Lorenzo Thomas was a career United States Army officer who was Adjutant General of the Army at the beginning of the American Civil War. After the war, he was appointed temporary Secretary of War by President Andrew Johnson, Thomas was born in New Castle, Delaware. He graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1823, and was commissioned a lieutenant in the 4th U. S. Infantry. He fought in the Seminole War in Florida and, during the Mexican-American War and he received a brevet promotion to lieutenant colonel for Monterrey, which was made permanent in 1852. From 1853 to 1861, he served as chief of staff to the general of the U. S. Army. Just before the start of the Civil War, Thomas was promoted to colonel, the Senate confirmed the appointment on August 5,1861. Camp Thomas, a Regular Army training base in Columbus, Ohio, was named in his honor in July 1861. He held the position of adjutant general until he retired in 1869, Thomas did not get along well with Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton and this assignment outside of Washington, D. C. was considered a form of banishment. Many historians have claimed Thomas was banished in disgrace after conspiring to defame Union General William T. Sherman as insane, Thomas was replaced by Maj. Gen. Edward D. Townsend as Adjutant General, who would serve until 1880. On April 6,1863, General Thomas was sent by the War Department to Helena and he created the first black troop in Arkansas, fighting for Union side as part of Bureau of Colored Troops, which was created by the War Department on May 22,1863. On February 21,1868, President Johnson attempted to replace Stanton by appointing Thomas as Secretary of War ad interim, Thomas, still stinging from his bad treatment by Stanton, boasted of his ability and determination to oust him from office by force, if necessary. Some historians believe that it was this attitude in his testimony at Johnsons impeachment trial in the Senate that was responsible for Johnsons acquittal. Thomas retired from the Army on February 22,1869, ten days before Johnson left office and he died in Washington, D. C. and is buried in Oak Hill Cemetery, Georgetown. Fort Thomas, a military post established in Arizona Territory in 1876, was named for Thomas, list of American Civil War generals Boritt, Gabor S. and Stephen W. Sears. New York, Oxford University Press,1994, Eicher, John H. and David J. Eicher. Stanford, CA, Stanford University Press,2001, warner, Ezra J. Generals in Blue, Lives of the Union Commanders. Baton Rouge, Louisiana State University Press,1964, claims document detailing $52,899 in property losses Thomas suffered during the Civil War. Thomas was eventually awarded $6,500 from the government, New York Times short piece addressing Thomas service in the Mississippi Valley recruiting African-American soldiers
Image: Gen L Thomas
The Situation A Harper's Weekly cartoon gives a humorous breakdown of "the situation". Secretary of WarEdwin Stanton aims a cannon labeled "Congress" on the side at Thomas and President Andrew Johnson to show how he was using congress to defeat the president and his unsuccessful replacement. He also holds a rammer marked "Tenure of Office Bill" and cannonballs on the floor are marked "Justice". Ulysses S. Grant and an unidentified man stand to Stanton's left.