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Bloomfield, Joseph (18 October 1753–08 October 1823), lawyer, soldier, and politician, was born in Woodbridge, New Jersey, the son of Moses Bloomfield, a physician, and Sarah Ogden. The family was one of the most prominent in colonial New Jersey. His father had received a first-rate medical education in Edinburgh, Scotland, and had a thriving practice in Middlesex County by the time Joseph was born. Joseph’s mother was a member of a wealthy and influential family of Elizabethtown, which further assured Joseph’s upper-class pedigree. His education and choice of occupation were in line with his social standing. While in his early teens, he attended the Reverend Enoch Green’s classical academy in Deerfield, Cumberland County, at the opposite end of the province from Woodbridge. Upon graduation, Bloomfield returned to East Jersey, determined to be a lawyer. He entered the profession at the top, studying in Perth Amboy with Cortlandt Skinner, attorney general of New Jersey, and was admitted to the bar in November 1774. Setting up practice in Bridgeton, Cumberland County, he soon became known and respected in all of New Jersey’s southern counties. The future seemed secure, had not the American Revolution intervened....

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William Grayson. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-98918).

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Grayson, William (1736–12 March 1790), lawyer, soldier, and statesman, was born in Prince William County, Virginia, the son of Susanna Monroe and Benjamin Grayson, a merchant and factor. He attended the College of Philadelphia (now the University of Pennsylvania), graduating in 1760. Some controversy exists concerning whether he next proceeded to Oxford or to Edinburgh, but the absence of his name from the rolls at Oxford, coupled with his great devotion to the teachings of Adam Smith, seems to militate in favor of the Scottish university. According to tradition, he then received legal training at the Inns of Court. He married Eleanor Smallwood....

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Taliaferro, William Booth (22 December 1822–27 February 1898), lawyer, politician, and soldier, was born in Gloucester County, Virginia, the son of Warren T. Taliaferro, a prominent Eastern Shore attorney, and Frances Booth. After graduating from the College of William and Mary in 1841, Taliaferro attended Harvard then returned to Gloucester County to practice law. Since the age of sixteen Taliaferro had held a commission in the Virginia militia, and in 1847 he applied for and received a commission as captain in the Eleventh U.S. Infantry. As a company commander, he served at the siege of Veracruz and the battles that punctuated the advance on Mexico City. He ended the Mexican War as a major in the Ninth U.S. Infantry. In 1853 he married Sally N. Lyons; they had eight children. Taliaferro was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in 1850, serving until 1853, and rose to the rank of major general in Virginia state military service. In that capacity, in November 1859, he took command of the Virginia militia at Harpers Ferry after the failure of the raid led by ...

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Van Wyck, Charles Henry (10 May 1824–24 October 1895), lawyer, politician, and soldier, was born in Poughkeepsie, New York, the son of Theodore Van Wyck, a physician, and Elizabeth Mason. Charles Van Wyck grew up in Bloomingburgh, Sullivan County, New York, in a distinguished Dutch family. While little is known about his early education, he entered Rutgers College and graduated in 1843. After studying law for a few years, he was admitted to the New York bar in 1847 and opened a practice in his native Sullivan County. In 1850 Van Wyck entered a long and somewhat uneven career in politics, winning the position of public defender for Sullivan County, a position he held until 1856....