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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 ...

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John André. A rendering of his capture at Tarrytown, New York. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZC4-2395).

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André, John (02 May 1750–02 October 1780), British officer and spy, was born in London, England, the son of Anthony André, a merchant, and Marie Louise Girardot. His early schooling was with a tutor, the Reverend Thomas Newcomb, and he may have attended St. Paul’s School. In his teens André studied mathematics and military drawing at the University of Geneva, giving vent to his romantic temperament by dreaming of a military career. He was rudely brought back to reality by his merchant father when he was called home to work in the countinghouse before he completed a degree. Despising the family business, he nevertheless labored at it manfully for a number of years. After his father died on 14 April 1769, he felt a particular obligation as the eldest son to continue the business, even though his father had left him financially independent, with a small fortune of £5,000. In the summer of 1769 he joined a Lichfield literary group presided over by Anna Seward, a poet. The group included a young lady named Honora Sneyd, for whom he developed a passion. They became engaged and courted for a year and a half before she suddenly rejected him for another man at a Christmas party in 1770. Shattered by this betrayal, André revived his earlier ambition to become a soldier and in early 1771 bought a second lieutenant’s commission in the 23d Regiment, Royal Welsh Fusiliers. Later he purchased a first lieutenancy in the same regiment....

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Badeau, Adam (29 December 1831–19 March 1895), soldier and author, was born in New York City, the son of Nicholas Badeau. He attended a boarding school in Tarrytown, New York, then he worked at an assortment of jobs, including a position with New York City’s street department. In 1859 he published a short book, ...

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Barnitz, Albert Trorillo Siders (10 March 1835–18 July 1912), poet and soldier, was born at Bloody Run, Bedford County, Pennsylvania. The names of his parents are not known. His father, a physician, died when Albert was thirteen, and the boy devoted himself to caring for his mother and siblings. Reading widely and deeply in literature, he became a self-taught poet of modest local reputation. His formal education consisted of a year at Kenyon College in 1851 and two years, 1858 to 1859, of intermittent study at the Cleveland Law College. His first marriage, to Eva Prouty in 1859, ended with her death in childbirth a year later....

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Belo, Alfred Horatio (27 May 1839–19 April 1901), Confederate soldier and newspaper manager-publisher, was born in Salem, North Carolina, the son of Frederick Edward Boehlo, a mercantile businessman, and Amanda Fries, both Moravians. (Belo’s ancestors were northern European refugees who had settled in the Piedmont area, where they changed the spelling of the family name to match its English pronunciation.) Belo attended Moravian Boys’ Academy, where for four years he studied Latin, German, and geometry; a year and a half at the Masonic Institute at Germantown; and three years at the school of Dr. Alexander Wilson, a Presbyterian minister and cultural scholar, in Alamance County (N.C.). Instead of attending college, Belo succeeded his ailing father in the management of his general merchandise store, linseed oil mill, iron foundry, and roughly 450-acre farm....

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Birney, William (28 May 1819–14 August 1907), soldier, journalist, and lawyer, was born in Madison County, Alabama, the son of James Gillespie Birney, a lawyer, state legislator, and abolitionist leader, and Agatha McDowell. In 1818 his family had moved to Huntsville, Alabama, and in late 1835 they relocated to New Richmond, Ohio. Birney was educated at four colleges, including Yale University, and graduated from Cincinnati Law School in 1841. He began practicing law in that city and in 1845 married Catherine Hoffman. They would have nine children. For five years thereafter he resided on the Continent and in England. He contributed essays on the arts to English and American newspapers, and he upheld the activist reputation of his family by opposing French troops as a member of a Republican student battalion in Paris. In 1848 he accepted an appointment as professor of English literature at the lycée in Bourges....

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John Burgoyne. Courtesy of the National Archives (NWDNS-148-GW-616).

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Burgoyne, John (24 February 1723–04 August 1792), British soldier and dramatist, was born in London, England, the son of Captain John Burgoyne, a soldier, and Anna Maria Burneston. The popular belief that he was the natural son of Robert Benson, Lord Bingley, may have been true, but legally he was the son of Burgoyne. Educated at Westminster School, he entered the army at the age of fifteen, joining the Third Regiment of Horse Guards. Three years later he became a cornet in the Thirteenth Regiment of Light Dragoons and was promoted to lieutenant in 1741. In 1743 Burgoyne eloped with fifteen-year-old Lady Charlotte Stanley, daughter of Edward Stanley, earl of Derby; they had one child, who died at the age of ten. Lord Derby disapproved of the marriage; he gave his daughter only a small dowry and refused to see her or her husband. With Lady Charlotte’s money, Burgoyne purchased a captaincy in the Thirteenth Dragoons, and for three years the couple lived in London. After that time gambling debts forced Burgoyne to sell his commission. He and his wife retired to a quiet life in the French countryside near Chanteloup, where they lived for seven years on Lady Charlotte’s money and the proceeds from the sale of Burgoyne’s captaincy....

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Benjamin Church. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-96233).

