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Mansfield Lovell. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-B8172-2010).

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Lovell, Mansfield (20 October 1822–01 June 1884), soldier and civil engineer, was born in Washington, D.C., the son of Dr. Joseph Lovell, surgeon general of the U.S. Army from 1818 to 1836, and Margaret Mansfield. Having entered West Point at the age of sixteen, he graduated in 1842 and was assigned to the Fourth Artillery Regiment as a second lieutenant. During the Mexican War he was wounded at the battle of Monterrey (18–21 Sept. 1846) and in the storming of Mexico City (13–14 Sept. 1847), in the process winning promotion to first lieutenant and being brevetted captain for gallantry in action. In 1849 he married Emily Plympton, the daughter of an army officer. In 1854, tiring of garrison duty along the frontier, he resigned from the army to take a position with the Cooper & Hewitt’s Iron Works in Trenton, New Jersey. In 1858 he moved to New York City, where he was at first superintendent of street improvement, then deputy street commissioner under another future Confederate general, ...

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Rains, Gabriel James (04 June 1803–06 August 1881), soldier, scientist, and inventor, was born in Craven County, North Carolina, the son of Gabriel M. Rains and Hester Ambrose. Rains graduated thirteenth in his 1827 class of the U.S. Military Academy and was commissioned in the infantry. He married (date unknown) into one of the South’s most venerable families when he wedded Mary Jane McClellan, granddaughter of Governor ...

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Rains, George Washington (1817–21 March 1898), soldier, scientist, engineer, and educator, was born in Craven County, North Carolina, the son of Gabriel M. Rains and Hester Ambrose. Rains graduated third in his 1842 class of the U.S. Military Academy. He was commissioned in the Corps of Engineers but transferred to the artillery. In 1844 Rains was detached to West Point as assistant professor of chemistry, geology, and mineralogy. He served with distinction in the war with Mexico and was breveted captain for gallantry at the battles of Contreras and Churubusco and major for gallantry at Chapultepec. Following postings in the South and Northeast, he resigned his commission in 1856, the same year he married Francis Josephine Ramsdell. The number of their children, if any, is unknown. He served as president of the Washington Iron Works and then the Highland Iron Works, both in Newburgh, New York. Rains joined the ranks of soldier-inventors produced by West Point, when in 1860–1861 he patented several inventions relating to steam engines and boilers....

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Shoup, Francis Asbury (22 March 1834–04 September 1896), Confederate soldier, clergyman, and educator, was born in Laurel, Indiana, the son of George Grove Shoup, a merchant and politician, and Jane Conwell. He attended Asbury College (now DePauw University), before deciding on a military career. Given his family’s local prominence, he easily secured an appointment to West Point, from which he was graduated in 1855. As an artillery subaltern, he did garrison duty in Florida and South Carolina and served in the Seminole War of 1856–1858. During these formative tours of duty, Shoup forged close friendships with many southern-born soldiers and civilians, whose aristocratic pretensions he shared; apparently he came to consider himself a southerner at heart if not by birthright. When he resigned from the army in 1860, he returned to his native state but the following year settled in St. Augustine, Florida, where he practiced law....

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Edmund Kirby Smith. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-B8172-2013).

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Smith, Edmund Kirby (16 May 1824–28 March 1893), soldier and educator, was born in St. Augustine, Florida, the son of Joseph Lee Smith, a lawyer, soldier, and judge, and Frances Kirby. Both of the future Confederate general’s parents were originally from Connecticut. In childhood the precocious lad, who was known as “Ned” or “Ted,” was tutored by his older sister Frances Smith. Smith’s father was compelled to resign his federal judgeship in 1832 as a result of political pressures, and family finances grew increasingly strained. The decision was eventually made to prepare Smith for a career in the army, and he was sent to a private academy in Alexandria, Virginia, where he stayed from 1836 to 1841....

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St. John, Isaac Munroe (19 November 1827–07 April 1880), soldier and engineer, was born in Augusta, Georgia, the son of Isaac Richards St. John, a businessman, and Abigail Richardson Munroe. St. John graduated from Yale in 1845, the youngest member of his class. He briefly studied law and worked as assistant editor of the ...

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Venable, Charles Scott (19 April 1827–11 August 1900), mathematician and soldier, was born at “Longwood” in Prince Edward County, Virginia, the son of Nathaniel E. Venable, a plantation owner, and Mary Embra Scott. As a child, Venable benefited from his family’s wealth and high station in Virginia society. He received his early training from private tutors and followed a longstanding family tradition of proceeding to Hampden-Sydney College, his great-grandfather having been one of the driving forces behind the founding of that Presbyterian institution in 1776. Venable pursued his studies there from 1839 until his graduation in 1842....