Union General Lawler, below, commanded a division during the infamous Red River Campaign where Northern officers seemed more concerned with confiscating bales of cotton to be sold at a profit in New Orleans than confronting Southern forces. Lawler died in 1882 in Equality, Illinois, and is buried in the family cemetery in the rear the Old Slave House property.
Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com
“Fighting Mike” Lawler
“Michael Kelly Lawler was born in County Kildare, Ireland, on November 16, 1814; his parents brought him to the United States in March 1816. After residing in New York City and Frederick County, Maryland, the family came to Gallatin County, Illinois, where they settled.
For some years he commanded a company of militia and during the Mexican War distinguished himself as a captain of the Third Illinois in the engagements that marked Winfield Scott’s advance from Vera Cruz to Mexico City.
Early in 1861 he and his regiment, the Eighteenth Illinois, were mustered into service by U.S. Grant, then a captain on the staff of the adjutant general of Illinois. Lawler enforced discipline in his regiment by knocking down recalcitrants with his fists, by feeding emetics to drunks in the guardhouse, and by threats of violence to officers and men alike.
Brought before a court-martial for these alleged “offenses,” he was handsomely acquitted by Henry W. Halleck, then the department commander. In the assault on Fort Donelson, Lawler was wounded; in May 1863, after being promoted to brigadier-general . . . he commanded a brigade at Port Gibson, during the Vicksburg Campaign.”
(Generals in Blue, Lives of Union Commanders, Ezra J. Warner, LSU Press, 1964, pg. 276)