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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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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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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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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....

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Anderson, Robert (14 June 1805–26 October 1871), soldier and hero of Fort Sumter, was born in Jefferson County, Kentucky, at “Soldier’s Retreat,” the family plantation. His father, Richard Clough Anderson, an officer of the Continental Line, moved to Kentucky after the Revolution; his mother, Sarah Marshall Anderson, was Richard’s second wife. Robert graduated from West Point in 1825, fifteenth in a class of thirty-seven. Commissioned a second lieutenant in the Third Artillery, he served for a time as secretary to his half-brother ...

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André, John (02 May 1750–02 October 1780), British officer and spy, was born in London, England, the son of Anthony André, a merchant, and Marie Louise Girardot. His early schooling was with a tutor, the Reverend Thomas Newcomb, and he may have attended St. Paul’s School. In his teens André studied mathematics and military drawing at the University of Geneva, giving vent to his romantic temperament by dreaming of a military career. He was rudely brought back to reality by his merchant father when he was called home to work in the countinghouse before he completed a degree. Despising the family business, he nevertheless labored at it manfully for a number of years. After his father died on 14 April 1769, he felt a particular obligation as the eldest son to continue the business, even though his father had left him financially independent, with a small fortune of £5,000. In the summer of 1769 he joined a Lichfield literary group presided over by Anna Seward, a poet. The group included a young lady named Honora Sneyd, for whom he developed a passion. They became engaged and courted for a year and a half before she suddenly rejected him for another man at a Christmas party in 1770. Shattered by this betrayal, André revived his earlier ambition to become a soldier and in early 1771 bought a second lieutenant’s commission in the 23d Regiment, Royal Welsh Fusiliers. Later he purchased a first lieutenancy in the same regiment....

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Andrews, Frank Maxwell (03 February 1884–03 May 1943), army officer and airman, was born in Nashville, Tennessee, the son of James David Andrews, a newspaper reporter, and Louise Adeline Maxwell. He graduated from the Montgomery Bell Academy in 1901 and the following year gained admittance to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Graduating in 1906, Andrews was commissioned a second lieutenant in the cavalry. He spent the next eleven years drawing routine assignments in the American West, Hawaii, and the Philippines. In 1914 he married Jeanette Allen, the daughter of Major General ...

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Arnold, Benedict (14 January 1741–14 June 1801), revolutionary war general and traitor, was born in Norwich, Connecticut, the son of Benedict Arnold III, a merchant, and Hannah Waterman King. Of his mother’s eleven children, only he and a younger sister survived. At age eleven he was sent away to grammar school, but he left two years later when his alcoholic father lost the family’s fortune. Apprenticed to his mother’s cousin, an apothecary in Norwich, he volunteered in three campaigns (1757–1759) of the French and Indian War, deserting finally to be with his dying mother. His father died soon after, leaving little except debts, but his generous master paid the debts and set Arnold up in business when he decided to move to New Haven in 1762....

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Arnold, Henry Harley (25 June 1886–15 January 1950), airman, was born in Gladwyne, Pennsylvania, the son of Herbert Alonzo Arnold, a physician, and Anna Louise Harley. Arnold received a public education and in 1903 entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. A mediocre student, he graduated in the middle of his class in 1907 and was commissioned a second lieutenant of infantry. He served four years with the Twenty-ninth Regiment in the Philippines and New York before volunteering for flight training with the Aviation Section of the Signal Corps. In April 1911 Arnold reported to Dayton, Ohio, and received instruction from the Wright brothers. Two months later he joined the army’s first cadre of military aviators. Arnold subsequently transferred to College Park, Maryland, as a flight instructor and on 1 June 1912 established a world altitude record of 6,540 feet. This act garnered him the first-ever Mackay trophy....

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Augur, Christopher Colon (10 July 1821–16 January 1898), soldier, was born in Kendall, New York, the son of Ammon Augur and Annis Wellman. Ammon Augur died within a year of Christopher’s birth, and the widow and son soon moved to Michigan.

Christopher was appointed to the U.S. Military Academy from Michigan and reported for duty at West Point as a plebe in July 1839. He stood sixteenth in the class that graduated on 1 July 1843. In the class of 1843 were thirteen young men, besides Augur, who would become general officers during the Civil War, including ...

