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Andrews, George Leonard (31 August 1828–04 April 1899), soldier, engineer, and educator, was born in Bridgewater, Massachusetts, the son of Manasseh Andrews and Harriet Leonard. After attending the state normal school at Bridgewater, he was accepted as a candidate at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He graduated at the head of the class of 1851 and was appointed second lieutenant of engineers. His first duty after graduation was in his home state, participating in the construction of Fort Warren in Boston Harbor. He then returned to the academy as an assistant professor....

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Barber, Francis (26 November 1750–11 February 1783), revolutionary war officer and schoolmaster, was born in Princeton, New Jersey, the son of Patrick Barber, a farmer and county judge, and Jane Frasher (also spelled Fraser or Frazer). His parents had immigrated from County Longford, Ireland, in 1735. In 1764, while Barber was attending the College of New Jersey (now Princeton), the family moved to a 200-acre farm in Ulster County, New York. Upon receiving his A.B. in 1767, Barber and Stephen Van Voornees established a school at Newbridge, near Hackensack, New Jersey. Considered an able scholar in the ancient languages, especially Greek, Barber was named the master of the Elizabethtown Academy (a Latin grammar school) in 1771. ...

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John Shaw Billings. Courtesy of the Clendening History of Medicine Library and Museum, University of Kansas Medical Center.

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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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Bliss, Tasker Howard (31 December 1853–09 November 1930), soldier, scholar, and diplomat, was born in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, the son of George Ripley Bliss, a Baptist clergyman and professor at Lewisburg Academy (now Bucknell University), and Mary Ann Raymond. After attending Lewisburg Academy for two years, Tasker Bliss was admitted to West Point, where he excelled in foreign languages and finished eighth in his class in 1875. After graduating, he was assigned to the First Artillery in Savannah, Georgia. The next year he returned to West Point for a four-year tour as an instructor in modern languages. His grasp of other tongues included not only his beloved Greek, which he studied relentlessly, but also Latin, French, Spanish, Italian, and Russian. The Custer massacre in 1876 prompted him to request active duty at a frontier post, but Major General ...

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Joshua L. Chamberlain. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-B8172-1859).

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Chamberlain, Joshua Lawrence (08 September 1828–24 February 1914), soldier, politician, and educator, was born in Brewer, Maine, the son of Joshua Chamberlain, a farmer and shipbuilder, and Sarah Dupee Brastow. After attending a military academy in Ellsworth, Chamberlain entered Bowdoin College in 1848, graduating in 1852. Three years later, after graduating from the Bangor Theological Seminary, he joined Bowdoin’s faculty and taught a broad range of subjects, including logic, natural theology, rhetoric, oratory, and modern languages. In 1855 he married Frances Caroline Adams; of the couple’s five children, three survived to adulthood....

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Clark, Mark Wayne (01 May 1896–17 April 1984), general and college president, was born in Watertown, New York, the son of Charles C. Clark, a U.S. Army colonel, and Rebecca Ezekiels, the daughter of a Jewish immigrant. Clark’s father led the typical peripatetic life of an army officer, serving in Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and China prior to World War I. An army officer’s pay was adequate to raise a family, so the Clarks lived well, if modestly. As was often the case with army officers, Charles Clark pushed his son to follow in his footsteps, and Mark entered West Point in June 1913. At West Point Clark met and struck a lifelong friendship with ...

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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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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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Garden, Alexander (04 December 1757–24 February 1829), soldier and scholar, was born in Charleston, South Carolina, the son of Alexander Garden, a famous naturalist, and Elizabeth Peronneau. Growing up in the long shadow of his father, Garden’s life was carefully monitored, and he received his early education at home. In 1771 he was enrolled at Westminster School in England and after four years there matriculated at the University of Glasgow. He received an M.A. in 1779 and then began the study of law at Lincoln’s Inn. Garden did not long pursue his legal education for in 1780, despite the vehement protests of his Loyalist father, who had fled to London as a refugee, he returned to America to assist his fellow countrymen in their struggle against Britain. For this act of filial defiance he was never forgiven by his father, who died in 1791....

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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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Oliver O. Howard. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-B8172-3719).

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Howard, Oliver Otis (08 November 1830–26 October 1909), soldier, government official, and educator, was born in Leeds, Maine, the son of Rowland Bailey Howard and Eliza Otis, farmers. As a boy Howard worked in the company of a young black farmhand, an experience to which he later attributed his broadmindedness in racial matters. Howard graduated from Bowdoin College in 1850 and entered the U.S. Military Academy. He graduated from West Point in 1854, ranked fourth in his class. In 1855 Howard married Elizabeth Ann Waite; the couple had seven children. He first served at the federal arsenals in New York and Maine and then as an ordnance officer in Florida. In 1857 Howard returned to West Point to teach mathematics. The same year he experienced the religious conversion that would earn him such sobriquets as “the Christian Soldier.” His distaste for alcohol and profanity hardly endeared him to many of his fellows. ...

