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Bill Thayer

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 [decorative delimiter] Class of 1845

Vol. II

(Born N. Y.)

Gordon Granger

(Ap'd N. Y.)


Born Nov. 6, 1821,​a1 Wayne Co., NY.

Military History. — Cadet at the Military Academy, July 1, 1841, to July 1, 1845, when he was graduated and promoted in the Army to

Bvt. Second Lieut., 2d Infantry, July 1, 1845.

Served: in garrison at Detroit Barracks, Mich., 1845‑46, — and Jefferson

(Transferred to Mounted Rifles, July 17, 1846)

Barracks, Mo. 1846; in the War with Mexico, 1846‑48, being engaged in the Siege of Vera Cruz, Mar. 9‑29, 1847, — Battle of Cerro

(Second Lieut., Mounted Rifles, May 29, 1847)

Gordo, Apr. 17‑18, 1847, — Battle of Contreras, Aug. 19‑20, 1847, —

(Bvt. First Lieut., Aug. 20, 1847,
for Gallant and Meritorious Conduct
in the Battles of Contreras and Churubusco, Mex.)

Battle of Churubusco, Aug. 20, 1847, — Battle of Chapultepec, Sep. 13,

(Bvt. Capt., Sep. 13, 1847,
for Gallant and Meritorious Conduct
in the Battle of Chapultepec, Mex.)

1847, — and Assault and Capture of the City of Mexico, Sep. 13‑14, 1847; in garrison at Jefferson Barracks, Mo., 1848; on Recruiting service, 1848‑49; on frontier duty, on the March to Oregon, 1849, — Ft. Hall, Wash., 1849, — March to the Dalles, Or., 1849‑50, — and at Ft. Vancouver, Wash., 1850‑51, — on leave of absence in Europe, 1851‑52; on frontier duty at Ft. Merrill, Tex., 1852, — escorting Commanding General of

(First Lieut., Mounted Rifles, May 24, 1852)

the Department of Texas, 1852, — Ft. Ewell, Tex., 1852, — Scouting, 1852, — Ft. McIntosh, Tex., 1853, — Ringgold Barracks, Tex., 1853, — Scouting, 1853, being engaged in the Pursuit and Destruction of a Band of 15 hostile Indians, at Golondrina Pass, Tex., June 18, 1853, — Ft. Inge, Tex., 1853, — Ft. Merrill, Tex., 1854, — Scouting, 1854; Ft. Merrill, Tex., 1854‑55, — Corpus Christi, Tex., 1855, — conducting Recruits to Texas, 1855, — San Antonio, Tex., 1856, — Scouting, 1856, being engaged against Lipan Indians, in a Skirmish on the Nueces River, Tex., Apr. 13, 1856, — and at Ft. McIntosh, Tex., 1856; on Recruiting service, 1856‑58; on frontier duty, conducting Recruits to New Mexico, 1858, — Ft. Craig, N. M., 1858, — escorting commanding officer of the Department of New  p238 Mexico, 1858‑59, — and at Ft. Craig, N. M., 1859‑60; and on sick leave of absence, 1860‑61.

Served during the Rebellion of the Seceding States, 1861‑66: on Mustering Duty in Ohio, being attached to the Staff of Major-General Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.McClellan, with the State appointment of Lieut.‑Colonel, Apr. 23 to

(Captain, Mounted Rifles, May 5, 1861: 3d Cavalry, Aug. 3, 1861)

May 31, 1861; in conducting Recruits to Ft. Leavenworth, Kan., May to June, 1861; on Expedition to Southeast Missouri, as Acting Asst. Adjutant-General of Major Sturgis's command, June 26 to Aug. 31, 1861, being engaged in the Action at Dug Spring, Aug. 2, 1861, — Battle of Wilson's Creek, Aug. 10, 1861, — and Retreat to Rolla, Aug., 1861; in

(Bvt. Major, Aug. 10, 1861,
for Gallant and Meritorious Conduct
in the Battle of Wilson's Creek, Mo.)

