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 John Gibbon

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John Gibbon

Civil War Union Major General. Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, when he was a small boy his family moved to Charlotte, North Carolina. It was from this state that he entered the United States Military Academy at West Point, graduating 20th in the class of 1847 that included future Union General Ambrose E. Burnside and future Confederate General Ambrose P. Hill. After service in the Mexican and Seminole wars and 5 years at West Point as artillery instructor, he was sent to Fort Leavenworth as Captain of the 4th United States Regular Artillery. Though 3 of his brothers enlisted in the Confederate Army when the war began, he remained with the Union. He had written the basic “Artillerist's Manual”, published by the War Department in 1860, and because of his qualifications Brigadier General Irvin McDowell made him chief of artillery in October 1861. However, when he became a Brigadier General of Volunteers himself, on May 2, 1862, he was given a brigade of 1 Indiana and 3 Wisconsin regiments. To bolster their morale he had them distinctively outfitted with tall black felt hats and white gaiters, and they became known as the Black Hat Brigade. A few months later, at South Mountain, thanks to a compliment from Major General Joseph Hooker, it became known as the Iron Brigade. He went on to divisional command in Major General John F. Reynolds' I Corps. He was wounded at the December 1862 Battle of Fredericksburg, and returned to lead the 2nd Division of Major General Winfield S. Hancock's II Corps. Wounded again at Gettysburg, he commanded briefly the draft depots at Philadelphia and Cleveland. He returned to his division in time to fight through all the battles of Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant's 1864 Overland Campaign against Petersburg, Virginia. He was promoted to Major General, US Volunteers on June 7, 1864. By January 1865 he was commanding the XXIV Corps and at Appomattox was one of the commissioners who received the surrender of General Robert E. Lee's army. Having received brevets in the Regular Army up to Major General, he was mustered out of the volunteer establishment on January 15, 1866. Remaining on active duty after the war, he fought Indians in the West. He participated in the Little Big Horn Campaign, where he commanded the troops that discovered and buried George A. Custer's troops after the battle. He was wounded once more the next year at Big Hole Basin, Montana. He was promoted to Brigadier General in the Regular Army on July 10, 1885. He later wrote a book, “Personal Recollections of the Civil War”, and was commander in chief of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States when he died in Baltimore.

Bio by: Ugaalltheway


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 21 Mar 1999
  • Find A Grave Memorial 4836
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for John Gibbon (20 Apr 1827–6 Feb 1896), Find A Grave Memorial no. 4836, citing Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .