Charles A. Coolidge – Brigadier General, United States Army

Death Occurs in Detroit
He Was Descendant of One of President’s Ancestors
Was In Army Forty Years
During Boxer Uprising He was First American to Enter Peking

Wounded In Indian CampaignDETROIT, Michigan, June 2, 1926 – Brigadier General Charles Austin Coolidge, retired, veteran of many campaigns, died Tuesday afternoon in Grace Hospital.  He was in his eighty-first year.  He had been ill since May 19, when he suffered a stroke while attending a monument unveiling at Vicksburg, Mississippi.

Full military services will be held at 11 o’clock tomorrow morning in Christ Episcopal Church.  Pall bearers will be soldiers from Fort Wayne, Detroit.  The body will lie in state until Thursday morning.  Following the church service the body will be sent to Washington for burial in Arlington National Cemetery on Friday afternoon.

General Coolidge leaves his wife, Mrs. Sophie W. Coolidge of Detroit, and three sisters, Mrs. Henry P. Hoppin of Staten Island, New York; Mrs. J. E. Patterson, Pasadena, California; and Mrs. A. N. Lawrence, New York City.

Since coming to Detroit in August 1906, he had been exceptionally active in work of veteran military organizations and was widely known throughout this city and the State.  He was a member of the Loyal Legion, the G. A. R., Sons of the American Revolution and Spanish War Society.  He was a Councilor of the Boy Scouts of America and a Past President of the American Philatelic Society.  He was admitted to the Detroit Post of the G. A. R. in 1906, elected Junior Commander two years later and named Commander in 1912.

Born in Boston in 1844, he entered the United States Army as a Private in the Sixteenth Infantry.  In May of 1864 he was appointed Second Lieutenant of the Seventh Infantry.  The Seventh at that time was on duty in New York, having just come from Gettysburg for the draft riots.  Following a month of service at City Point, Virginia, the regiment remained at New York harbor until the end of the war.

The regiment was then sent to Florida for the next five years, where General Coolidge married Miss Sophie Wagner Lowrey of Philadelphia.

After the unit was transferred to the West, Lieutenant Coolidge was a member of Captain Brown’s command which opposed Chief Joseph’s Nez Perces Indians in Lola Pass.  He was wounded in this campaign.  When appointed a Captain, he served in Montana, Dakota, Fort Snelling, Fort Russell, Rock Springs, Wyoming, and Fort Logan near Denver.

At the outbreak of the Spanish-American War, Coolidge attained the rank of Major in the Seventh Infantry.  He participated in the capture of El Caney and the bombardment of Santiago.  He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel of the Ninth Infantry May 16, 1898, and took part in the engagements at Tarlac, Philippine Islands, and the battles of Lendalon.  In June of 1900 the regiment was ordered to China where he took command following the death of Colonel Liscom.

After the departure of Colonel Meade of the Marines, Lieutenant Colonel Coolidge was in command of the Allied forces until the arrival of General Chaffee.  He also commanded the Ninth on the memorable march of the Allies from Tien-Tsin for the relief of the Legation.

In 1901 he was named Colonel of the Seventh Infantry, transferred to the Presidio, San Francisco, and retired August 8, 1903 as a Brigadier General.  He came to Detroit shortly after the San Francisco earthquake.

General Coolidge was the son of Charles and Anna Maria Rice Coolidge.  He was a direct descendant of John Coolidge of Watertown, Massachusetts, of whom President Coolidge is also a descendant.  He attended the Norwich, Vermont, University, where he received the degree of B.S.  Later he received the degree of M.D. from the Wooster Medical College in Cleveland.

During the Boxer outrages in 1900 he was the first American to enter the forbidden city of Peking.


  • DATE OF DEATH: 01/26/1934

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