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J. L. Selfridge

J. L. Selfridge

Federal (USV)

Lieutenant Colonel

James Levan Selfridge

(1824 - 1887)

Home State: Pennsylvania

Education: Lafayette College

Command Billet: Regimental Lt Colonel

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: 46th Pennsylvania Infantry


see his Battle Report

Before Antietam

After college, he studied law at Allentown, and was in his father's Lehigh Transportation Company of Philadelphia, then began his own brokerage. In 1857 he moved to Bethlehem, where he was engaged in the coal and real estate business until the War.

He mustered into service 20 April 1861 as Captain, Company A, First Pennsylvania Infantry (from Bethlehem, Northampton County) - the "Washington Grays". After their three-months' service, they became Company C, 46th Pennsylvania Infantry, and, 8 August 1861, Selfridge was appointed Lieutenant Colonel of the new 46th.

On the Campaign

He was in command of the Regiment after Col Knipe took command of the Brigade on 17 September. After Antietam, Knipe said of him "... I can cheerfully bear testimony to the bearing of Lieutenant-Colonel Selfridge. He displayed coolness and a bravery that distinguished the true soldier, and is worthy of promotion."

The rest of the War

He was promoted to Colonel and command of the Regiment 10 May 1863. Also promoted after the Battle was Major Matthews of the 46th, who was made Colonel of the 128th Pennsylvania, which was assigned to Knipe's Brigade. He led the Regiment up to the battle for Atlanta, where Colonel Selfridge took command of the brigade for the duration of the War.

He was honorably mustered out 16 July 1865. He was cited by Brevet for gallant service on Sherman's South Carolina and Georgia Campaign.

After the War

In 1868, he was elected Chief Clerk of the House of Representatives of Pennsylvania, and was re-elected until 1873. In 1872, he returned to Philadelphia and became proprietor of the Lehigh Hydraulic Cement, Company. He was also appointed by Governor Geary, Major-General of the Seventh Division of the National Guard of Pennsylvania.

References & notes

Source: Heitman, Francis Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army 1789-1903, Washington, US Government Printing Office, 1903; and
Bates, Samuel P., History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-65, Harrisburg: 1868-1871, extracted online at Pennsylvania in the Civil War.; and
Davis, History of History of Northampton County, Pennsylvania, 1877, transcribed online by Susan Walters on RootsWeb.


9/22/1824; Berks County, PA