(1842 - 1901)
Home State: Michigan
Education: University of Michigan
Command Billet: Regimental Adjutant
Branch of Service: Infantry
Unit: 17th Michigan Infantry
Probably from Solsborough, County Wexford, he came to the US with his father by 1858 and was enrolled at the University of Michigan in that year. He was a Beta Theta Pi in the Class of 1862 when he entered service in Company A, First Michigan Lancers at Ann Arbor on 1 October 1861 giving his age as 21. He mustered as Adjutant on 1 November. He mustered out on 20 March 1862 and re-entered service in the Seventeenth Infantry at its organization, as Adjutant, on 2 July 1862.
On the Campaign
He was in action at Fox's Gap on South Mountain on 14 September 1862, and was wounded at Antietam on the 17th.
The rest of the War
He was detached as Acting Assistant Adjutant General (AAAG), First Division, Ninth Army Corps, on 8 February 1863 and as Aide-de-Camp, First Division on 10 March 1863. He transferred to Company C as First Lieutenant on 1 November 1863. He was again detached on staff duty as Aide-de-camp to General O.B. Willcox from 1 January 1864 to April 1865, during which time he was commissioned Captain, Company F, 17th Michigan Infantry (19 July 1864). He was honored by brevet to Major U. S. Volunteers (2 December 1864) for gallant and meritorious service during the war. Mustered out of the volunteer service at Delaney House, Washington, DC on 3 June 1865.
After the War
He was in the Law School at the University of Michigan for about a year in 1865-66, then accepted a commission in the Regular Army as 2nd Lieutenant, 11th US Infantry. He was promoted to First Lieutenant on 19 June 1868. He served as Regimental Quartermaster (RQM) from August 1868 to April 1869, when he transferred to the 16th US Infantry (formed by consolidation of the 11th and 34th regiments). He continued as the RQM to August 1874, was Adjutant until 30 June 1880, and RQM again to 28 June 1885 when he was promoted to Captain. He was Lieutenant Colonel and AAG of Volunteers for Spanish-American War service from June 1898 to February 1901 (promoted Major, 7th US Infantry in 1899), then Lieutenant Colonel in the 7th US Infantry on 28 February 1901. In March 1867 he had been awarded Regular brevets to First Lieutenant (for South Mountain) and Captain (for Spottsylvania).
References & notes
Service data from Michigan1 and Heitman2. Further details from family genealogists and J.D. Richardson's Tennessee Templars: A Register of Names with Biographical Sketches of the Knights Templar of Tennessee (1883). Richards appears to have been stationed at Regimental HQ in Nashville about 1873, and was affiliated with the Knights then. He was at Ft Hayes, KS in 1879. The photo above is from one in the Archives of Michigan, found online on Seeking Michigan3.
More on the Web
There are at least 3 August 1864 group photos of General Willcox and his staff at Petersburg, VA in the MOLLUS Massachusetts collection - each including Captain Richards.
08/15/1842; Dublin, IRELAND
12/08/1901; Vancouver Barracks, WA; burial in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA
1 State of Michigan, Office of the Adjutant General, and George H. Brown, Adjutant General; George H. Turner, Asst. AG, compiler, Record of Service of Michigan Volunteers in the Civil War, 1861-1865, 46 volumes, Kalamazoo: Ihling Bros. & Everard, 1904-1915, Vol. 17, pg. 87 [AotW citation 11983]
2 Heitman, Francis Bernard, Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army 1789-1903, 2 volumes, Washington DC: US Government Printing Office, 1903, Vol. 1, pg. 828 [AotW citation 11984]
3 State of Michigan, Library and Archives, Seeking Michigan, Published 2008, first accessed 28 February 2010, <http://seekingmichigan.org/>, Source page: /cdm/singleitem/collection/p4006coll3/id/444/rec/616 [AotW citation 11985]