Welcome to the World Wide Web home of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States (MOLLUS). On April 15, 1865, as word of President Abraham Lincoln's death spread throughout the country, three Union Army officer friends met in Philadelphia to discuss the tragic news. Rumors from Washington of a conspiracy to destroy the Federal government by assassination of its leaders prompted the three officers to form an organization that could help thwart future threats to the national government.
A mass meeting of Philadelphia veterans was held on April 20, 1865 to pledge renewed allegiance to the Union and to plan for participation in the funeral arrangements for the President. The Philadelphia officers, who served as an honor guard for President Lincoln's funeral cortege, met again after the funeral was over to establish a permanent organization of officers and former officers patterned after the Society of Cincinnati established after the Revolutionary War. The name they chose, the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States, first appeared in a notice calling a meeting on May 31, 1865 at Independence Hall.
Since its inception, the MOLLUS membership has included nearly 12,000 Civil War officers. At its zenith, the MOLLUS counted practically every prominent officer among its ranks. Among them were Generals Ulysses S. Grant, William T. Sherman; Lt. Generals Philip H. Sheridan, Nelson A. Miles and John M. Schofield; Major General Winfield Scott Hancock, George B. McClellan, Rutherford B. Hayes, George Armstrong Custer, David McMurtrie Gregg and Grenville M. Dodge; Admiral David G. Farragut; Rear Admirals Bancroft Gherardi and George W. Melville. In addition to Ulysses S. Grant and Rutherford B. Hayes, Original Companions Chester A. Arthur, Benjamin Harrison and William McKinley served as Presidents of the United States.