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Thomas Edwin Greenfield Ransom Passed Away

Today in Masonic History Thomas Edwin Greenfield Ransom passed away in 1864.

Thomas Edwin Greenfield Ransom was a Civil War General.

Ransom was born on November 29th, 1834 in Norwich, Vermont. His father was killed in action during the Mexican-American War when Ransom was 14 years old. Close to the time his father was killed action, Ransom entered Norwich University, the oldest private military college in the United States. He graduated in 1851.

After graduating, Ransom moved to Peru, Illinois where he lived with his uncle, who was the mayor of Peru. Ransom engaged in civil engineering and real estate speculation. He earned the nickname the "boy surveyor."

When the American Civil War began, Ransom was employed by the Illinois Central Railroad. In response to Abraham Lincoln’s call for troops, Ransom raised a body of soldiers becoming Company E of the 11th Illinois Infantry. He was initially he was made the captain of the unit. He worked his way up to Colonel. In late 1862, Ransom was commissioned brigadier general. In the beginning of 1863 he was given command of the Sixth Division of McPherson's XVII Corps. During the rest of the war he was in command of divisions in the XIII, XVI and XVII Corps at various times during.

Through the Civil War, Ransom was wounded four times; the last time was in April of 1864. His wounds were so severe in 1864 he was evacuated to Chicago for treatment.

When Ransom returned to the war, he led the XVII Corps in pursuit of Confederate soldiers through Georgia and into Alabama. When he led his unit back into Georgia, Ransom became gravely ill with dysentery. He remained in command until he was too weak to continue. When he was told he only had hours to live he replied "I am not afraid to die, I have met death too often to be afraid of it now.” Ransom passed away on October 29th, 1864.

Ransom was well respected by other Civil War Generals, including Ulysses S. Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman. It is said when Grant was informed of Ransom’s death he wept. As President, Grant often talked about Ransom with affection and respect. Sherman kept a photograph of Ransom on his wall for 20 years after the war.

Ransom was a member of St. John's Lodge No. 13 in Peru, Illinois. He was also a member of Ottawa Commandery No. 10, Knights Templar.