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Averell, William Woods (05 November 1832–03 February 1900), Union general and businessman, was born in Cameron (Steuben County), New York, the son of Hiram Averell and Huldah Hemenway, farmers. Averell attended the U.S. Military Academy, graduating in 1855, twenty-sixth in a class of thirty-four, only excelling in horsemanship. He then served with the cavalry in the Southwest and was seriously wounded during a fight against the Navajos at Canyon de Chelly, New Mexico Territory (1858). He was in New York on convalescent leave when the Civil War began....

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Ayres, Romeyn Beck (20 December 1825–04 December 1888), soldier, was born at the crossroads of East Creek in Montgomery County, New York. His father was a small-town physician who was dedicated to raising his sons for professional life. He trained Romeyn rigorously in Latin until he was fluent in the language. At age seventeen Ayres received an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and graduated twenty-second in the class of 1847. He was subsequently commissioned a brevet second lieutenant in the Fourth U.S. Artillery and was sent to Mexico, where he performed garrison duty at Puebla and Mexico City. Following his return from Mexico, Ayres’s service consisted of routine garrison duty at various army posts in Maine, Rhode Island, Texas, New York, California, Minnesota, Kansas, and Virginia....

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Baker, Edward Dickinson (24 February 1811–21 October 1861), statesman and soldier, was born in London, England, the son of Edward Baker, an educator, and Lucy Dickinson. The family emigrated to the United States in 1815 and lived in Philadelphia for about ten years. The elder Baker ran a school that young Edward attended until he secured employment as a hand loom weaver. Attracted by ...

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Banks, Nathaniel Prentiss (30 January 1816–01 September 1894), congressman and Civil War general, was born in Waltham, Massachusetts, the son of Nathaniel P. Banks, a textile mill foreman, and Rebecca Greenwood. He attended a school for factory children until he began work in the mills as a bobbin boy at age eleven. At seventeen he left factory work to assist his father in carpentry and to learn the machinist’s trade....

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Barnard, John Gross (19 May 1815–14 May 1882), soldier, engineer, and scientist, was born in Sheffield, Massachusetts, the son of Robert Foster Barnard and Augusta Roberta Porter. He was the younger brother of the distinguished educator Frederick Augustus Barnard, president and chancellor of the University of Mississippi and president of Columbia College (now Columbia University) in New York City. Barnard graduated second in his 1833 class of the U.S. Military Academy and was commissioned in the Corps of Engineers. He married Jane Elizabeth Brand, who died in 1853. He married Anna E. Hall Boyd in 1860....

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Barnes, Joseph K. (21 July 1817–05 April 1883), U.S. Army medical officer and surgeon general, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Joseph Barnes, for many years a judge of the Philadelphia district court. His mother’s name is not known. After attending a private school in Northampton, Massachusetts, Barnes entered Harvard University but was unable to complete his studies there because of poor health. After studying medicine with U.S. Navy surgeon Thomas Harris, later the navy’s surgeon general, he began attending lectures in medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, from which he received his M.D. in 1838. He then served a year as a hospital resident in Philadelphia and another year as physician to that city’s poor. The date of his marriage to Mary Fauntleroy is unknown; they had no children....

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Barry, William Farquhar (18 August 1818–18 July 1879), soldier, was born in New York City, the son of Caroline M. (maiden name unknown). The full name of his father, who died when Barry was a youth, is unknown. Tutored by his mother, who gave him an “unusual knowledge” of the classics, Barry also attended high school in New York before entering the U.S. Military Academy in 1834. Four years later he graduated in the upper third of his class. He was posted to the Second U.S. Artillery, and his initial service was on the Canadian border during that country’s “Patriot War” (1837–1838). In 1840, while stationed at Buffalo, New York, he married Kate McKnight....

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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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Bendire, Charles Emil (27 April 1836–04 February 1897), naturalist and soldier, was born Karl Emil Bender at König im Odenwald in Hesse-Darmstadt (now in Germany). The identities of his parents are not known. At age twelve he began his studies at a theological seminary in Passy, France. Misconduct led to his departure five years later. In 1853 he immigrated to the United States and anglicized his name to Charles Bendire. The following year he joined the First Dragoons in the U.S. Army. During his second enlistment, which began in 1860, he became a sergeant and later hospital steward in the Fourth Cavalry....

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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....