MOLLUS is one of the oldest veterans/hereditary organizations still in existence in the country. MOLLUS seeks to foster military and naval science, promote allegiance to the United States government, perpetuate the memory of those who fought to preserve the unity and indivisibility of the Republic and to honor the memory and promote the ideals of President Abraham Lincoln.
MOLLUS, in association with the National Park Service, hosts the Lincoln Commemorative Birthday Celebration each February 12 in Washington, DC, LMU participates in that ceremony by placing a wreath at the Lincoln Memorial. LMU is a member of the Lincoln Commemorative Birthday Celebration Committee.
On 15 April 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 20 April 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 (MOLLUS), first appeared in a notice calling a meeting on 31 May 1865 at Independence Hall.
Since its inception, the MOLLUS membership has included nearly 12,000 Civil War officers. At its zenith, MOLLUS counted practically every prominent officer among its ranks. Among them were Generals Ulysses S. Grant, William T. Sherman; Lt. Generals Philip H. Sheridan, George Armstrong Custer, Nelson A. Miles and John M. Schofield; Major General Winfield Scott Hancock, George B. McClellan, Rutherford B. Hayes, David McMurtie 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.
With the eventual aging of the Original Companions, membership within MOLLUS was eventually changed to provide for Hereditary Companions; descendants of eligible officers. Many Original Companions of MOLLUS were also members of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR). Similarly, many Hereditary Companions of MOLLUS are currently also members of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, the legal heir to the GAR. The Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States is composed of a National Commandery-in-Chief, the Provisional Commandery, and eighteen state commanderies.
The Ohio Commandery, created May 3, 1882, has been closely connected with Lincoln Memorial University for nearly a century through a donation of the Civil War commemorative artwork, library and archive items. Their contribution has served as the genus Civil War research collections in the Lincoln Memorial University Carnegie - Vincent Library and in the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum. The rarest of the items received from the Ohio Commandery are cared for by the museum, and are housed in two museum vaults and the Daughters of the Union Reading Room. The MOLLUS Gallery at the museum was dedicated in gratitude to the support received from the Ohio Commandery and serves to interpret portraits of notable, Civil War-era military leaders and public officials.
MOLLLUS Related Inventory Within the Collections of the Abraham Lincoln Library & Museum