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Johnson, Bushrod Rust (07 October 1817–12 September 1880), soldier and educator, was born on a farm near Morristown, Ohio, the son of Noah Johnson, a blacksmith and farmer, and Rachel Spencer. Apparently Johnson received little formal education except for a brief attendance at Marietta Academy in Marietta, Ohio. Although raised in an antislavery Quaker family, he decided to pursue a military education as a means of rising above his social status. His affiliation with the Quaker religion seems not to have been as strong as that of his parents and other relatives. In 1836 Johnson entered the U.S. Military Academy. He graduated twenty-third in a class of forty-two in 1840 and received a commission as a second lieutenant of infantry. He joined the Third U.S. Infantry Regiment at Fort Brooke, Florida, late in 1840 and served at various posts in that state during the next year. On 1 February 1844 he was promoted to first lieutenant. The Third Infantry joined General ...

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Johnson, Richard W. (27 February 1827–21 April 1897), soldier, educator, and author, was born near Smithland, Livingston County, Kentucky, the son of James L. Johnson, a physician, and Jane Leeper, both natives of Virginia. In 1844 an older brother, John Milton Johnson, who later became a Confederate surgeon, procured him an appointment to West Point, from which he graduated in 1849. He thereupon served until 1861 with both infantry and cavalry units at frontier outposts in Minnesota Territory, Texas, and the Indian Territory, participating in two skirmishes with the Comanches while in Texas and rising to the rank of captain. In 1855, while stationed at Fort Snelling, Minnesota, he married Rachael Elizabeth Steele. They had three children. Following the outbreak of the Civil War, he remained, despite his southern antecedents, loyal to the Union. In accordance with ...

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Johnston, William Preston (05 January 1831–16 July 1899), soldier and educator, was born in Louisville, Kentucky, the son of Albert Sidney Johnston, an army officer, and Henrietta Preston. Johnston’s mother died when he was four and his father was stationed in Texas shortly afterward, so the boy was left in the care of his mother’s relatives. He was educated first in public schools in Louisville and later at the S. V. Womack Academy in Shelbyville, Kentucky. He attended Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, for a brief time in 1846 and then matriculated with the first class of the Western Military Institute in Georgetown, Kentucky. An excellent student, Johnston was chosen by his classmates at WMI to give the address at the school celebration of Washington’s birthday. Admitted to Yale as a junior in May 1851, he graduated the following year, earning the Townsend Prize for English composition and the Clark Prize for an essay titled “Political Abstractionists.” He then entered law school at the University of Louisville, graduating in 1853....

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Lane, James Henry (28 July 1833–21 September 1907), army officer and educator, was born in Mathews Court House, Virginia, the son of Walter Gardner Lane and Mary Ann Henry Barkwell, planters. Educated at private schools and by tutors, Lane entered the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) in 1851 and was graduated three years later, second in a class of fourteen. In 1857 he was graduated from the University of Virginia with a degree in science. He returned to VMI, which accorded him the title of lieutenant and the duties of assistant professor of mathematics and assistant instructor in tactics. Thereafter he taught in several different private schools....

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Lee, George Washington Custis (16 September 1832–18 February 1913), army officer and educator, was born at Fort Monroe, Virginia, the son of Robert Edward Lee, an army officer, and Mary Ann Randolph Custis. After an early education in local private schools, Custis Lee (as he was commonly called) entered West Point in 1850 and graduated first in the class of 1854. His academic performance entitled him to an assignment in the elite Corps of Engineers, in which he was commissioned second lieutenant. During the remaining years before the Civil War, he worked on river and harbor improvement projects in various parts of the country. When the attack on Fort Sumter brought Virginia’s secession, Lee was serving as a first lieutenant and assistant to the chief engineer of the army in his bureau in Washington. Lee resigned his U.S. Army commission on 2 May 1861 and offered his services to Virginia. On 1 July 1861 he was commissioned captain of engineers in the Confederate army, and that month and the next he worked at designing and directing the construction of the fortifications at Richmond. Other duty beckoned, however, when on 31 August he was selected by President ...

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Lee, Stephen Dill (22 September 1833–28 May 1908), soldier, educator, and author, was born in Charleston, South Carolina, the son of Thomas Lee, a physician, and Caroline Allison. He was also the grandson of the prominent South Carolina judge Thomas Lee (1769–1839). At the age of seventeen, after attending a boarding school in North Carolina, he entered West Point from which he graduated in 1854, ranking seventeenth in a class of forty-six that included ...