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Abbot, Henry Larcom (13 August 1831–01 October 1927), Union soldier and engineer, was born in Beverly, Massachusetts, the son of Joseph Hale Abbot and Fanny Ellingwood. Abbot’s father, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, was an educator and school principal. From 1850 to 1854 Abbot attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, graduating second in his class. As a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Corps of Topographical Engineers, Abbot served first in the Office of Pacific Railroad Explorations and Surveys in Washington, D.C., and then in 1855 in California and Oregon surveying a railroad route....

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Abercromby, James (1706–23 April 1781), British general, was born in Glassaugh, Banffshire, Scotland, the son of Alexander Abercromby, laird of Glassaugh, and Helen Meldrum. Abercromby belonged to a wealthy Scottish family; his father helped him get established in life, first by purchasing him a position in the British army, then by helping him gain the posts of commissioner of supply and justice of the peace in Banffshire. His family connections were also important in his securing election to parliament in 1734 and maintaining the seat over the years. Because of his political and military importance in his homeland, throughout his adult life he held the posts of King’s Painter in Scotland and the governorship of Stirling Castle. He married Mary Duff, a third cousin, and had two children....

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Abert, John James (17 September 1788–27 January 1863), army engineer, was born in Frederick City, Maryland, the son of John Abert and Margarita Meng. His father is said to have emigrated to America as a soldier with the Comte de Rochambeau in 1780. He entered the fledgling U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, in 1808, graduating in 1811. He married Ellen Matlack Stretch in 1812; they had six children. After resigning from the army, Abert was admitted to the District of Columbia bar in 1813 and the Ohio bar in 1814. Abert served his country as a private soldier in the District of Columbia Militia during the War of 1812, fighting in such engagements as the battle of Bladensburg, Maryland, on 24 August 1814....

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Creighton W. Abrams [left to right] President Lyndon Johnson and Creighton W. Abrams (1968) at a White House briefing on the war in Vietnam, 1968. Courtesy of the National Archives (NWDNS-306-PSA-68[3528]).

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Abrams, Creighton Williams, Jr. (15 September 1914–04 September 1974), army officer, was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, the son of Creighton W. Abrams, a railway repairman, and Nellie Randall. At the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Abrams excelled in horsemanship, played football, and attained a mediocre academic record, finishing 185th in a class of 276. He graduated in 1936 and was commissioned a second lieutenant of cavalry. That same year he married Julia Harvey, with whom he would have six children....

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Adair, John (09 January 1757–19 May 1840), soldier, politician, and governor of Kentucky, was born in Chester County, South Carolina, the son of Baron William Adair and Mary Moore. Little is known about his childhood. As a young man, he fought in the revolutionary war and was captured by the British. During his imprisonment he suffered many cruelties, which apparently did little to deter him from becoming a career soldier. After the war Adair traveled west, eventually settling in Mercer County, Kentucky, in 1786. In 1784 he had married Katherine Palmer; they had twelve children....

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Adams, Charles (19 December 1845–19 August 1895), soldier and diplomat, was born Karl Adam Schwanbeck in Anclam, Pomerania, Germany, the son of Karl Heinrich Schwanbeck, a cabinetmaker, and Maria J. Markman. Adams was educated at the Gymnasium in Anclam and graduated with very high marks, especially in Greek, Hebrew, and Latin. Soon after his graduation in 1862, he moved to the United States. He had not been in the New World long before he enlisted in the Union army, serving in the Sixth Massachusetts Regiment. He fought in the Civil War for the remainder of the conflict and was wounded two times....

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Ainsworth, Fred Crayton (11 September 1852–05 June 1934), military surgeon and adjutant general, was born in Woodstock, Vermont, the son of Crayton Ainsworth, a modestly prosperous businessman and machinist, and Harriet Carroll, a seamstress and Woman’s Christian Temperance Union activist.

During 1869 and 1870 Ainsworth attended but did not graduate from Dartmouth College. Upon returning to Woodstock, he studied medicine for three years, then enrolled in the medical school of the City University of New York. He graduated with honors in 1874, served a brief residency on the Bellevue Hospital medical staff, and then won an appointment as an assistant surgeon in the Medical Department of the U.S. Army. In November 1874 he reported to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point for his first army assignment as a surgeon....

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Alden, James (31 March 1810–06 February 1877), naval officer, was born in Portland, Maine (then part of Massachusetts), the son of James Alden, a ship owner, and Elizabeth Tate. Nothing is known of his early life or education, and no information is available about his marriage or children, if any....

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Alexander, Edward Porter (26 May 1835–28 April 1910), Confederate soldier and author, was born in Washington, Georgia, the son of Adam Leopold Alexander, a planter and banker, and Sarah Hillhouse Gilbert. Educated by tutors in his wealthy family’s household, Alexander entered the U.S. Military Academy in 1853 and graduated third in the class of 1857. He was commissioned a brevet second lieutenant of engineers on 1 July 1857 and was promoted to second lieutenant on 10 October 1858. Marked from the first as a promising officer, he taught at West Point immediately upon graduation, accompanied ...