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Boyd, John Parker (21 December 1764–04 October 1830), army officer and soldier of fortune, was born in Newburyport, Massachusetts, the son of James Boyd and Susanna (maiden name unknown). He developed military interests as a boy, and in 1786 he was appointed ensign in a Massachusetts infantry regiment suppressing Shays’s Rebellion (see ...

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Harlan, Josiah (12 June 1799– October 1871), soldier of fortune and adventurer, was born in Newlin Township, Pennsylvania, the son of Joshua Harlan, a merchant broker of Philadelphia, and Sarah Hinchman. His parents were members of the Society of Friends (Quakers), and indications are that Harlan followed in their path of independent thought though certainly not the Quaker ideal of pacifism. Almost nothing is known of his early years. The first prominent event of his career was in 1823, when he journeyed to Asia and entered the employment of the British East India Tea Company. He served as an officiating assistant surgeon in the Bengal artillery under British colonel George Pollock during the first Burmese War (1824–1826). This employment ended with the conclusion of the war, and Harlan traveled to northern India looking for other work. He had already, at the age of twenty-seven, traveled more than most Americans of his time period. He continued to expand his knowledge of the wider world in Afghanistan, which was at that time contested by Afghans, Sikhs, and the officials of the British East India Company, who feared an incursion by the forces of imperial Russia....

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Henningsen, Charles Frederick (21 February 1815–14 June 1877), filibuster and author, was born in either England or Belgium. The names and occupations of his parents are unknown. As “a man apparently without a country” ( New York Times, 15 June 1877), Henningsen began his career fighting for the Carlists in Spain in 1834, serving under general Thomas Zumalacarregui. In 1835 he was awarded the title Knight of St. Ferdinand and Knight of Isabella for his service. Following his Spanish campaign, Henningsen joined the revolutionary Schamyl in Circassia. He was a fugitive in Asia Minor, when in 1848 the Magyars, under the leadership of Louis Kossuth, rebelled against Austrian control. Offering his services to Kossuth, who was in exile following the failure of the revolution, Henningsen was appointed plenipotentiary. He followed the Hungarian leader to America as his personal secretary in 1851. Remaining in the United States, he married Williamina Belt Connelly, a widow and niece of Georgia senator ...

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Ingraham, Prentiss (28 December 1843–16 August 1904), writer and soldier, was born in Adams County, Mississippi, the son of Joseph Holt Ingraham, a minister and writer, and Mary Brooks, the daughter of a wealthy southern planter. Ingraham attended Jefferson College (Miss.) and Mobile Medical College until the Civil War ended his academic career. At the age of seventeen, Ingraham enlisted in Colonel William Temple Withers’s Mississippi Regiment; he later served as a scout commander in a Texas cavalry brigade. At the siege of Port Hudson, Ingraham was wounded in the foot and captured, but he escaped while being transported to a northern prison....

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Kalb, Johann (19 June 1721–19 August 1780), soldier of fortune and revolutionary general, was born in Hüttendorf, Bavaria, the son of Johann Leonhard Kalb and Margarethe Seitz, peasants. Covetous of adventure and glory, he left home at age sixteen with only a modest education. Little is known of Kalb in the next few years, but in 1743 he surfaced as Jean de Kalb, an officer in the Loewendal Regiment, a German contingent of the French army. Apparently he realized that a title was essential for military advancement and simply assumed one. Even more curious is the question as to how he learned English and French and took on the manners of the nobility. He must have had an ear for languages and natural graces. During the war of the Austrian succession, he participated in several sieges in Flanders while serving his regiment as a captain and ...

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Loring, William Wing (07 December 1818–30 December 1886), soldier, was born in Wilmington, North Carolina, the son of Reuben Loring, a planter and native of Hingham, Massachusetts, and Hannah Kenan of North Carolina. The family moved to Florida when Loring was a child. The Second Seminole War erupted in December 1835, and William, age seventeen, enlisted in the Florida Volunteers and participated in the battles of Black Point (18 Dec. 1835) and Wahoo Swamp (21 Nov. 1836). By age nineteen he was a second lieutenant in the Second Florida Volunteers. Returning to civil life, Loring attended Episcopal Academy in Alexandria, Virginia, and Georgetown College. He graduated from Georgetown in 1842 with a law degree, was admitted to the Florida bar, and was elected to the territorial legislature, where he served three years....

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Ward, Frederick Townsend (29 November 1831–21 September 1862), military leader, was born in Salem, Massachusetts, the son of Frederick Gamaliel Ward, a shipmaster and ship broker, and Elizabeth Colburn Spencer. Little is known of the early years of his life, other than that he demonstrated both a formidable temper and a natural ability for leadership among his fellow youths. He was eager to serve in the Mexican War, but he was dissuaded by his father, who encouraged him to ship to China instead. Ward then commenced on a path of voyages around the globe inspired by his upbringing in Salem and the restlessness of that time period, known as “Young America,” when Americans aspired to extend their influence in the Caribbean and other parts of the world....