Milton S. Littlefield

Milton Smith Littlefield (July 19, 1830 – March 7, 1899) was an American businessman dubbed the "Prince of the Carpetbaggers" during the Reconstruction Era. He also served as a Union Army officer during the American Civil War.[1]

Milton Smith Littlefield
Born(1830-07-19)July 19, 1830
Ellisburgh, New York, U.S.
DiedMarch 7, 1899(1899-03-07) (aged 68)
New York City
  • United States of America
  • Union
Years of service1861–1866
Commands held
Battles/warsAmerican Civil War
Other workTeacher, lawyer, businessman


He was born on July 19, 1830, in Ellisburgh, New York. The corruption scandal was brought forth after George W. Swepson and Littlefield defrauded the state by $4 million, after the North Carolina Legislature of granted $27.8 million in Railroad bonds.[2][3] Along with Swepson, Littlefield was indicted for the fraud but was never convicted.[3]

When the American Civil War broke out in 1861 Littlefield organized a company of infantry, which became Company F of the 14th Illinois Infantry, and was elected as its captain. After serving in the west at Shiloh and Corinth, Littlefield was made Lieutenant Colonel of the new 14th Illinois Cavalry. In 1863 he was sent to the South, briefly commanded the 54th Massachusetts Infantry, a colored unit, and was ordered to recruit black troops. Littlefield raised the 4th South Carolina Infantry(African Descent); whose Colonel he became. When the United States Colored Troops were organized his regiment became the 21st USCT Infantry. On November 26, 1864, Littlefield was given a brevet promotion to brigadier general of Volunteers. He served as brigade and district commander and was mustered out on April 25, 1866. He died on March 7, 1899.[4]

Further casesEdit

According to a court record filed on March 29, 1886, on March 18, 1872, John H. Miller sued Littlefield in Duval County, Florida over a debt of fifty thousand dollars.[5] His lust for profiteering was exhibited in his Civil War service, having charge of recruitment of black troops in the Department of the South, he sought to have freedmen pressed into service and appropriated the enlistment bounty many of these 'recruits' were due. Allegedly he used these misappropriations to fund these financial schemes.

There were also related findings with the Pensacola, Florida Railroad lines, as well as suits involving Calvin Littlefield, who filed to have the bonds given over to him.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Scoundrel or Scapegoat?". Time magazine. July 14, 1958. Archived from the original on November 6, 2012. Retrieved 2010-12-20. This contradictory, little-known figure of U.S. history was Union General Milton Smith Littlefield. ... The notorious Milton began his career innocuously enough. Born in upstate New York on July 19, 1830, he taught school in Michigan, later practiced law in Illinois. ... Retreating to New York City, the general bore his last years of genteel poverty lightly. Natty and erect to the day of his death in 1899, the aging Milton Littlefield invariably wore a flower in his lapel.
  2. ^ "The Case Of Milton S. Littlefield". New York Times. July 29, 1879. Retrieved 2010-12-20. The Governor of North Carolina in 1878 made a requisition upon Gov. Drew, of Florida, for the surrender of Milton S. Littlefield, which was complied with, and the warrant for his surrender issued.
  3. ^ a b "George William Swepson (1819-1883)". Caswell County Historical Association. November 13, 2006. Retrieved 2010-12-20. George W. Swepson became one of the chief Scalawags of the Reconstruction period. His machinations in railroad bonds contributed in large measure to the financial ruin of the state. He and his carpetbagger friend, Milton S. Littlefield . . . displayed open contempt for constitutional restrictions. As president of a railroad Swepson openly bought votes in elections, and he gave away railroad stock that had been secured by state bond issues. His business connections were vast and involved.
  4. ^ Eicher, John H. and David J. (2001). Civil War High Commands. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. p. 350. ISBN 0-8047-3641-3.
  5. ^ " Littlefield case record". Archived from the original on 2012-03-25. Retrieved 2010-12-04.

External linksEdit