American Civil War Union Major General. Born in Stockbridge, Vermont, he was raised by his uncle in Easthampton, Massachusetts. He attended Williston Seminary in Easthampton and Union College in Schenectady, New York before entering the US Military Academy at West Point, New York in 1853, graduating with a commission as a 2nd lieutenant in 1857. He was assigned to arsenal duty at several locations, including assistant superintendent at the Watervliet Arsenal in New York. In January 1861 he was promoted to the rank of 1st lieutenant and when the American Civil War broke out the following April, he was the Chief of Ordinance in the Department of Northeastern Virginia. During the First Battle of Bull Run (or First Manassas) in July 1861, he was serving on the staff of Union General Irvin McDowell and continued to receive promotions. He then served as the Chief of Staff to Major General Benjamin Butler at New Orleans, Louisiana and in April 1862 he led an assault against Biloxi, Mississippi and later against Ponchatoula, Louisiana. In November 1862 he was promoted to the rank of brigadier general of volunteers and the following spring he served in the Department of the South under Major General Quincy A. Gillmore. On July 18, 1863 he commanded the brigade that included the all-Black 54th Massachusetts Infantry during its heralded and unsuccessful assault of Fort Wagner, South Carolina at the Second Battle of Fort Wagner, in which he was critically wounded. He was evacuated to New York City, New York where he died of tetanus at the age of 30, 12 days after the battle. The day after his death, he was promoted to the rank of major general. The book "Cadet Life at West Point by an Officer of the United States Army" (1862) is attributed to him.
Bio by: William Bjornstad