Civil War Union Brigadier General. Born at Fairfax County, Virginia, he came from a military family, as his grandfather had been a General in the Revolutionary War, and his father, a graduate of the United States Military Academy in 1815, died in the service of his country in 1840. He graduated from West Point in 1845, placing 27th in a class of 41 that included future Union Generals Fitz John Porter, Gordon Granger and David Russell, as well as future Confederate Generals William Whiting, Edmund Kirby Smith and Bernard E. Bee. He was posted to the Dragoons and was wounded in a fight with a band of Apaches at Cienequilla, New Mexico, on March 30, 1854. At the outbreak of the Civil War he was serving in California and remained with the Union when his state seceded. Heading east, he took command of a brigade near Washington D.C. He was promoted to Brigadier General, US Volunteers in February 1862, and led his brigade in the Army of the Potomac’s IV and later in the VI Corps during the Spring 1862 Peninsular Campaign. During the June Battle of the Seven Days he earned Regular Army brevets for the Battles of Gaines' Mill and Golding's Farm. Transferred to Missouri that summer, he commanded the District of St. Louis. He participated in the operations that resulted in the capture of Little Rock, Arkansas and received a brevet of Brigadier General, US Regular Army. He finished the war in charge at Natchez, Mississippi, and was brevetted Major General in both the Regular and Volunteer services for his war record. Mustered out of the volunteers on January 15, 1866, he remained on active duty, being commissioned Lieutenant Colonel and assigned to the 10th United States Cavalry. Since the regiment consisted of black buffalo soldiers, he soon acquired the nickname "Black Jack." From 1868 until 1871, he was a professor of military science-tactics at the Kansas Agricultural College. With the outbreak of the Red River War, he was called into action in the Texas Panhandle in search of Indians. Despite suffering several hardships during the two month pursuit, he and his subordinates destroyed several Indian camps and captured nearly 400 Indians and over 2,000 of their horses before returning to Fort Sill. In March 1875 he relinquished regimental command, and was transferred to Fort Griffin in Shackelford County, Texas. In December 1876 he became commander at Fort Richardson until its abandonment in 1878, then once more at Fort Sill. In January 1879 he was sent to command the garrison at Fort Elliott. Promoted to Colonel of the 2nd United States Cavalry on June 25, he took command of the regiment at Fort Custer, Montana. On February 8, 1881, he was seriously injured during an inspection tour when his horse slipped on ice and fell on top of him. He died at St. Paul, Minnesota, on June 26, 1881. He was originally buried in the Bellefontaine Cemetery in St. Louis, Missouri, however his remains were reinterred in Arlington in 1911.
Bio by: Ugaalltheway
Clara B. McGunnegle Davidson