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Ames, Adelbert (31 October 1835–13 April 1933), soldier and politician, was born in Rockland, Maine, the son of Jesse Ames, a sea captain, and Martha B. Tolman. After spending some time at sea as a teenager, Ames entered the U.S. Military Academy, graduating in 1861. He was commissioned a second lieutenant and assigned to the Fifth Artillery. During the Civil War he was wounded at First Bull Run (First Manassas) on 21 July, and he later received the Congressional Medal of Honor for his heroism there in refusing to leave his post despite the wound. He served with the Army of the Potomac during the Peninsula campaign of 1862, and for his actions at Malvern Hill he was brevetted lieutenant colonel. On 8 August 1862 he was named colonel in command of the Twentieth Maine Volunteer Infantry, with ...

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Anderson, Robert (14 June 1805–26 October 1871), soldier and hero of Fort Sumter, was born in Jefferson County, Kentucky, at “Soldier’s Retreat,” the family plantation. His father, Richard Clough Anderson, an officer of the Continental Line, moved to Kentucky after the Revolution; his mother, Sarah Marshall Anderson, was Richard’s second wife. Robert graduated from West Point in 1825, fifteenth in a class of thirty-seven. Commissioned a second lieutenant in the Third Artillery, he served for a time as secretary to his half-brother ...

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Augur, Christopher Colon (10 July 1821–16 January 1898), soldier, was born in Kendall, New York, the son of Ammon Augur and Annis Wellman. Ammon Augur died within a year of Christopher’s birth, and the widow and son soon moved to Michigan.

Christopher was appointed to the U.S. Military Academy from Michigan and reported for duty at West Point as a plebe in July 1839. He stood sixteenth in the class that graduated on 1 July 1843. In the class of 1843 were thirteen young men, besides Augur, who would become general officers during the Civil War, including ...

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Averell, William Woods (05 November 1832–03 February 1900), Union general and businessman, was born in Cameron (Steuben County), New York, the son of Hiram Averell and Huldah Hemenway, farmers. Averell attended the U.S. Military Academy, graduating in 1855, twenty-sixth in a class of thirty-four, only excelling in horsemanship. He then served with the cavalry in the Southwest and was seriously wounded during a fight against the Navajos at Canyon de Chelly, New Mexico Territory (1858). He was in New York on convalescent leave when the Civil War began....

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Ayres, Romeyn Beck (20 December 1825–04 December 1888), soldier, was born at the crossroads of East Creek in Montgomery County, New York. His father was a small-town physician who was dedicated to raising his sons for professional life. He trained Romeyn rigorously in Latin until he was fluent in the language. At age seventeen Ayres received an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and graduated twenty-second in the class of 1847. He was subsequently commissioned a brevet second lieutenant in the Fourth U.S. Artillery and was sent to Mexico, where he performed garrison duty at Puebla and Mexico City. Following his return from Mexico, Ayres’s service consisted of routine garrison duty at various army posts in Maine, Rhode Island, Texas, New York, California, Minnesota, Kansas, and Virginia....

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Baker, Edward Dickinson (24 February 1811–21 October 1861), statesman and soldier, was born in London, England, the son of Edward Baker, an educator, and Lucy Dickinson. The family emigrated to the United States in 1815 and lived in Philadelphia for about ten years. The elder Baker ran a school that young Edward attended until he secured employment as a hand loom weaver. Attracted by ...

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Banks, Nathaniel Prentiss (30 January 1816–01 September 1894), congressman and Civil War general, was born in Waltham, Massachusetts, the son of Nathaniel P. Banks, a textile mill foreman, and Rebecca Greenwood. He attended a school for factory children until he began work in the mills as a bobbin boy at age eleven. At seventeen he left factory work to assist his father in carpentry and to learn the machinist’s trade....

