Henry Stanley: Troublemaking Civil War Deserter and Explorer

One of the more unusual troublemakers discussed in my book, Civil War Trailblazers and Troublemakers, is Henry Stanley.  Most people know that he uttered those words, “Dr. Livingstone, I presume” in central Africa.  Most don’t know that he was a Civil War  soldier and sailor on both sides!  Here are some excerpts from the book, available at   https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00HV4SSWK

“Before he met Dr. Livingstone in 1871 in Africa and allegedly uttered those timeless words, “Dr. Livingstone, I presume,” Henry Morton Stanley had established an unenviable record in the United States during the Civil War.  Stanley joined the Confederate army and fought at the Battle of Shiloh, after which he was taken prisoner. While in a Union prison,  he agreed to become a “Galvanized Yankee,” joining the Union army.  Not long afterward  he deserted,  and after service on merchant ships, joined the Union navy.  He deserted from the Navy in early 1865.  As a result, he was not only one of the few individuals to have served in both armies and the Union navy, but also to have done so as a non-citizen!

After his final desertion, Stanley launched a successful career as a trailblazing journalist and explorer.  His trip to find Livingstone was only one of his many adventures.  Those included searching for the source of the Nile and claiming what would become the Belgian Congo for the King of Belgium.  He was knighted by Queen Victoria in 1899 for his service to the British Empire.”

Below is an image of the meeting between Stanley and Livingstone.  Note that Stanley’s assistant is holding an American flag!


Author: geneofva

Author of "Citizen-General: Jacob Dolson Cox and the Civil War Era," and of seven more Civil War books -- with more to come!!

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