Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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CHETLAIN, Augustus Louis, soldier, born in St. Louis, Missouri, 26 December, 1824. His parents, of French Huguenot stock, immigrated from Neufchatel, Switzerland, in 1823, and were members of the Red River colony. He received a common-school education, became a merchant in Galena, and was the first volunteer at a meeting held in response to the president's call after the bombardment of Fort Sumter in 1861. He was chosen captain of the company when General (then Captain) Grant declined, and on 16 April, 1862, was commissioned lieutenant colonel of the 12th Illinois infantry. He was in command at Smithland, Kentucky, from September, 1861, till January, 1862, and then participated in General Smith's campaign on the Tennessee River to Fort Henry, and led his regiment at Fort Donelson. He was engaged at Shiloh, distinguishing himself at Corinth, being left in command of that post until May, 186;I, and while there organized the first colored regiment raised in the west. On 13 December, 1863, he was promoted brigadier-general, placed in charge of the organization of colored troops in Tennessee, and afterward in Kentucky, and by 1 January, 1864, had raised a force of 17,000 men, for which service he was brevetted major general. From January to October, 1865, he commanded the post of Memphis, and then the district of Talladega, Alabama, until 5 February, 1866, when he was mustered out of service. He was assessor of internal revenue for the district of Utah in 1867-'9, then United States consul at Brussels, and, after his return to the United States in 1872, established himself in Chicago as a banker and stock-broker. In September, 1886, General Chetlain delivered the annual address before the society of the Army of the Tennessee, at Rock Island, Illinois
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