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Barnard, John Gross (19 May 1815–14 May 1882), soldier, engineer, and scientist, was born in Sheffield, Massachusetts, the son of Robert Foster Barnard and Augusta Roberta Porter. He was the younger brother of the distinguished educator Frederick Augustus Barnard, president and chancellor of the University of Mississippi and president of Columbia College (now Columbia University) in New York City. Barnard graduated second in his 1833 class of the U.S. Military Academy and was commissioned in the Corps of Engineers. He married Jane Elizabeth Brand, who died in 1853. He married Anna E. Hall Boyd in 1860....

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Barnes, Joseph K. (21 July 1817–05 April 1883), U.S. Army medical officer and surgeon general, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Joseph Barnes, for many years a judge of the Philadelphia district court. His mother’s name is not known. After attending a private school in Northampton, Massachusetts, Barnes entered Harvard University but was unable to complete his studies there because of poor health. After studying medicine with U.S. Navy surgeon Thomas Harris, later the navy’s surgeon general, he began attending lectures in medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, from which he received his M.D. in 1838. He then served a year as a hospital resident in Philadelphia and another year as physician to that city’s poor. The date of his marriage to Mary Fauntleroy is unknown; they had no children....

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Barry, William Farquhar (18 August 1818–18 July 1879), soldier, was born in New York City, the son of Caroline M. (maiden name unknown). The full name of his father, who died when Barry was a youth, is unknown. Tutored by his mother, who gave him an “unusual knowledge” of the classics, Barry also attended high school in New York before entering the U.S. Military Academy in 1834. Four years later he graduated in the upper third of his class. He was posted to the Second U.S. Artillery, and his initial service was on the Canadian border during that country’s “Patriot War” (1837–1838). In 1840, while stationed at Buffalo, New York, he married Kate McKnight....

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Bendire, Charles Emil (27 April 1836–04 February 1897), naturalist and soldier, was born Karl Emil Bender at König im Odenwald in Hesse-Darmstadt (now in Germany). The identities of his parents are not known. At age twelve he began his studies at a theological seminary in Passy, France. Misconduct led to his departure five years later. In 1853 he immigrated to the United States and anglicized his name to Charles Bendire. The following year he joined the First Dragoons in the U.S. Army. During his second enlistment, which began in 1860, he became a sergeant and later hospital steward in the Fourth Cavalry....

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Billings, John Shaw (12 April 1838–11 March 1913), army medical officer, library organizer, and public health activist, was born near Allensville, Indiana, the son of James Billings, a farmer and storekeeper, and Abby Shaw. Despite spotty secondary schooling, he ultimately went to Miami College (Ohio), where he earned his B.A. in 1857. He was awarded the M.D. by the Medical College of Ohio in 1860. Billings remained with the latter institution for a year as an anatomical demonstrator, but after the outbreak of the Civil War he joined the U.S. Army as a contract surgeon. In 1862 he was commissioned first lieutenant and assistant surgeon and went on to make army service his career. Also in 1862 he married Katharine Mary Stevens; they had five children....

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Blair, Francis Preston, Jr. (19 February 1821–09 July 1875), statesman and Union army officer, was born in Lexington, Kentucky, the son of Francis Preston Blair, the influential editor of the Congressional Globe, and Eliza Violet Gist Blair. He was a brother of Montgomery Blair...

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Buell, Don Carlos (23 March 1818–19 November 1898), soldier and businessman, was born near Marietta, Ohio, the son of Salmon D. Buell and Eliza (maiden name unknown), farmers. After his father’s death in 1823, the boy lived mostly in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, with an uncle, George P. Buell, who got him an appointment to West Point in 1837. Graduating in the lower half of his 1841 class, Buell was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Third Infantry. He served in the Seminole War and was promoted to first lieutenant on 18 June 1846. In November 1851 he married Margaret Hunter Mason, a widow. They had no children....

