Charles Magill Conrad

CHARLES MAGILL CONRAD was born in Winchester, Frederick County, Virginia, on 24 December 1804; moved to Mississippi with his family as a boy; moved to Louisiana and was educated under a Dr. Huld at New Orleans; studied law in the office of Abner L. Duncan in that city; fought a duel in which he killed his opponent; was admitted to the bar and began the practice of law in New Orleans, 1828; married M. W. Angella Lewis; was elected to the Louisiana legislature in 1840 and served two terms; was appointed to the U.S. Senate in April 1842 to fill the unexpired term of Alexander Mouton, serving to March 1843; was defeated for reelection in his own right; served as a delegate to the Louisiana state constitutional convention, 1844; served in the U.S. House of Representatives, 1849–1850; resigned to accept appointment as Secretary of War in President Fillmore’s cabinet; served as Secretary of War, 15 August 1850–7 March 1853; recommended that another mounted regiment be raised for Indian service; proposed that local militia, provided with government arms, be formed to meet the Indian threat; urged that the government feed Indians who would abandon predatory habits and cultivate the soil; resumed the practice of law; served as a delegate from New Orleans to the state convention to ratify national and state tickets, 1860; served as a delegate to the Provisional Confederate Congress, February 1861; served as a representative from Louisiana to the Confederate Congress, 1862–1864; lost his estate through confiscation; resumed the practice of law after the Civil War; suffered a seizure while testifying in federal circuit court in New Orleans, 1878; died in New Orleans on 11 February 1878.

The Artist

Daniel Huntington (1816–1906) painted presidents and generals, writers and artists, Astors and Vanderbilts in seven active decades as a working artist. Despite the fact that he achieved prominence in his day, he has been largely ignored by art historians, suggesting that what Richard Muther wrote of the French artist Leon Cogniet (1794–1880) applies in some degree to Huntington: "As an artist he belongs to the list of great men who have paid for overpraise in their lifetime by oblivion after their death." Huntington painted Charles M. Conrad twenty years after his subject’s Army stewardship and five years before Conrad’s death.


Portrait, Charles Magill Conrad

Fillmore Administration
By Daniel Huntington
Oil on canvas, 29½" x 24½", 1873

page created 2 March 2001

Return to Front Matter