Dr. Livingstone’s son dies in Salisbury prison riot

On this day in 1864: Robert Moffat Livingstone, eldest son of missionary Dr. David Livingstone, is fatally injured in a riot at the Confederate prison at Salisbury.

Young Livingstone, born in Africa and reared in Scotland, enlisted with a New Hampshire regiment using a false age (21, instead of 18) and name (Rupert Vincent).

In a letter to his father he cryptically referred to the alias as a means to avoid “further dishonoring” the family name. He expressed regret at having joined the Army. “I have never hurt anyone knowingly in battle,” he said, “having always fired high.” He was captured at the battle of New Market Road in Virginia and taken to Salisbury.

A friend will later quote Dr. Livingstone as saying, “I am proud of the boy, and if I had been there, I should have gone to fight for the North myself.”

Robert Livingstone is likely buried in a mass grave in what is now Salisbury National Cemetery.

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