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|Last Updated: 31 May 2017 by #0197|
Alfred Cecil "FRED" Alford
1875 KS - 1899 Philippines
Photo from The Fighting Twentieth
History and Official Souvenir of the Twentieth Kansas Regiment
W.Y. Morgan, Topeka, KS, 1899, page 56
His ALFORD lineage:
Alfred Cecil 1875 KS1
Daniel Stillman 1848 CT2
Alfred A. 1812 CT3
Arba 1768 CT4
Nathaniel 1737 CT5
Nathaniel 1698 CT6
Josiah 1649 CT7
Benedict 1619 England8
Thomas 1598 England9
Known Descendants of:
Benedict Alford8 and Joan Newton
Thomas Alford9, b. about 1598 England
His father's (Daniel Stillman Alford2) biography
(For more information about this family, see AAFA’s published genealogies.)
LIEUT. ALFRED C. ALFORD
PORTRAIT AND BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD OF LEAVENWORTH, DOUGLAS AND FRANKLIN COUNTIES, KANSAS
Chapman Publishing Company, Chicago, 1899
An unusual combination of circumstances seems to mark Lieut. Alfred C. Alford as the heroic figure of the Twentieth Kansas; and the splendid fighting spirit of this regiment was doubtless first aroused by the tragic death of this officer, so beloved and so young, the youngest, indeed, of his rank in the regiment, and the first to fall in battle. It is certain that his company B, from the date of his death, was second to none in distinguished deeds of valor.
Alfred Cecil Alford was by birth and education an ideal young Kansan. His grandfather came out from New England in the first party that founded Lawrence to make Kansas a free state; and from earliest colonial days his ancestors, though a peaceful, God-fearing race, have never failed to furnish volunteers for every war in which the country has been engaged. An uncle, also named Alfred Cecil Alford, fell in the battle of Winchester during the Civil war of a similar wound and at nearly the same age.
Lieutenant Alford was born in Lawrence in January, 1875, and was educated in the public schools, graduating from the department of arts and later from the department of law in the State University at the age of twenty-two. Chancellor Snow of the University said at the funeral exercises of Lieutenant Alford that "no more perfect specimen of young manhood had ever gone forth from the University." Although a lover of books and of music he was also possessed of excellent business ability; with a keen sense of humor, he was profoundly serious; although first of all a student, he was fond of athletic sports and social relaxation; with deep convictions of truth and duty, he was to a marked degree broadminded and tolerant. Indeed, he may be said to have been an all-round man.
Immediately after graduation young Alford entered into partnership with his father in the practice of law, with the brightest prospects for a successful business career, but before the first year of this partnership had expired war was declared with Spain. Holding a second lieutenant’s commission in the National Guards, with the advantage of five years’ drill in that organization, he felt that it was his duty to go to the front with his company. "No one can realize," he wrote to a friend, "how hard it was for me to leave just when I did, for this war will leave me ju.st where it found me as far as busine.ss is concerned. I consider it only a temporary matter, an interruption of my natural life."
In August, following his enlistment, Lieutenant Alford was promoted to first lieutenant and transferred to Company B, in which company he was the acting captain, and the only commissioned officer for five months before his death, the captain and second lieutenant being detailed for other duties.
Colonel Funston wrote of him, "He was one of the first officers in the regiment to receive promotion on my recommendation, on account of his devotion to duty, his earnestness, and his exemplary conduct." "As for myself," wrote the young officer to Miss Vesta McCurdy, his fiancee, "I intend to give my country no half-hearted service; until the war is over she has the very best I am capable of; this is a time when every effort is being made to get troops into shape, and I feel that I owe it to my country to tdo the best I can."
He took up his new duties with earnestness and efficiency, improving the diet and consequent health of his men, and laboring for better drill, discipline and moral character in the company. The men generously responded to his efforts and their superior officers testify to the improved efficiency of Company B under his command. As one of the enlisted men wrote, "Lieutenant Alford endeared himself to us by many kind acts. He was strict in discipline, but always ready, whenever possible, to show brotherly kindness to his men." When the supreme test came the young commander did not flinch in the face of danger, and his men followed him into battle, with loyal devotion and courage.
Chaplain Cressy, of the Thirteenth Minnesota Volunteers, in an address delivered on the first Decoration Day observed at Manila, said among other things, "That the mortal remains of these men rest here is one evidence of their bravery. They went where duty called them. This bravery is wonderfully exemplified in Lieutenant Alford, of the Twentieth Kansas. He was leading his company in an impetuous charge, and just after saying to his men, ‘move along, but more steady,’ received a mortal wound. And after he had fallen the men kept moving on until victory came."
Kansas University has sent many students to the Spanish-American war, including General Funston, Colonel Metcalf, Lieutenant-Colonel Little, several captains and lieutenants, non-commissioned officers and enlisted men of the Twentieth Kansas, as well as others who were assigned to duty in Cuba; yet of all this number, but this one has fallen from wounds or disease, and a tablet will be placed in the hall of the university to his memory, with the inscription thereon, "Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori."
Source: JAYHAWKER YEARBOOK, University of Kansas, Class of 1899, Page 81
Alfred Cecil Alford was born in Lawrence about twenty-four years ago. He came of good stock, his ancestors having been soldiers in the Revolution, and the uncle after whom he was named, Alfred Cecil, having been killed in one of the early battles of the Rebellion. His grandfather, Joseph Savage, came to Kansas from Vermont, in answer to the call of freedom for Kansas. Fred went through the whole course in our public schools, and then entered the University, from which he graduated both in the Literary and Law Departments. He was always a good student, and stood well in all his classes. He was particularly fond of American history, and the books he chose for light reading during his voyage to the Philippines were four volumes of American history, a political history of Europe, and a work on international law. His interest in military affairs dates back several years. When he joined the _____ Guards, he made a special study of military tactics, and made himself familiar with all the requirements of the manual. When the war with Spain broke out, he felt that his experience in military matters ought to be made of service to his country. He therefore enlisted at the first call for troops. He was appointed second lieutenant of Company H in The Kansas Twentieth. Later he was promoted to be first lieutenant and put in command of Company B. He held this position at the time of his death. He was very thorough in his discipline, and very thoughtful of his men. His company was one of the best drilled in the regiment. His men were very strongly attached to him, and would follow him anywhere he chose to lead them. When the Philippinos threatened to attack Manila, the alarm was _____ about midnight, February 4th Alford had charge of the guard. But his men were so eager to be led out to the fighting-line that he walked three miles to ask permission to lead them out. Three days later, February 7th, he was leading a charge against the enemy and was within sixty feet of the muzzles of the enemy’s guns. He had just given the order. "Keep going, boys, but steady." when a fragment of a bullet struck him in the eye and he fell, and instantly died. As he fell he reached his hand to his breast pocket and seized his Testament, which he always carried there, and died with a smile on his face. Lieutenant Alford was so true in all his purposes, so faithful in all his work, and so kindly in all relations, that we may surely say of him, as one said of old: "He has fought the good fight, he has finished the course, he has kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for him a crown of righteousness."