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Abbot, Henry Larcom (13 August 1831–01 October 1927), Union soldier and engineer, was born in Beverly, Massachusetts, the son of Joseph Hale Abbot and Fanny Ellingwood. Abbot’s father, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, was an educator and school principal. From 1850 to 1854 Abbot attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, graduating second in his class. As a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Corps of Topographical Engineers, Abbot served first in the Office of Pacific Railroad Explorations and Surveys in Washington, D.C., and then in 1855 in California and Oregon surveying a railroad route....

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Abercromby, James (1706–23 April 1781), British general, was born in Glassaugh, Banffshire, Scotland, the son of Alexander Abercromby, laird of Glassaugh, and Helen Meldrum. Abercromby belonged to a wealthy Scottish family; his father helped him get established in life, first by purchasing him a position in the British army, then by helping him gain the posts of commissioner of supply and justice of the peace in Banffshire. His family connections were also important in his securing election to parliament in 1734 and maintaining the seat over the years. Because of his political and military importance in his homeland, throughout his adult life he held the posts of King’s Painter in Scotland and the governorship of Stirling Castle. He married Mary Duff, a third cousin, and had two children....

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Creighton W. Abrams [left to right] President Lyndon Johnson and Creighton W. Abrams (1968) at a White House briefing on the war in Vietnam, 1968. Courtesy of the National Archives (NWDNS-306-PSA-68[3528]).

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Abrams, Creighton Williams, Jr. (15 September 1914–04 September 1974), army officer, was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, the son of Creighton W. Abrams, a railway repairman, and Nellie Randall. At the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Abrams excelled in horsemanship, played football, and attained a mediocre academic record, finishing 185th in a class of 276. He graduated in 1936 and was commissioned a second lieutenant of cavalry. That same year he married Julia Harvey, with whom he would have six children....

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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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Adams, Charles (19 December 1845–19 August 1895), soldier and diplomat, was born Karl Adam Schwanbeck in Anclam, Pomerania, Germany, the son of Karl Heinrich Schwanbeck, a cabinetmaker, and Maria J. Markman. Adams was educated at the Gymnasium in Anclam and graduated with very high marks, especially in Greek, Hebrew, and Latin. Soon after his graduation in 1862, he moved to the United States. He had not been in the New World long before he enlisted in the Union army, serving in the Sixth Massachusetts Regiment. He fought in the Civil War for the remainder of the conflict and was wounded two times....

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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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Alexander, Edward Porter (26 May 1835–28 April 1910), Confederate soldier and author, was born in Washington, Georgia, the son of Adam Leopold Alexander, a planter and banker, and Sarah Hillhouse Gilbert. Educated by tutors in his wealthy family’s household, Alexander entered the U.S. Military Academy in 1853 and graduated third in the class of 1857. He was commissioned a brevet second lieutenant of engineers on 1 July 1857 and was promoted to second lieutenant on 10 October 1858. Marked from the first as a promising officer, he taught at West Point immediately upon graduation, accompanied ...

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Alexander, William (25 December 1726–15 January 1783), soldier and claimant to the title of Lord Stirling, was born in New York City, the son of James Alexander, a prominent lawyer, and Mary Spratt Provoost Alexander, a merchant. He grew up in privileged circumstances, receiving an education from his father and private tutors. Although overshadowed by his rich and assertive parents, he loved them and fell into an easy working relationship with his mother in her mercantile business. In 1748 he married Sarah Livingston, daughter of ...

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Allan, John (14 January 1746–07 February 1805), revolutionary war soldier, was born in Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh, Scotland, the son of Major William Allan, a British army officer, and Isabella Maxwell. In 1749, when Allan was only three years old, his father brought him and his mother to Nova Scotia to take part in founding the military colony of Halifax. After the dispersion of the Acadians in 1756, Allan’s father retired from the army and took up a tract of former Acadian land in Nova Scotia. Soon the elder Allan was a prominent and wealthy citizen of the province. In 1762 he sent John, his eldest son, to Massachusetts to round out the latter’s education. Much to his father’s chagrin, John Allan imbibed the political attitudes of the New England people and thus became an advocate of the old Whig cause against Britain. Upon his return to Nova Scotia, Allan settled down as a farmer and Indian trader; his business interests flourished, and soon he was wealthy. In 1767 he married Mary Patton, with whom over the next few years he had five children. He also served in positions of honor in his home county of Cumberland: clerk of the sessions and justice of the peace. Advancing to higher ranks, he was appointed clerk of the provincial supreme court, and from 1770 to 1776 he held a seat in the Parliament of Nova Scotia....

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Allen, Henry Tureman (13 April 1859–30 August 1930), soldier, was born at Sharpsburg, Kentucky, the son of Ruben Sanford Allen, a businessman, and Susannah Shumate. After a year at an academy in Georgetown, Kentucky, Allen was accepted at West Point, which he attended between 1878 and 1882. Commissioned a second lieutenant, the young officer posted at Fort Keogh in Montana Territory. In September 1884 he became aide-de-camp to General ...

