Waters, Louis H.

Born: 1827-12-22 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Died: 1916-07-27 Kansas City, Missouri

Flourished: Macomb, Illinois

Alternate name: Watters

Louis H. Waters was a lawyer, teacher, state legislator, prosecuting attorney, newspaper editor, and U.S. Army officer. In 1830, Waters moved with his parents from his native Philadelphia to Kentucky. In the spring of 1838, the family emigrated to Fort Madison, Wisconsin Territory, where Waters read law. He earned admission to the bar in 1848, and in 1849, Waters moved to Macomb, Illinois, where he opened a law practice. For the first two years in Macomb, Waters devoted most of this time to teaching school, practicing law when he had the opportunity. In March 1850, Waters married Cordelia T. Pearson, with whom he had four children. In 1854, he ran a successful campaign on the fusion Whig/Temperance ticket to represent McDonough County in the Illinois House of Representatives, serving in that body from January to February 1855. In the spring of 1855, Waters became editor of The Macomb Journal. Upon the demise of the Whig Party, Waters shifted his allegiance to the Republican Party. In 1858, Governor William H. Bissell appointed Waters prosecuting attorney of the Fifth Illinois Judicial Circuit, a position he held until 1860. In 1860, he was practicing law in Macomb and owned real property valued at $4,000 and had a personal estate of $300. President Abraham Lincoln offered Waters the position of U.S. attorney for the Nebraska Territory, but Waters, upon the commencement of the Civil War, rejected this offer and volunteered for military service, receiving a commission as captain with the Twenty-Eighth Illinois Infantry Regiment. In August 1861, he received a commission as lieutenant colonel of the regiment. In August 1862, he resigned his commission with the Twenty-Eighth Regiment and returned to Macomb, where he raised the Eighty-Fourth Illinois Regiment. Waters became colonel of this regiment, which was mustered into service in September 1862. He served with his regiment in the Army of the Cumberland for the remainder of the war, leading the regiment in the battles of Perryville, Stones River, Chickamauga, Franklin, and other engagements. He had a horse shot out from under him at Stones River and was severely wounded at Franklin. In June 1865, the War Department breveted Waters to brigadier general for meritorious service. Mustering out with his unit at the close of the war, Waters returned to Macomb, where he practiced law for a few years before moving to Carrollton, Missouri. Waters was a longtime member of the Freemasons.

W. L. Webb, Battles and Biographies of Missourians or the Civil War Period of Our State (Kansas City, MO: Hudson-Kimberly, 1900), 383-85; S. J. Clarke, History of McDonough County Illinois (Springfield, IL: D. W. Lusk, 1878), 160, 200, 261, 306, 395; History of McDonough County, Illinois (Springfield, IL: Continental Historical, 1885), 391-92; Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, Hancock County, 11 March 1850, Illinois State Archives, Springfield, IL; Roger D. Hunt and Jack R. Brown, Brevet Brigadier Generals in Blue (Gaithersburg, MD: Olde Soldier Books, 1990), 654; John Clayton, comp., The Illinois Fact Book and Historical Almanac, 1673-1968 (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1970), 220; U.S. Census Office, Eighth Census of the United States (1860), Macomb, McDonough County, IL, 171; Gravestone, Mount Washington Cemetery, Independence, MO.