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Thomas Moonlight
November 10, 1833(1833-11-10) – February 7, 1899 (aged 65)
Thomas Moonlight.jpg
Thomas Moonlight
Place of birth Boysack Muir near Arbroath Forfarshire, Scotland
Place of death Leavenworth, Kansas
Place of burial Mount Muncie Cemetery
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch Union Army
Rank Brevet Brigadier General
Battles/wars American Civil War

Thomas Moonlight (November 10, 1833 – February 7, 1899) was a United States politician and general.


Early life

Moonlight was born to a poor farmer at Boysack Muir near Arbroath in the county of Forfarshire, Scotland. He emigrated to the United States alone aged just twelve[1]. He initially worked on farms in the east until he enlisted at the age of twenty.

Life in the USA

He served for five years as a first sergeant in the 4th U.S. Artillery regiment. During the American Civil War Moonlight raised a company of artillery for the 4th Kansas Infantry, but the regiment never completed organization. The recruits to the company (and another regiment) were reassigned to the 1st Kansas Battery; Moonlight briefly served as its captain. Moonlight later joined the 11th Kansas Infantry as its lieutenant colonel. The regiment became the 11th Kansas Cavalry and Moonlight its colonel. (Moonlight briefly commanded the 14th Kansas Cavalry as lieutenant colonel, before being ordered to return to the 11th Kansas Cavalry.) His service during the war was primarily in Kansas against bushwhackers and border guerrillas. He also pursued William C. Quantrill's raiders following the Lawrence Massacre. In 1864 he commanded the 3rd Sub-district in the District of South Kansas. During Sterling Price's Missouri Raid in 1864, Colonel Moonlight commanded the 2nd Brigade, 1st Division in the Army of the Border and was conspicuous at the Battle of Westport.

Toward the end of the war, he was in command of the District of Colorado and campaigned against Indians on the plains. He was given a brevet promotion to brigadier general in 1865.

After the war, he returned to his farm and became involved in politics in the state of Kansas. He served as the Kansas Secretary of State, and also as state senator. From 1887 to 1889 Moonlight served as the governor of the Wyoming Territory. After his term as governor he served as U.S. Minister to Bolivia.

He died at Leavenworth, Kansas, and is buried there in Mount Muncie Cemetery.

See also


  • Eicher, John H., & Eicher, David J., Civil War High Commands, Stanford University Press, 2001, ISBN 0-8047-3641-3.
Political offices
Preceded by
Elliot S.N. Morgan
Governor of Wyoming Territory
Succeeded by
Francis E. Warren
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Frederic J. Grant
United States Envoy to Bolivia
April 1894–January 8, 1898
Succeeded by
George H. Bridgman


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