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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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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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Armistead, George (10 April 1780–25 April 1818), soldier, was born on the Baylor estate of “Newmarket” in Caroline County, Virginia, the son of John Armistead and Lucy Baylor, farmers. Details of his early life remain vague. Commissioned an ensign in the Seventh Infantry Regiment in January 1799, by May 1800 he had been promoted to first lieutenant. He was given an honorable discharge on 15 June 1800, however, because of reductions in the military establishment....

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James H. O’Donnell III

Armstrong, John (20 April 1755–04 February 1816), soldier, was born in New Jersey, the son of Thomas Armstrong and Jane Hamilton. Little is known about his early life and education. He joined the Continental army on 11 September 1777 and served as an officer in the twelfth and third Pennsylvania regiments....

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Armstrong, John, Jr. (25 November 1758–01 April 1843), soldier and politician, was born in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, the son of John Armstrong and Rebecca Lyon. His father, a surveyor and a prominent figure on the Pennsylvania frontier, achieved fame as the “Hero of Kittanning” during the Seven Years’ War when he destroyed a particularly troublesome Indian village; he later served as an officer in the revolutionary war. Armstrong attended the College of New Jersey (later Princeton) for two years but left in 1776 to join the Continental army. He served successively as aide-de-camp to Brigadier General Hugh Mercer and Major General ...

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Armstrong, John (13 October 1717–09 March 1795), soldier, surveyor, and member of the Continental Congress, was born in County Fermanagh, Ulster, Ireland. The identities of his Scotch-Irish parents and circumstances of his youth are unclear, but his father may have been named James. A trained surveyor, John Armstrong evidently received some education fairly early in life. Sometime in the mid-1740s Armstrong immigrated to America, settling initially in Delaware and then in Pennsylvania, where he worked as a surveyor. It was probably at some point after his arrival in America that he married Rebeckah Armstrong. The couple had two sons (the younger, ...

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Beauregard, Pierre Gustave Toutant (28 May 1818–20 February 1893), soldier, was born at “Contreras,” his family’s plantation in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana, the son of Jacques Toutant-Beauregard, a planter, and Helene Judith de Reggio. At age eight he was sent to a private school in New Orleans for three years, and for four years after that he attended the French School, a private institution in New York City. Beauregard entered the U.S. Military Academy in 1834 and graduated second in the class of 1838. Commissioned a second lieutenant of engineers, he worked on various fortifications in Florida and in his native state during the years prior to the Mexican War. In 1841 Beauregard married Marie Laure Villere; they had two sons. Laure died in March 1850, giving birth to a daughter....

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P. G. T. Beauregard. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-34418).

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Bedinger, George Michael (10 December 1756–08 December 1843), soldier, legislator, and businessman, was born in York County, Pennsylvania, the son of Henry Bedinger and Magdalene von Schlegel, innkeepers. In 1737 his grandfather had moved to Pennsylvania from the vicinity of Strasbourg in Alsace-Lorraine. At the time of George Michael’s birth, the family name was spelled Biedinger and German was the language spoken at home. Late in life Bedinger was described by a contemporary as a “full blooded Virginia Dutchman.”...

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Benner, Philip (19 May 1762–27 July 1832), soldier, pioneer ironmaster, and entrepreneur, was born in Chester County, Pennsylvania, the son of Henry Benner and Dinah Thomas, farmers. For Philip Benner as for many of his generation, the American Revolution was the defining experience of his early life. When his father, a vocal patriot, was imprisoned by the British, Philip went to war in the Continental army wearing a vest in which his mother had quilted guineas in case of emergency. Benner fought as a private under the command of his relative General ...