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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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Don Carlos Buell. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-9979).

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Dodge, Theodore Ayrault (28 May 1842–25 October 1909), soldier, businessman, and military historian, was born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, the son of Nathaniel Shattswell Dodge, a wealthy writer and a U.S. War Department official, and Emily Pomeroy. His great-grandfather fought at Bunker Hill. When Theodore was eight years old, his father was appointed American commissioner to the London Exhibition, and the family moved to Europe. Theodore was sent to school at the College des Josephites in Tirelmont, Belgium, and was tutored in Berlin. There he lived with the family of retired Prussian general Gebhardt von Froerich, attended the Friedrich Werderschen Gymnasium, and absorbed the Prussian work ethos, including dedication to the profession of arms and commitment to the importance of ideas in war. He graduated from the University of London in 1861....

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Douglas, H. Ford (1831–11 November 1865), abolitionist and military officer, was born in Virginia, the son of a white man, William Douglas, and a slave, Mary (surname unknown). His first name was Hezekiah, which he chose to abbreviate. Sometime after his fifteenth birthday, he escaped from slavery and settled in Cleveland, Ohio, where he worked as a barber. Self-educated, he became an active member of the antislavery movement and the Ohio free black community in the 1850s. He served as Cleveland agent for the ...

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McArthur, John (17 November 1826–15 May 1906), soldier, businessman, and public servant, was born in Erskine Parish, on the River Clyde, in Renfrewshire, Scotland, the son of John McArthur and Isabella Neilson, who anticipated that he would become a Presbyterian divine. But he opted for employment in his father’s blacksmithery. In 1849—one year after he married a neighbor, Christine Cuthbertson—he emigrated to the United States, joining his brother-in-law, Carlile Mason, in Chicago. McArthur and Cuthbertson had seven children. After working for several years as a boilermaker and having accumulated some capital in 1854 McArthur entered into partnership with Mason as owner-manager of the Excelsior Ironworks, manufacturing “steam boilers, engines, and iron work of every description.” Buying out Mason, from 1858 to 1861 McArthur was sole operator of the business....

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Parrott, Robert Parker (05 October 1804–24 December 1877), soldier, inventor, and arms manufacturer, was born in Lee, New Hampshire, the son of John Fabyan Parrott, a shipowner, sea captain, and later a U.S. congressman and senator, and Hannah Skilling Parker, the daughter of a revolutionary privateer. Parrott graduated third in his 1824 class of the U.S. Military Academy and was commissioned in artillery. He was one of a distinguished group of West Point graduates who converted an education in mathematics, engineering, and applied science into a notable career as an applied scientist and inventor. Following a five-year assignment as assistant professor of natural and experimental philosophy at West Point, Parrott spent several years on garrison and coastal defense duty and served briefly as a staff officer in operations against the Creek Nation. On 13 February 1836 he was promoted to captain of ordnance and assigned as assistant to the chief of the Bureau of Ordnance. His work as inspector of ordnance during construction of the new West Point Foundry in Cold Spring, New York, so impressed its owner, Gouverneur Kemble, that he persuaded Parrott to resign his commission to direct the foundry’s operations. Following three years as superintendent of the foundry, Parrot leased it from Kemble. He purchased 7,000 acres of land to secure his supply of charcoal pig-iron and secured his technological capacity with the purchase of the Greenwood Iron Furnace in partnership with his brother, Peter Parrott. For some forty years Parrott ran the foundry while conducting research and experimentation in ordnance....

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Tilghman, Benjamin Chew (26 October 1821–03 July 1901), inventor, manufacturer, and soldier, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Benjamin Tilghman, a lawyer, and Anna Maria McMurtrie. In 1837 he entered the University of Pennsylvania after two years at Bristol College in New Jersey, graduating with a B.A. in 1839. He studied law and was admitted to the bar, but instead of practicing he joined his younger brother ...