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MG Emory Upton

MG Emory Upton

Birth
Batavia, Genesee County, New York, USA
Death 14 Mar 1881 (aged 41)
San Francisco, San Francisco County, California, USA
Burial Auburn, Cayuga County, New York, USA
Plot Throop-Martin Section 74 (Mount Hope) on top of mound
Memorial ID 1052 · View Source
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Civil War Union Brigadier General. He was born on a farm near Batavia, NY on August 27, 1839, one of ten children of Daniel and Electra Upton. After a year at Oberlin College, he was appointed to the US Military Academy at West Point and graduated 8th in the Class of 1861. The Civil War had just begun, and the fiercely intelligent Upton, impatient with the blunders of the Union high command, was determined to make a difference. During the course of the war he proved to be a "triple threat", commanding artillery, infantry and cavalry with consummate skill. Although a disciplinarian by nature, he had a deep and genuine respect for the men he led, and was possessed of admirable courage and tenacity. After being seriously wounded during the Battle of Opequon, he returned to the field on a stretcher. The most distinguishing feature of Upton's success, however, was his brilliant use of tactics, and by 1864 he had been brevetted a major-general. Upton devoted most of the postwar decade to West Point, where he taught, wrote, served as Commandant of Cadets, and after the official adoption of his system of infantry tactics in 1867, established a legacy as one of the most influential military thinkers in American history. In 1868 his personal happiness also seemed secure when he wed 21-year-old Emily Martin of the prominent Throop-Martin family of Auburn, NY. The couple were very much in love, but their lives took a tragic turn after the bride developed tuberculosis. In 1870 young Mrs. Upton journeyed to the Bahamas where it was hoped her health would be restored, but her condition continued its rapid decline. She died in Nassau before her husband, detained in the US by his military duties, could join her. Upton was devastated by his wife's death; although he was only 28 at the time, he would never remarry. In 1875 he left West Point on detached service, spending nearly 2 years abroad as an official observer with foreign armies in Europe and Asia. According to some historians, he subsequently lost confidence in many of his military theories, which further depressed his spirits. After returning to the US, Upton was ultimately given command of the Presidio in San Francisco. By this time he had begun to suffer incapacitating headaches, possibly the result of a brain tumor. On March 14, 1881 he was in the throes of one such headache when he retired to his quarters. Upon hearing the report of a gun shortly afterwards, an orderly rushed in to find that the 41-year-old general had shot himself in the head. Emory Upton's suicide stunned the army and all who knew him, but his loss was especially felt by his grieving in-laws. They buried him with his beloved Emily in the Throop-Martin family plot, where Upton's comrades-in-arms Myles Keogh and brother-in-law A.J. Alexander are also interred, as well as nephew Upton Alexander, his namesake and heir.

Bio by: Nikita Barlow


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 1 Jan 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 1052
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for MG Emory Upton (27 Aug 1839–14 Mar 1881), Find A Grave Memorial no. 1052, citing Fort Hill Cemetery, Auburn, Cayuga County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .