MILITARY ORDER OF THE LOYAL LEGION (MOLLUS) MEMBERSHIP CERTIFICATE OF BREVET BRIGADIER GENERAL ISAAC DYER, 15th MAINE

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This MOLLUS membership certificate comes from a large archive of material preserved by family of Colonel and Brevet Brigadier General Isaac Dyer (1820-1913,) former commander of the 15th Maine. Dated 30 September 1903 and signed by the Recorder in Chief of the organization, John P. Nicholson, and the Commander in Chief, J. M. Schofield, this bears the society’s seal at lower left and Dyer’s member number at top. It testifies that Dyer was “received” (i.e., elected) in the organization as a Companion of the First Class.

The certificate was signed at the “Commandery-in-Chief” in Philadelphia, where the organization was formed by Union army officers in the wake of Lincoln’s assassination and modeled on the Society of the Cincinnati, which had been founded by officers who had served in the Revolution. The Order was initially composed of three classes. 1) “Original Companions of the First Class:” officers who served in the Civil War or enlisted men who served and were subsequently commissioned in the U.S. Army, along with “Hereditary Companions of the First Class,” eldest direct male descendants of deceased members of the First Class. 2) “Companions of the Second Class,” eldest male descendants of living Original Companions. 3) “Third Class,” honorary civilian members. Qualifications changed slightly over time. Primogeniture was done away with and the Third Class ceased to receive new members after 1890. The Second Class also ceased to be used as a designation as the Original Companions died and the Order came to consist only of descendants.

Dyer was a native of Skowhegan, ME, and joined the 15th Maine as Lt. Colonel in late 1861, became Colonel in September 1862 and commanded it to the end of the war. The regiment took part in Butler’s expedition against New Orleans in early 1862, transferred to West Florida later in the year, and then returned to Louisiana in mid-1863 for Banks’s campaign along the Texas Coast and his Red River Campaign of 1864. In mid-1864, as part of the 19th Corps, they moved north, part of the regiment going to Bermuda Hundred and part to Sheridan in the Shenandoah, where they were reunited in August. Men whose terms had expired were mustered out in January 1865, but the regiment was strong to remain in service and did occupation duty in South Carolina after the war ended. Dyer mustered out in September 1865. He received a brevet to Brigadier General as of March 1865, but reportedly had actual command of a brigade at Martinsburg in late 1864. The regiment had seen action at Fort Esperanza, Sabine Crossroads, Pleasant Hill, Cane River Crossing and Mansura Plains, and taken part in numerous campaigns and expeditions. Dyer was well liked and was very active in the G.A.R. and the regiment’s veteran association.

This has been shrink-wrapped to preserve it for the time being. It would look great framed. Please check our other listings for pieces related to Dyer. The group was published in North South Trader 11.1 (Nov-Dec 1983,) purchased in its entirety by a collector about the same time, and only recently dispersed. (The NST article wrongly reported it had been broken up in 1983.)  [sr]  [ph:L]

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