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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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Blair, Francis Preston, Jr. (19 February 1821–09 July 1875), statesman and Union army officer, was born in Lexington, Kentucky, the son of Francis Preston Blair, the influential editor of the Congressional Globe, and Eliza Violet Gist Blair. He was a brother of Montgomery Blair...

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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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Dix, John Adams (24 July 1798–21 April 1879), politician and general, was born in Boscawen, New Hampshire, the son of Timothy Dix, a merchant, and Abigail Wilkins. He received a varied liberal education, including a year at Phillips Exeter Academy and fifteen months at the College of Montreal. At age fourteen, while being tutored in Boston, Dix pleaded to join the army to defend the nation in the War of 1812. His father, a major, helped him to obtain a commission, and he served in battles at Chrysler’s Field (1813) and Lundy’s Lane (1814). His father’s death during the war caused Dix to stay in the army to help support his stepmother and siblings. Serving as an aide to Major General ...

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Hartranft, John Frederick (16 December 1830–17 October 1889), Civil War officer and politician, was born near Pottstown, Pennsylvania, the child of Samuel E. Hartranft, a local landowner, and Lydia Bucher, both of German ancestry. He graduated from Union College in 1853 with a degree in civil engineering. About the same time as his marriage to Sallie Sebring (with whom he had one son and two daughters) in 1854, Hartranft changed his life’s vocation to law and politics....

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Hawley, Joseph Roswell (31 October 1826–18 March 1905), soldier, editor, and politician, was born in Stewartsville, North Carolina, the son of Francis Hawley, a Baptist minister, and Mary McLeod. Hawley’s father wrote and spoke widely against the sins of affluence and slavery, and when the boy was eleven, his family moved to his father’s native state, Connecticut. Young Hawley was educated there and in New York. In 1847 he graduated from Hamilton College, and during the early 1850s he taught school and embarked on a law career....

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Hurlbut, Stephen Augustus (29 November 1815–27 March 1882), army officer and politician, was born in Charleston, South Carolina, the son of Martin Luther Hurlbut, a Unitarian minister and teacher, and Lydia Bunce. He studied law with prominent Charleston Unionist lawyer James L. Petigru...

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McClernand, John Alexander (30 May 1812–20 September 1900), politician and soldier, was born near Hardinsburg, Kentucky, the son of John A. McClernand, a physician, and Fatima Cummins Seaton. His father died when McClernand was four, and he was raised by his mother in and near Shawneetown, Illinois, where he attended school and studied law. Admitted to the bar in 1832, he soon enlisted in the ...

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Sickles, Daniel Edgar (20 October 1819–03 May 1914), politician, soldier, and diplomat, was born in New York City, the son of George Garrett Sickles, a lawyer, and Susan Marsh. Young Sickles briefly attended New York University prior to entering law practice in 1840; he was admitted to the bar in 1843 and soon became affiliated with Tammany Hall, the Democratic political machine that controlled New York City....

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Sigel, Franz (18 November 1824–21 August 1902), soldier, educator, and politician, was born in Sinsheim, Grand Duchy of Baden, the son of Franz Moritz Sigel, a chief magistrate, and Maria Anna Lichtenauer. Sigel graduated from the military academy at Karlsruhe in 1843 and entered the service of the Grand Duke of Baden as a lieutenant. He played a conspicuous role in the revolutionary ferment that swept Baden five years later. During the 1848 revolt for unification of the German states along liberal constitutional lines, he held a command in the revolutionary army in Baden. Defeated by the Prussian army, he fled to Switzerland. In 1849, after a revolutionary government came to power, Sigel returned to Baden and became secretary of war. Prussian troops entered Baden soon after to restore the deposed government. Sigel took the field as adjutant to the commander of the army, which was defeated at the battle of Waghäusel. With the revolution over, Sigel took command of the beaten army and conducted a difficult retreat to Switzerland. He would be fondly remembered by his fellow exiles as a magnificent failure in a memorable cause....

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Steedman, James Blair (29 July 1817–18 October 1883), army officer and politician, was born in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania, the son of Mellum Steedman and Margaret Blair. Steedman was orphaned at an early age and received little formal education. Instead, he took up the trade of printing and worked on newspapers in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, and Louisville, Kentucky. He was a big, bluff, fearless man, fond of adventure and never intimidated. During the 1830s he served a stint as a volunteer in the army of the young Republic of Texas. Returning to the United States, he made his home in Ohio. In Napoleon, Ohio, in 1838, he married Miranda Stiles. During the 1840s he served two terms in the Ohio legislature....

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Stevens, Isaac Ingalls (25 March 1818–01 September 1862), military leader and politician, was born in North Andover, Massachusetts, the son of Isaac Stevens and Hannah Cummings, moderately well-to-do farmers. After attending local schools and Phillips Academy, Stevens received appointment to the U.S. Military Academy in 1835, from which he graduated first in his class in 1839....

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Wadsworth, James Samuel (30 October 1807–08 May 1864), politician and soldier, was born at Geneseo, New York, the son of James Wadsworth and Naomi Wolcott. By the time of Wadsworth’s birth, his father was the wealthiest land proprietor in New York State. Wadsworth attended Harvard for two years in the class of 1828, but he failed to secure a degree. He then read law under ...