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        Robert Hall Chilton was born in Loudon County of Virginia on Feb. 25, 1815. He graduated 48th in the 57 member class of 1837 of West Point. Posted to a dragoon unit, he served in Kansas, Texas, and Indian Territory. "During the Mexican War he won the brevet of a major at the battle of Buena Vista, where he carried to safety the wounded Jefferson Davis, then a colonel of Mississippi volunteers. From 1854 until the Civil War he was a paymaster in Washington, DC, New York, Michigan [Detroit], and Texas.

      Following Fort Sumter, he resigned his commission and joined the Confederate Army as an adjutant general with the rank of lieutenant colonel. He served under his friend, Robert E. Lee until after Gettysburg when he became inspector general of Lee's army operating out of Richmond.

      In October 1862, he was appointed brigadier general, but his nomination was at first rejected by the Confederate Congress. His clashes with some field commanders, most notably John B. Magruder, were the cause. He was finally appointed in early 1864. Whether his appointment was also held up by his role in the Lost Dispatch is uncertain. The Confederates would not have known of the Lost Dispatch at the time of his October 1862 appointment.

      His only combat command occurred in May 1864 when he led a Virginia infantry regiment and cavalry into battle on the 10th and succeeded in routing a Union column along the Richmond & Petersburg railroad. He then returned to his inspector general post where he remained until the war's end.

      Following the war, he became president of a manufacturing company in Columbus, Georgia. He died in Columbus on February 18, 1879.

The Lost Order Mystery Synopsis
The Strange Case of Robert Hall Chilton
A Short Biography of Robert Hall Chilton
Chilton's Suspicious Gaffes
The Text of Special Orders 191
The Lost Order Mystery Home Page

1   Historical Times Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Civil War, Patricia L. Faust, editor, Harper & Row, New York, 1986.

General Williams' unsung hero status is no better exemplified than by this extensive and generally well assembled work. Alarmingly, he is omitted! while a host of lesser characters are given entries and even though he is mentioned in numerous entries.

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Photo of Robert Hall Chilton from Library of Congress colorized by Lowell Boileau

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Created and designed by Lowell Boileau