Wallace Fitz Randolph
Major General, United States Army
in Pennsylvania, June 11, 1841, he served as Private, Company F, 17th Pennsylvania
Volunteer Infantry in the Civil War, April 18-June 28, 1861; he was appointed
Second Lieutenant, 5th United States Artillery, May 14, 1861; First Lieutenant,
March 1862; Captain, July 1866; Major, 3rd U.S. Artillery, April 1888;
Lieutenant Colonel, March 1898; Colonel, 1st U.S. Artillery, October 1899;
Chief of Artillery, United States Army, April 1901; Brigadier General,
February 1903; Major General, January 1904. He retired from active duty
on Janaury 23, 1904.
He served in many battles of the Civil War and was brevetted Captain, June 1863, for "gallantry in the defense of Winchester, Virginia;" brevetted Major May3, 1865 for "good conduct and meritorious service during the war."
He was commissioned Brigadier General, United States Volunteers, May 1898 for the Spanish-American War and was mustered out of the volunteer service in November 1898.
He died in Washington, D.C. in 1910 and was
buried in Section 1 of Arlington National Cemetery. His gravesite is unique
in that over it stands an artillery piece as a memorial, the only such
piece in the entire cemetery. According to published reports, shortly before
his death he said that he had spent his entire life behind an artillery
piece and wouldn't mind spending eternity under one.
GENERAL RANDOLPH ENDS HIS LIFE WITH PISTOL
Ex-Chief of Artillery, United States Army, Blows Out His Brains In a Fit of Despondency
Rose From The Ranks
Enlisted As a Private in the Civil War and Had a Brilliant Career – Retired in January 1904
WASHINGTON, December 9, 1910 – Army circles were shocked to learn this afternoon that Major General Wallace F. Randolph had committed suicide by shooting himself through the head in his residence on New Hampshire Avenue. No cause is assigned for the act except that ill-health may have undermined his reason. It is known, however, that he was very much depressed by the death of his old friend, General Oliver E. Wood, last Sunday at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore after an operation. He had for some time suffered from a malady similar to that which resulted in General Wood’s death.
Mrs. Randolph heard the report of the shot and found her husband dead on the floor of the bathroom. Physicians who were called said that death had been instantaneous.
General Randolph, who leaves a wife and two daughters, was 60 years old. Since his return to Washington a month ago from a visit to Pennsylvania, his continued depression had alarmed his many friends and, it is believed, led to his suicide.
General Randolph was the first Chief of Artillery of the United States Army, and as the directing head of that arm of the service became one of the best known army officers in this country. He was one of the officers who rose to General rank who began his career as a Private in the Civil War. General Randolph was born in Pennsylvania June 11, 1841, and was just 20 years old when he enlisted as a Private in the Seventeenth Pennsylvania Infantry in April 1861.
For only a few months he remained in that regiment when he was discharged to accept a Second Lieutenancy in the Fifth United States Field Artillery, receiving his commission from President Lincoln. In the battles around Winchester, Virginia, in 1863, he did such gallant service that he was brevetted a Captain, and in 1865, at the close of the war, was brevetted a Major.
In 1863 Lieutenant Randolph’s battery was captured by Confederates and Randolph was seriously wounded. A year later Randolph escaped and made his way through hostile country to the Union lines at Williamsburg, Virginia. After the war General Randolph, then a Captain of Regulars, did service during labor strikes of 1877 in Pennsylvania and in the great Chicago strike of 1894 he commanded the battalion of Federal artillery that was ordered to that city by the Government.
In 1889 he was made Colonel of the First Artillery, and during the Spanish-American War served as a Brigadier General of Volunteers with General Shafter’s army in Cuba. In March 1901, the artillery arm of the service was reorganized and General Randolph was appointed by President McKinley as Chief of the Artillery Corps, which by that time embraces both the Coast Artillery and the Field Artillery, but which has since been divided, the Coast Artillery now forming a separate branch of the Army under Brigadier General Arthur Murray. In January 1904, he was retired with the rank of Major General, and since that time has lived in Washington.
General Randolph was one of the mot popular
officers in the military service. He was mainly instrumental in the
development of the present system of field artillery and for several years
he was in charge of the Artillery Post at Fort Riley, Kansas.
RANDOLPH, KATHERINE J W/O WALLACE F
RANDOLPH, WALLACE F
Photo by Michael Robert Patterson
Photo Courtesy of Ron Williams
Photo Courtsy of Bonnie Windrich Monahan
Page Updated: 5 December 1999 Page Updated: 29 October 2000 Page Updated: 12 May 2001 Updated: 20 August 2001 Updated: 19 January 2002 Updated: 9 August 2003
Updated: 18 September 2004 Updated: 24 September 2009
Photos By M. R. Patterson, 28 June 2003