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Gen James Birdseye McPherson
Birth: Nov. 14, 1828
Clyde
Sandusky County
Ohio, USA
Death: Jul. 22, 1864
Atlanta
Fulton County
Georgia, USA

American Civil War Union Major General. He served as the commander of the Army of Tennessee from March 1864 until his death. The son of a farmer, he worked on the family farm and blacksmith business. At the age of 13 his father, who had a history of mental illness, became unable to work and he took a job at a store to help support the family. In 1849 he received an appointment to attend the US Military Academy at West Point, New York and graduated at the top of his class in 1853 with a commission as a 2nd lieutenant in the Army Corps of Engineers. He remained at West Point for a year, serving as an Assistant Professor of Practical Engineering before receiving his first assignment to improve the New York Harbor in New York City, New York. In 1857 he was assigned to San Francisco, California to work on improving fortifications in the area. After the outbreak of the American Civil War in April 1861, he requested a transfer to the Eastern US and was assigned to Boston, Massachusetts for service in the Corps of Engineers at the rank of captain. The following November he requested for a position on the staff of Major General Henry W. Halleck, the commander of the Department of Missouri, and was sent to St. Louis, Missouri where he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel and assigned as chief engineer on the staff of Brigadier General Ulysses S. Grant. In 1862 he saw action at Fort Henry, the Battle of Fort Donelson, and the Battle of Shiloh and in May of that year, he was promoted by Grant to the rank of brigadier general. In the fall of 1862 he commanded an infantry brigade during the campaigns around Corinth and Iuka, Mississippi and his superior performance earned him a promotion to the rank of major general in October. The following December Grant's Army of the Tennessee was reorganized and he received command of the 17th Corps and played a key part in Grant's Vicksburg, Mississippi campaign in late 1862 and 1863. In the course of the campaign, he actively participated in the Union victories in Mississippi at Raymond, Jackson, Champion Hill, and the Siege of Vicksburg. After Vicksburg surrendered on July 4, 1863 he remained in Mississippi to conduct minor operations against Confederate forces there. In March 1864 Grant made him commander of the Army of Tennessee and moved with General William Tecumseh Sherman in his march through Georgia that began in May of that year. Confronted by Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston's strong position at Rocky Face Ridge and Dalton, Georgia, Sherman dispatched him south to Snake Creek Gap and from this undefended gap, he was to strike at Resaca, Georgia and sever the railroad which was supplying the Confederates to the north. On May 9, 1864 he became concerned that Johnston would move south and cut him off and as a result, he withdrew to the gap and failed to take Resaca despite the fact the city was lightly defended. Sherman later blamed his cautiousness on May 9 for preventing a great Union victory. On June 27, 1864 his forces took part in the defeat at Kennesaw Mountain. On July 22, 1864 Confederate General John B. Hood planned to attack McPherson's forces when he learned that his left flank was exposed, in what became known as the Battle of Atlanta. Riding to the sound of the guns, with only his orderly as an escort, he entered a gap between Major General Grenville Dodge's 16th Corps and Major General Francis P. Blair's 17th Corps. As he advanced, a line of Confederate skirmishers appeared and ordered him to halt. After refusing, he tried to flee and the Confederates killed him as he tried to escape. He was 35 years old. A bronze and concrete memorial in his honor was erected in October 1876 at McPherson Square in Washington DC. Both the city and county of McPherson Kansas were named in his honor. (bio by: William Bjornstad) 
 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  William R McPherson (1796 - 1847)
  Cynthia Russell McPherson (1805 - 1883)
 
 Siblings:
  James Birdseye McPherson (1828 - 1864)
  Emeline E. McPherson VanDerCook (1830 - 1884)*
  Russell Bigelow McPherson (1832 - 1877)*
  William H McPherson (1835 - 1871)*
 
*Calculated relationship

Cause of death: Killed at the Battle of Atlanta
 
Burial:
McPherson Cemetery
Clyde
Sandusky County
Ohio, USA
Plot: Section 1, Lot 161, Space 4
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Record added: Feb 01, 1999
Find A Grave Memorial# 4423
Gen James Birdseye McPherson
Added by: littledarla
 
Gen James Birdseye McPherson
Added by: trish castle
 
Gen James Birdseye McPherson
Added by: Art Loux
 
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- Rebecca Marden
 Added: Dec. 6, 2014
Happy Birthday James. You will always be remembered.
- Caroline
 Added: Nov. 14, 2014

- R I P
 Added: Nov. 14, 2014
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