Edmund Rice (general)

Edmund Rice (December 2, 1842 – July 20, 1906) was a soldier in the United States Army and a Medal of Honor recipient who achieved the rank of Brigadier General.

Early life

Rice was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In 1856 he entered Norwich University in Vermont, but was not awarded a degree until 1874. After three years he became an apprentice to one Captain Lloyd on a merchant ship. The clipper ship, Snow Squall, left Long Wharf in Boston in September 1858 headed for Shanghai, China. After ten months at sea Edmund arrived back in New York in June 1859. He then began working as a surveyor for his father's development interests.

Civil War

In 1861 Rice joined the 14th Massachusetts Infantry and was commissioned a captain. He was later transferred to the 19th regiment, and with that unit engaged in the Civil War battles of: Ball's Bluff, Siege of Yorktown, Fair Oaks, Savage Station, Glendale, Malvern Hill, and Antietam. He was promoted to the rank of major on October 1, 1862 and fought in the battle of Fredericksburg December 11,–13 1862. For his actions at the battle of Gettysburg in repelling Pickett's Charge, he was presented with the Medal of Honor in 1891. Made a lieutenant colonel in 1863, he commanded his regiment in the Rapidan Campaign, the battles of Bristoe Station, Blackburn's Ford, Robinson's Cross Roads, and the Mine Run. He commanded the 19th in the battle of the Wilderness on May 5,–7, 1864 and at the battle of Laurel Hill on May 8, 1864. He was wounded and captured in the assault at the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, May 12, 1864. While being transported as a prisoner on May 23, he escaped by cutting the door of a freight car and jumping from it while the train was moving at 15 mph. He reached Union lines, near the Ohio River, twenty-three days later.

He rejoined his unit in August 1864 and was placed in command of Fort Rice. He participated in the second battle of Deep Bottom, the battle of Weldon Railroad, the second battle of Ream's Station, and the battle of Hatcher's Run; he was in command of Fort Stedman and batteries Eleven and Twelve in front of Petersburg, Virginia. He was present at the surrender of the Confederate Army at Appomattox Court House, and returned to civilian life on June 30, 1865. Altogether, he was wounded three times. Just a year later, he entered the United States Army and was commissioned a first lieutenant in the 40th Infantry, July, 1866.


Rice married Annie Clark Dutch on August 30, 1866 in Charleston, South Carolina. He commanded the Post of Hilton Head, South Carolina and was also stationed in Raleigh, North Carolina, Jackson Barracks, Louisiana, Camp Distribution, Washington, D.C., and in Mississippi. In June 1868 Rice was assigned to the Springfield Armory to supervise the manufacture of the Rice Trowel Bayonet for trial by the U.S. Army. While stationed there, his wife Annie died of tuberculosis only 11 months after their daughter was born, at the age of twenty. Rice's daughter, Corrine, was raised by his mother and siblings.

Indian wars

After the Civil War, Rice was consumed by his work, inventing the Rice Trowel, the Rice Stacking Swivel, and a knife entrenching tool. In 1874 he commanded an expedition against Ute tribe Indians near Spanish Peaks, Colorado, and volunteered for an 1876 campaign against Sioux Indians in Montana, in retaliation for the loss of the 7th Cavalry at Little Bighorn. Buffalo Bill Cody was employed as a scout to aid the company in its trip up the Yellowstone River in search of hostile Indians. In July 1879 Rice commanded a six-gun battery in Colonel Nelson Miles' expedition against the Sioux, north of the Missouri River near the Canadian Border. He took part in the engagement of July 17, where their hotchkiss guns were used to disperse the Sioux.

Rice spent the remainder of the Indian Wars of the 1870s and 1880s mostly at Fort Keogh, Montana, Fort Totten, North Dakota, and Fort Leavenworth, Kansas; he was promoted to captain on March 10, 1883. He was Commandant of the Columbian Guard at the 1893 World's Fair.

In 1881 he married his second wife, Elizabeth Huntington, in Cincinnati, Ohio. Corrine was then suddenly removed from her home in Massachusetts to live with her father and stepmother in the western frontier. The reunion was less than amicable and she returned to the east coast in 1888, settling in New Jersey with her husband Joseph H. Scharf, who was a grand-nephew of secretary of State William H. Seward.


Rice retired on August 14, 1903, with the rank of brigadier general. He served as Grand Marshall of Ceremonies at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in 1904. He became a member of the Medal of Honor Legion, Military Order of the Loyal Legion, Grand Army of the Republic, Society of Prisoners of War, Society of Sons of the American Revolution, and the Society of the War of 1812. General Rice spent the summer of 1905 with his daughter Corinne and her husband.

He died "very suddenly" of heart failure "while sitting in a hammock at Wakefield, Massachusetts, on July 20, 1906, lay in state in the Hall of Flags of the State House in Boston, and was buried in Section 3 of Arlington National Cemetery. His wife, Elizabeth H. Rice (1849 – 1919) is buried with him. His grave is marked by a large rock with a 3.5 foot bronze sculpture of the Medal of Honor draped over the boulder with the inscription, "The Congress to lieut.-Col. Edmund Rice, 19th Mass. Vois, for conspicuous bravery on the 3rd day of the battle of Gettysburg."

He was the great, great, great, great, great, great grandson of the immigrant, Edmund Rice as follows:

Brigadier General Edmund Rice, son of

*Moses Maynard Rice (May 12, 1811 – February 14, 1861), son of
*Deacon Edmund Rice (August 13, 1785 – January 13, 1860), son of
*Edmund Rice (December 28, 1755 – November 14, 1841), son of
*Edmund Rice (July 10, 1725 – 1796), son of
*Jason Rice (1692 – February 19, 1730), son of
*Edmund Rice (December 9, 1653 – September 25, 1719), son of
*Deacon Edward Rice (1622 – August 15, 1712), son of
*Edmund Rice (1594 – May 3, 1663)


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