Charles Austin Coolidge, Jr. (July 19, 1844 - June 1, 1926) was a United States Army soldier who served in the American Civil War, the American West, Spanish-American War, and in Asia before retiring in 1903 as a brigadier general
Charles Austin Coolidge, Jr. was born on July 19, 1844 in Boston, Massachusetts to Charles Austin Coolidge, Sr. and Anna Maria (Rice) Coolidge. He attended Norwich University in Northfield, Vermont where he received the degree of B.S. Later he received a medical (MD) degree from the Wooster Medical College in Wooster, Ohio. He married Sophie Wager Lowry, daughter of Philip Lowry and Caroline Tilghman of Philadelphia, on 19 November 1867 at Tallahassee, Florida.
On 23 Oct 1862, Coolidge enlisted in the United States Army as a private in the 16th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment. In May 1864 he was appointed Second Lieutenant of the Seventh Infantry Regiment. 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.
After his unit was transferred to the American West in 1870, Lieutenant Coolidge was a member of Captain Brown’s command which opposed Chief Joseph’s Nez Percé Indians at Lolo Pass. He was wounded in this campaign at the Battle of the Big Hole on August 9, 1877. Later when appointed a Captain, he served in Montana, Dakota Territory, Fort Snelling, Fort D.A. Russell (Wyoming), Rock Springs, Wyoming, and Fort Logan near Denver, Colorado.
At the outbreak of the Spanish-American War in April 1898, Coolidge attained the rank of Major in the Seventh Infantry Regiment. He participated in the capture of El Caney on July 1, 1898 and the bombardment of Santiago de Cuba.
The US 9th Infantry Regiment in the Philippines, 1899 The U.S. 9th Infantry Regiment lined up before the Meridian Gate, Forbidden City, Beijing, circa 1901. American Minister Edwin H. Conger and family in foreground.
Coolidge was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel of the Ninth Infantry Regiment on May 16, 1899, and he took part in the engagements at Zapote Bridge and Tarlac, Philippine Islands. In June 1900 the regiment was ordered to China as part of theChina Relief Expedition. He assumed command following the death of Colonel Emerson C. Liscum during the Boxer Rebellionas part of the Allies relief of the Legation at Tianjin from June to July 1900. After the departure of Colonel Robert L. Meade of the Marines from China on July 26, 1900, Lieutenant Colonel Coolidge was placed in command of the American forces in China until the arrival of General Adna Chaffee in early August 1900. Also during the Boxer Rebellion on August 14, 1900 he led the first American force to enter the Forbidden City in Beijing.
In 1901 Coolidge was named Colonel of the Seventh Infantry Regiment, transferred to the Presidio of San Francisco, where he retired August 8, 1903 as a Brigadier General.
Coolidge moved to Detroit shortly after the San Francisco earthquake in August 1906. He had been exceptionally active in work of military veterans' organizations and he was a member of the Loyal Legion, the GAR, Sons of the American Revolution and the Spanish War Society. He was a Councilor of the Boy Scouts of America and a President of the American Philatelic Society. He was admitted to the Detroit Post of the GAR in 1906, elected Junior Commander two years later and named Commander in 1912. Brigadier General Charles Austin Coolidge died June 2, 1926 at Grace Hospital in Detroit, Michigan in his eighty-first year. He had been ill since May 19, 1926 when he suffered a stroke while attending the Lloyd Tilghman monument unveiling atVicksburg, Mississippi. He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.