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Bloomfield, Joseph (18 October 1753–08 October 1823), lawyer, soldier, and politician, was born in Woodbridge, New Jersey, the son of Moses Bloomfield, a physician, and Sarah Ogden. The family was one of the most prominent in colonial New Jersey. His father had received a first-rate medical education in Edinburgh, Scotland, and had a thriving practice in Middlesex County by the time Joseph was born. Joseph’s mother was a member of a wealthy and influential family of Elizabethtown, which further assured Joseph’s upper-class pedigree. His education and choice of occupation were in line with his social standing. While in his early teens, he attended the Reverend Enoch Green’s classical academy in Deerfield, Cumberland County, at the opposite end of the province from Woodbridge. Upon graduation, Bloomfield returned to East Jersey, determined to be a lawyer. He entered the profession at the top, studying in Perth Amboy with Cortlandt Skinner, attorney general of New Jersey, and was admitted to the bar in November 1774. Setting up practice in Bridgeton, Cumberland County, he soon became known and respected in all of New Jersey’s southern counties. The future seemed secure, had not the American Revolution intervened....

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Chamberlain, Joshua Lawrence (08 September 1828–24 February 1914), soldier, politician, and educator, was born in Brewer, Maine, the son of Joshua Chamberlain, a farmer and shipbuilder, and Sarah Dupee Brastow. After attending a military academy in Ellsworth, Chamberlain entered Bowdoin College in 1848, graduating in 1852. Three years later, after graduating from the Bangor Theological Seminary, he joined Bowdoin’s faculty and taught a broad range of subjects, including logic, natural theology, rhetoric, oratory, and modern languages. In 1855 he married Frances Caroline Adams; of the couple’s five children, three survived to adulthood....

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Joshua L. Chamberlain. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-B8172-1859).

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Churchill, Thomas James (10 March 1824–14 May 1905), soldier and politician, was born near Louisville in Jefferson County, Kentucky, the son of Samuel Churchill and Abby Oldham, farmers. After graduating from St. Mary’s College in Bardstown in 1844, Churchill attended Transylvania University and studied law. He joined the First Kentucky Mounted Riflemen Regiment as a lieutenant at the beginning of the Mexican War. Enemy cavalrymen captured Churchill in January 1847, and he remained a prisoner in the city of Mexico until the war had almost ended. Churchill purchased a plantation near Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1848 and began raising cotton. In 1849 he married Ann Sevier; they had four children. He received an appointment as postmaster at Little Rock in 1857....

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Colquitt, Alfred Holt (20 April 1824–26 March 1894), Confederate military officer and politician, was born in Walton County, Georgia, the son of Walter T. Colquitt, an attorney and later a judge, congressman, and U.S. senator, and Nancy Lane. Graduating from Princeton University in 1844, Colquitt studied law and was admitted to the bar in Georgia in 1846....

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Alfred H. Colquitt. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-113057).

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Cox, Jacob Dolson (27 October 1828–08 August 1900), Union general and Republican political figure, was born in Montreal, Canada, the son of Jacob Dolson Cox, Sr. (whose family name was originally Koch), a New York builder, and Thedia Redelia Kenyon. Cox’s family had moved to Montreal, where his father supervised construction of the Basilica of Notre Dame; they returned to New York City shortly after Jacob’s birth. The family’s financial reverses in the wake of the depression of 1837 forced young Cox to curtail his formal education. He clerked for New York City lawyers and bankers while pursuing a rigorous course of self-study, which by 1846 prepared him to enter Oberlin College. Cox was drawn to Oberlin by Professor (soon to be President) ...

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Davie, William Richardson (20 June 1756–05 November 1820), statesman and soldier, was born in Egremont, Cumberlandshire, England, the son of Archibald Davie, a manufacturer of damask fabric, and Mary Richardson. In 1763 he was brought by his father to Waxhaw, South Carolina, to be adopted by his mother’s brother, the Reverend William Richardson, a Presbyterian clergyman. He was educated at an academy in Charlotte, North Carolina—Queen’s Museum College. He then studied at Princeton, from which he graduated in 1776 with first honors. He subsequently studied law in Salisbury, North Carolina. Although he was licensed to practice law in 1780, his service in the revolutionary war deferred his becoming a jurist until 1782....

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Dix, John Adams (24 July 1798–21 April 1879), politician and general, was born in Boscawen, New Hampshire, the son of Timothy Dix, a merchant, and Abigail Wilkins. He received a varied liberal education, including a year at Phillips Exeter Academy and fifteen months at the College of Montreal. At age fourteen, while being tutored in Boston, Dix pleaded to join the army to defend the nation in the War of 1812. His father, a major, helped him to obtain a commission, and he served in battles at Chrysler’s Field (1813) and Lundy’s Lane (1814). His father’s death during the war caused Dix to stay in the army to help support his stepmother and siblings. Serving as an aide to Major General ...

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John Adams Dix. Daguerreotype from the studio of Mathew B. Brady. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-109924).