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Bluford Wilson
Bluford Wilson.jpg
Solicitor of the United States Treasury
In office
Preceded by E. C. Banfield
Succeeded by George F. Talbot
United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois
In office
Preceded by John E. Rosette
Succeeded by John P. Van Dorston
Personal details
Born (1841-11-30)November 30, 1841
Shawneetown, Illinois, US
Died July 15, 1924(1924-07-15) (aged 82)
Springfield, Illinois, US
Resting place Oak Ridge Cemetery, Springfield, Illinois
Political party Republican
Spouse Alice Warren Mather (m. 1865)
Relations James H. Wilson (Brother)
Children 5 (Including Arthur H. Wilson)
Education McKendree College
University of Michigan Law School
Profession Attorney
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service Union Army
Illinois Militia
Years of service 1862-1865 (Army)
1898 (Militia)
Rank Major (Army)
Colonel (Militia)
Unit 120th Illinois Volunteer Infantry (Army)
Commands Wilson's Provisional Regiment (Militia)
Battles/wars American Civil War
Spanish–American War

Bluford Wilson (November 30, 1841 – July 15, 1924) was a Union Army officer in the Civil War and a government official who served as Solicitor of the United States Treasury.

Early life

Bluford Wilson was born near Shawneetown, Illinois on November 30, 1841. He studied at McKendree College and the University of Michigan Law School before enlisting for the American Civil War.

Military career

Wilson joined the 120th Illinois Volunteer Infantry. He soon received an officer's commission and appointment as regimental adjutant. He later served on several other staffs, including that of the XIII Corps, taking part in numerous battles and campaigns, including Champion Hill, Black River and the Siege of Vicksburg, and the Red River Campaign. He was discharged with the rank of major at the end of the war.

For the rest of his life Wilson was active in the Grand Army of the Republic and the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States.

Legal career

Wilson resumed studying law at the University of Michigan Law School, graduated in 1866, and was admitted to the bar in 1867.

A Republican, Wilson was appointed United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois in 1869.

In 1874 Wilson received appointment as Solicitor of the Treasury, which he held until 1876.

Wilson's rise through the ranks of federal appointed office were based in part on his family's relationship with President Ulysses S. Grant. Bluford Wilson's brother Major General James H. Wilson served on Grant's staff and as one of Grant's subordinate commanders during the Civil War.

As Solicitor Wilson played a key role in exposing the Whiskey Ring. He conducted an investigation into the frauds, reported his findings to his superiors, and attempted through his brother James to warn President Grant. When Grant moved to protect members of his administration and prevent prosecutions, Wilson resigned.

Later life

After leaving government service Wilson settled in Springfield, Illinois, where he practiced law and became involved in the construction and management of several railroads.

During the Spanish–American War Wilson offered his services; the governor authorized him to raise a regiment and he was commissioned a Colonel in the Illinois militia, but the war ended before his regiment could see active service.

Death and burial

Wilson died in Springfield on July 15, 1924. He was buried at Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield.


In 1865 Wilson married Alice Warren Mather of Louisville, Kentucky, and they were the parents of five children. Harry died in infancy. Jessie was the wife of Phillip Barton Warren. Lucy was the wife of Ralph Vance Dickerman. Bluford died during his senior year at Yale University. Arthur graduated from West Point in 1904, attained the rank of Colonel during a career that spanned the years 1904 to 1942, and received the Medal of Honor during the Philippine Insurrection.

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