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Church, Benjamin (1639–17 January 1718), soldier, was born in Plymouth, Massachusetts, the son of Richard Church, a carpenter, and Elizabeth Warren. He married Alice Southworth in 1667; the couple had eight children. Early in life Church followed his father’s trade, and he first appeared in public records as a trial juror in Plymouth, 25 October 1668. Two years later he was listed as a freeman of “Duxburrow” (Duxbury, Plymouth Colony), where he also sat on trial juries and served as constable. In 1674 he acquired land in Saconet (later Little Compton, R.I.) from the Plymouth General Court and claimed to be “the first English Man that built upon that Neck, which was full of Indians.” Church described himself as “a Person of uncommon Activity and Industry,” though little is known of his personal life at the time. He gained the favor of the local Indians and, by his own estimation, even won their “great esteem.” He became acquainted with Awashonks, the “Squaw Sachem” of the Sakonnet Indians, and their friendship led to Church’s early involvement in ...

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Cullum, George Washington (25 February 1809–28 February 1892), army officer and author, was born in New York City, the son of Arthur Cullum, a coach maker, and Harriet Sturges. In 1817 Cullum’s family moved to Meadville, Pennsylvania, where his father served as an agent of a land company and practiced law. Young Cullum entered the U.S. Military Academy in 1829 and graduated in 1833....

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Denys de la Ronde, Louis (02 August 1675–25 March 1741), French military officer, explorer, and spy, was born in Quebec City, Canada, the son of Pierre Denys de la Ronde, a landowner and merchant (the Crown had given the aristocracy in Canada permission to engage in trade), and Catherine Leneuf de la Potherie. He entered naval service in 1687 as a midshipman in France. During the war of 1689–1697 he served in exiled British king James II’s expedition to Ireland, then off the coast of England, and finally on several voyages to New France and along the coast of New England. Captured at sea in 1695, he was soon released in an exchange of prisoners of war. He served in ...

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Dumont de Montigny, Jean-François-Benjamin (31 July 1696–1760), officer in the French colonial military in Quebec and Louisiana, historian, and memoirist, was born in Paris, France, to Jacques-François Dumont and Françoise Delamare. His father was a magistrate in the parlement of Paris, the most important of the French high courts of appeal. He was the youngest of six sons and something of a black sheep compared with his brothers, who achieved prominence as lawyers and priests....

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Halpine, Charles Graham (20 November 1829–03 August 1868), journalist and soldier, was born near Oldcastle, County Meath, Ireland, the son of Nicholas John Halpin, a clergyman ordained in the Church of Ireland (Episcopal), and Ann Grehan. The scholarly Halpin devoted considerable time to the education of his son, who early demonstrated gifts as a writer of both prose and poetry. By the age of ten, Charles was accomplished in French and Latin, and shortly before his fifteenth birthday he enrolled in his father’s alma mater, Trinity College, Dublin. He left Dublin before graduation and read law at Lincoln’s Inn, London; held a minor political office at Somerset House; and wrote articles and poems for a variety of English newspapers and magazines. In 1849 he married a childhood sweetheart, Margaret G. Milligan. They had seven children. In February 1850, soon after the birth of their first child, he left his wife with her parents and, in search of fame and fortune, joined the exodus of the Irish to the United States. The family was reunited in 1853....

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Joseph R. Hawley. From Harper's Weekly, 6 June 1868. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-111073).

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Hawley, Joseph Roswell (31 October 1826–18 March 1905), soldier, editor, and politician, was born in Stewartsville, North Carolina, the son of Francis Hawley, a Baptist minister, and Mary McLeod. Hawley’s father wrote and spoke widely against the sins of affluence and slavery, and when the boy was eleven, his family moved to his father’s native state, Connecticut. Young Hawley was educated there and in New York. In 1847 he graduated from Hamilton College, and during the early 1850s he taught school and embarked on a law career....

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Hill, Daniel Harvey (12 July 1821–24 September 1889), soldier, educator, and editor, was born at Hill’s Iron Works, York District, South Carolina, the son of Solomon Hill, a farmer, and Nancy Cabeen. Signally influenced by the military and religious traditions of his forebears, Hill was descended from Scotch-Irish and Scottish Presbyterians who had settled in the Carolina upcountry before the American Revolution. Both grandfathers had fought with distinction under General ...

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Holt, David Eldred (27 November 1843–05 November 1925), Confederate soldier, salesman, writer, and minister, was born on the family plantation at Athlone, Mississippi, the son of Dr. David Holt, physician, and Juliette White. The plantation was located between Natchez and Woodville, the Wilkinson County seat. In 1844 David's family moved to Natchez. There, Dr. Holt's medical practice thrived, and he built a new home called "Oddity Hall" due to its unique and unusual construction. Growing up in that house helped to forge the David's sense of devotion to family. Association with slaves and relatives, attendance of camp meetings and baptisms in the local river, and childhood pranks with friends all molded David's perceptions of life and religion. David was particularly close to his physician brother, Joseph Jackson Holt. His memoirs and correspondence later in life revealed the special bond and relationship the two shared....

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Howell, Evan Park (10 December 1839–06 August 1905), newspaper editor, soldier, and public official, was born in Warsaw, Georgia, the son of Clark Howell, a farmer, and Effiah Jane Park. The family moved to Marthasville—which soon was renamed Atlanta—where Howell grew up. He learned telegraphy, completed a two-year course at Georgia Military Institute in Marietta, studied law in Sandersville, Georgia, and enrolled in Lumpkin Law School (which later became the law department of the University of Georgia) in Athens. He was admitted to the bar in 1859 and returned to Sandersville to practice. Howell married Julia A. Erwin in 1861; they had seven children....