldwin was responsible for clearing this this area. The area was known to be the location of many leaders and several armed bands. After consist harassment of the enemy Colonel Baldwin was able to locate General Trias and forced him to surrender along with his army (Stone). This bought a lot of positive attention to Colonel Frank Baldwin including Theodore Roosevelt and Brigadier General J.C. Bates who recommend the promotion of Baldwin (A. B. Baldwin).

The 27th Infantry was a new unit just authorized by Congress and Colonel Baldwin was chosen to lead the newly formed unit (Steinbach). In September 1901 Baldwin met up with his new unit and they set sail for the Philippines in January 1902. Most of this unit was made of new recruits who had never seen combat along with being in a foreign country where some of the challenges faced by Baldwin (A. B. Baldwin). Their mission was to reach a lake called Lake Lanano which was defended by the Moros who began to attack the 27th as soon as they landed on the island. Until Colonel Frank Baldwin Lake Lanano was never seen by troops of a civilized nation (A. B. Baldwin). On May 1902 Baldwin and his men pushed through to the lake and crushed the Moros. This victory earned Frank Baldwin his promotion to Brigadier General in June 1902 (Stone).

He remained in command at the Philippines until February 1903 when he was assigned to the command of the Department of Colorado (A. B. Baldwin). In 1906 General Baldwin retired from service and chose to reside in Colorado. This was not the end of his military career, World War I when the newly elected governor of Colorado ask Frank Baldwin to come out of retirement because the governor admitted to not have enough experience to prepare men for war (Carriker and Carriker). General Baldwin arose once again and oversaw the training until the Governor term was over. That was the last time, he led a private life until he died on April 22nd, 1903 and buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Married Life of General Frank Baldwin

When Frank Baldwin was released from a Confederate Prison in 1863 (Patterson) he spent his time recovering from captivity at Constantine, Michigan where he met a woman named Alice Blackwood (Patterson). Alice was friends with Gertrude Baldwin, Frank’s sister, who introduce Alice to Frank Baldwin (Carriker and Carriker). Frank Baldwin shortly returned to the fighting in the Civil War but the friendship ultimately ended with the two being married in January 1867 (Carriker and Carriker). The reason behind Frank Baldwin proposing to Alice was because once he accepted a commission in the Nineteenth Infantry he had been given orders to Kansas. The thought of being alone caused Frank Baldwin to propose to Alice. The proposal was not what most ladies would want, it was by mail (Carriker and Carriker). She accepted the proposal and the couple married a spent their honeymoon travelling to Fort Hawker, Kansas.

Their only baby, Juanita Mary, was born on October 12th, 1867 on the trail near Trinidad, Colorado as the couple has moving to New Mexico because Frank Baldwin had been reassigned to Fort Harker (Carriker and Carriker). After one year (1968) in the New Mexico Territory the U.S. Army ordered all wives out of the territory and Alice chose to return to Michigan. Marriage for the Baldwin’s was difficult. As a junior officer in the Army Frank Baldwin’s pay was low and often times was mostly used to maintain himself in New Mexico; leaving little left for his wife and child (A. B. Baldwin). Alice was living with family members and while it was temporary it was longer than expected and started to strain their relationship (Carriker and Carriker).

In Late 1969 Frank Baldwin was transferred to Fort Hays where wives where allowed (A. B. Baldwin). It was here that she realized that she also needed to seek promotions for her husband. Momentarily the couple was happy but that soon changed after a bad loan. Frank Baldwin had borrow $1,000 dollars from Alice’s Uncle and when the land did not return as quickly as he expected he had to send Alice back to Michigan again in 1870 (Carriker and Carriker). Frank Baldwin sold the land when he was reassigned to recruiting duty in Detroit, Michigan (A. B. Baldwin). He the pay situation become bad enough that Frank Baldwin decided to sell lightning rods. Alice stopped his business plan though telling him he needed to focus on his career and a promotion (Carriker and Carriker). Soon Frank was transferred again causing his wife to go into a depression but yet again she was able to join Frank after being apart for two years.

This pattern and unhappiness between the couple continued until frontier life was over in 1877 when Frank fell ill (Steinbach). After falling ill the Army took care of them and they were even stationed in Europe which Alice was allowed to accompany Frank on (Carriker and Carriker). Alice was certain in was her friendship with General Miles’s wife that influence the assignment (Carriker and Carriker). After the trip to Europe Frank was promoted several times and Alice began to enjoy Army life (A. B. Baldwin). Frank always had but now the couple’s relationship was on much better terms now that stations at remote posts were over (Carriker and Carriker).

A Memory

On April 22, 1923 he died of cirrhosis of the liver and was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery (Steinbach). Before he died he was awarded two Medals of Honor, the first one for his actions a Peach Tree Creek and the second for rescuing the German girls. That made him one of only 19 double Medal of Honor recipients.

Primary Sources

  1. Baldwin, Alice Blackwood. Memoirs of the Late Frank D. Baldwin. Los Angeles: Wetzel Publishing Co., Inc., 1929.
  2. Carriker, Eleanor R. and Robert C. Carriker. An Army Wife on the Frontier. Salt Lake City: Tanner Trust Fund, 1975.
  3. Stone, Wilbur F. “Denver County CO Archives Biographies Baldwin, Frank Dwight.” 1919. USGen Archives.

Secondary sources

  1. Beede, B. R. (1994). The War of 1898 and U.S. Interventions, 1898T1934: An Encyclopedia. New York: Routledge.
  2. Baldwin, F. (n.d.). Frank D Baldwin. Baldwin Battlefield Tours
  3. Hillsdale College. (n.d.). Major General Frank D. Baldwin Collection. Hillsdale College
  4. Patterson, M. R. (2011). Frank Dwight Baldwin. Arlington National Cemetery Website.
  5. Steinbach, R. H. (2010). Baldwin, Francis Leonard Dwight. (Texas State Historical Association) Handbook of Texas Online.
  6. Volo, James M and Dorothy Volo. Life in 19th Century America. Westport: Greenwood Press, 2007.