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Herman Hattaway and Ethan S. Rafuse

Buford, John (04 March 1826–16 December 1863), soldier, was born in Woodford County, Kentucky, the son of John Buford, a planter and politician, and Anne Bannister Watson. After moving with his family to Rock Island, Illinois, Buford followed the example of his older half-brother, Napoleon Bonaparte Buford, and entered the U.S. Military Academy. He graduated sixteenth out of thirty-eight in the class of 1848 and was brevetted second lieutenant of dragoons. His regular commission came on 17 February 1849; promotion to first lieutenant, on 9 July 1853. In May 1854 he married Martha Duke; the marriage produced two children, neither of whom reached adulthood....

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Burnside, Ambrose Everett (23 May 1824–13 September 1881), soldier and businessman, was born in Liberty, Indiana, the son of Pamelia Brown and Edghill Burnside, a law clerk and farmer. The Burnsides had nine children and only a modest income, so Ambrose received no more than a rudimentary education before starting work as an apprentice tailor in 1840. His father took advantage of a term in the state legislature to have the boy appointed to the United States Military Academy at West Point, which he entered on 1 July 1843. He graduated eighteenth out of thirty-eight cadets in the class of 1847 and was commissioned second lieutenant in the Third U.S. Artillery. His battery was serving in the Mexican War, and he joined it in Mexico City, too late to see action. Bored, he gambled away six months’ pay. Further embarrassment was prevented by a posting, in spring 1848, to Fort Adams, Rhode Island....

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Butler, Benjamin Franklin (05 November 1818–11 January 1893), governor of Massachusetts and Civil War general, was born in Deerfield, New Hampshire, the son of John Butler, a seaman, and Charlotte Ellison, both of Scots-Irish descent. John Butler died while his son was still an infant, and in 1828 Charlotte moved to Lowell, Massachusetts, to keep a boardinghouse for female factory workers. Butler was educated at Waterville (now Colby) College, which he attended from 1834 to 1838. He studied law while clerking for the Lowell attorney William Smith and was admitted to the bar in 1840. In 1844 he married the actress Sarah Hildreth, with whom he had four children, three of whom survived to adulthood....

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Butterfield, Daniel (31 October 1831–17 July 1901), soldier and businessman, was born in Utica, New York, the son of John Butterfield, a businessman, and Malinda Harriet Baker. From his father, president of the Overland Mail and partner in the American Express Company, Butterfield acquired an interest in organizing and administering business corporations. He attended private academies before graduating at eighteen from Union College. Following a brief attempt to study law, he traveled extensively in the South, where he foresaw sectional conflict. In 1857 he married Elizabeth (full name unknown); they had no children. She died in 1877....

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Canby, Edward Richard Sprigg (09 November 1817–11 April 1873), Civil War general, was born in Piatt’s Landing, Kentucky, the son of Israel T. Canby, a land speculator and politician, and Elizabeth Piatt. Canby received an appointment to West Point and graduated thirtieth out of thirty-one in the class of 1839. Shortly after graduation he married Louisa Hawkins; they had one child, who died young. He began his military career as a second lieutenant with the Second Regiment of the U.S. Infantry. Canby gained his first military leadership experience during the confrontation with the Seminole Nation in northern Florida, 1840–1842, and his first administrative experience in the Adjutant General’s Office during garrison duty at Fort Niagara, 1842–1846. At the end of this duty, in June 1846, he received promotion to first lieutenant and, in 1847, to captain as assistant adjutant general. During the Mexican War Canby fought beside ...

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Carr, Eugene Asa (20 March 1830–02 December 1910), army officer, was born in Concord, Erie County, New York, the son of Clark Murwin Carr and Delia Ann Torrey (occupations unknown). He entered the U.S. Military Academy in 1846, graduating four years later, nineteenth in his class of forty-four. Assigned to the Regiment of Mounted Rifles as a brevet second lieutenant, Carr received his regular commission on 30 June 1851. Joining his regiment at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, he served in two military expeditions to the Rocky Mountains during 1852–1853. The following year, Carr was wounded while serving as second in command during Captain John A. Walker’s pursuit of Apaches west of newly created Fort Davis, Texas. Though his wound was initially presumed to be fatal, Carr recovered and was promoted to first lieutenant, First Cavalry Regiment....