Arthur MacArthur was born on June 2, 1845, in Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts. He enlisted in the 24th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry at the outbreak of the U.S. Civil War in 1861 and saw action at Chickamauga, Stones River, Chattanooga, the Atlanta Campaign, and Franklin. MacArthur was later awarded the Medal of Honor for action at Missionary Ridge during the Battle of Chattanooga in 1863 and was also brevetted a Colonel in the Army. He left the Army after the war ended, in June 1865, but returned on February 23, 1866, receiving a commission as a 2Lt in the U.S. 17th Infantry Regiment. Over the next 30 years, MacArthur served at posts in Pennsylvania, New York, the Utah Territory, Louisiana, and New Mexico. While stationed in New Mexico, he participated in the campaign against Geronimo in 1885. In 1889, MacArthur became Assistant Adjutant General of the Army. He served in the Philippines during the Spanish-American War in 1898, and again during the Philippine-American War from late 1898 to 1900. He was made Military Governor of the Philippines in May 1900, and served in that post until July 1901, when he became Commander of the Pacific Division. In 1905, MacArthur was sent to Manchuria to observe the final stages of the Russo-Japanese War and he served as military attache to the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo. He returned to the U.S. and resumed his post as Commander of the Pacific Division in 1906, and retired from the Army on June 2, 1909. Arthur MacArthur died on September 5, 1912, and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery. He was the father of General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, and they are one of only two father-and-sons to have both been awarded the Medal of Honor.
His Medal of Honor Citation reads:
Seized the colors of his regiment at a critical moment and planted them on the captured works on the crest of Missionary Ridge.