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Allen, Henry Watkins (29 April 1820–22 April 1866), Confederate soldier and governor of Louisiana, was born in Prince Edward County, Virginia, the son of Thomas Allen, a physician, and Ann Watkins. Allen and his family moved from Virginia to Ray County, Missouri, when he was thirteen. His father secured him a position working in a store, but Allen found business distasteful and enrolled in Marion College at age fifteen. At seventeen he ran away from college and traveled to Grand Gulf, Mississippi, where he became a tutor on a plantation a few miles outside of town. After tutoring for two years, Allen moved to Grand Gulf to open his own school and to study law. On 25 May 1841 he received his license to practice law in Mississippi. In 1842, when Allen was becoming an established lawyer in Mississippi, President ...

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Edward Almond [left to right] Courtney Whitney, General Douglas MacArthur, and General Edward Almond, observing the shelling of Inchon from a U.S. Navy ship, 1950. Courtesy of the National Archives (NWDNS-111-SC-348438).

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Almond, Edward Mallory (12 December 1892–11 June 1979), army general, nicknamed Ned, was born in Luray, Virginia, the son of Walter Coles Almond, a farm implement salesman, and Grace Popham. Almond earned a bachelor of science degree at Virginia Military Institute, graduating third in the class of 1915. The next year, he received his commission as a U.S. Army second lieutenant and then graduated from Fort Leavenworth Army Service School in March 1917. When the United States declared war on Germany, Almond was with the Fourth Infantry Division, commanding a machine gun company. Seven months before leaving for France, he married Margaret Crook on 4 August 1917; the couple would have two children. Almond, now a captain, commanded the Twelfth Machine Gun Battalion in the Aisne-Marne and Meuse-Argonne campaigns, sustaining a shrapnel wound at the Vesle River and receiving a Purple Heart and a Silver Star. In July 1919 he left occupation duty with the Fourth Infantry in Germany to become a professor of military science and tactics at Marion Institute in Alabama....

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Adalbert Ames. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-B8172-1728).

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Ames, Adelbert (31 October 1835–13 April 1933), soldier and politician, was born in Rockland, Maine, the son of Jesse Ames, a sea captain, and Martha B. Tolman. After spending some time at sea as a teenager, Ames entered the U.S. Military Academy, graduating in 1861. He was commissioned a second lieutenant and assigned to the Fifth Artillery. During the Civil War he was wounded at First Bull Run (First Manassas) on 21 July, and he later received the Congressional Medal of Honor for his heroism there in refusing to leave his post despite the wound. He served with the Army of the Potomac during the Peninsula campaign of 1862, and for his actions at Malvern Hill he was brevetted lieutenant colonel. On 8 August 1862 he was named colonel in command of the Twentieth Maine Volunteer Infantry, with ...

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Amherst, Jeffery (29 January 1717–03 August 1797), British soldier and first baron Amherst, was born at Riverhead, Kent, England, the son of Jeffery Amherst, a barrister, and Elizabeth Kerrill. The family had close connections to the duke of Dorset, whom Jeffery served as a page at age twelve, and whose influence procured for him an ensign’s commission in the First Regiment of Foot Guards in 1731. His active service began in 1735 with the cavalry regiment of Sir John Ligonier, perhaps the ablest general in the British army. Serving as Ligonier’s aide-de-camp in the War of the Austrian Succession, Amherst saw action at the battles of Dettingen (1743) and Fontenoy (1745), became a lieutenant colonel in 1745, and was appointed aide-de-camp to the duke of Cumberland, commander in chief of allied forces in Europe....

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Anderson, George Thomas “Tige” (03 February 1824–04 April 1901), Confederate brigadier general, was born in Covington, Newton County, Georgia, the son of Joseph Stewart and Lucy Cunningham Anderson. Although his family was in comfortable circumstances, he early became accustomed to the hard work of farm life. After attending Emory College near his home, he served in the Mexican War from 1847 to 1848. Joining the Georgia Mounted Volunteers as a second lieutenant in 1847, Anderson participated in the fighting around Mexico City and served under Major General ...

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Joseph R. Anderson. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-B8172-2073).

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Anderson, Joseph Reid (16 February 1813–07 September 1892), industrialist and Confederate soldier, was born in Botetourt County in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, the son of William Anderson and Anna Thomas, farmers. Anderson received his early education in the local schools. After having been rejected twice, he entered the U.S. Military Academy in 1832 at age nineteen. Graduating fourth of forty-nine in 1836, he preferred a post in the elite Corps of Engineers but was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Third Artillery. Soon he was assigned to Fort Monroe, where he met his first wife, Sally Archer, daughter of the post physician, Dr. Robert Archer. They were married in the spring of 1837 and eventually had five children....