command of St. Louis Arsenal, Mo., Sep. 1 to Dec. 31, 1861; in command

(Colonel, 2d Michigan Volunteer Cavalry, Sep. 2, 1861)

of 3d Brigade (Army of the Mississippi), in the Movement on New Madrid, Mo., terminating in its Occupation, Mar. 14, 1862, — and Capture

(Brig.‑General, U. S. Volunteers, Mar. 26, 1862)

of Island No. 10, in the Mississippi River, Apr. 8, 1862; in the Mississippi Campaign, in command of the Cavalry of the Army of the Mississippi, being engaged in the Advance upon and Siege of Corinth, Apr. 22 to May 30, 1862, — and Pursuit of Rebels to Baldwin, May 30 to June 10, 1862; in command of 5th Division and Cavalry (Army of the Mississippi), Aug. 1 to Sep. 5, 1862, — of the Army of Kentucky, Oct. 7

(Major-General, U. S. Volunteers, Sep. 17, 1862)

to Nov. 17, 1862, — and of the District of Central Kentucky, Nov. 17, 1862, to Jan. 25, 1863; in Operations in Tennessee, being engaged in command of Franklin, Feb. to Mar., 1863, — Pursuit of Rebels under Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Van Dorn to Duck River, Mar., 1863, — in Defense of Franklin, Mar. to June, 1863, defeating the Assault of Van Dorn upon the place, Apr. 10, 1863, — and Repulsing Forrest's Raid upon Triune, June 11, 1863; in Major-General Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Rosecrans' Tennessee Campaign, and commanding District of the Cumberland, June 24 to Oct. 10, 1863, being engaged in the Advance on Tullahoma, June 24 to July 4, 1863, — Capture of Guy's Gap and Shelbyville, June 27, 1863, — Crossing the Cumberland Mountains and Tennessee River, Aug. 15 to Sep. 4, 1863, — Battle of Chickamauga, Sep. 19‑20, 1863, — and Occupation of Chattanooga, Sep. 21, to Oct. 10,

(Bvt. Lieut.‑Colonel, Sep. 20, 1863,
for Gallant and Meritorious Conduct
in the Battle of Chickamauga, Ga.)

1863; in command of 4th Corps (Army of the Cumberland), in Occupation of and Operations about Chattanooga, Oct. 10, 1863, to Apr., 1864, — Battle of Missionary Ridge, Nov. 23‑25, 1863, — and Pursuit of the

(Bvt. Colonel, Nov. 24, 1863,
for Gallant and Meritorious Conduct in the Battle of Chattanooga, Ten.)

enemy, Nov. 26, 1863; in the Movement to the relief of Knoxville and in Occupation of East Tennessee, Nov. 28, 1863, to Apr. 11, 1864; in command of Division in the Military Division of West Mississippi, June 30 to Sep. 12, 1864, being engaged in Operations against Ft. Gaines, Ala., Aug. 4‑8, 1864, — and Siege and Bombardment of Ft. Morgan, Ala., Aug. 10‑22, 1864; in command of District of West Florida and Southern Alabama (Department of the Gulf), Sep. 12, 1864, to Feb. 26, 1865, and of 13th Army Corps, Feb. 26 to June 16, 1865, being engaged

 p239  (Bvt. Brig.‑General, Mar. 13, 1865,
for Gallant and Meritorious Services
in the Capture of Mobile, Ala.)

(Bvt. Major-General, U. S. Army, Mar. 13, 1865,
for Distinguished Gallantry and Good Conduct
at the Capture of Fts. Gaines and Morgan, Ala.)

in the Siege of Spanish Fort, Mar. 27 to Apr. 8, 1865, — Storming of Blakely, Apr. 9, 1865, — Surrender of Mobile, Apr. 12, 1865, — and Occupation of Mobile, Apr. 12 to June 16, 1865; in command of District of Texas, June 19 to Aug. 2, 1865, — and of the Department of Kentucky,

(Mustered out of Volunteer Service, Jan. 15, 1866)

Aug. 12, 1865, to Jan. 15, 1866; and awaiting orders, Jan. 15 to Apr. 15, 1866.

Colonel, 25th Infantry, July 28, 1866.

Served: on leave of absence, Apr. 15, 1866, to Sep. 1, 1867; in command of District of Memphis, Sep. 1, 1867, to Feb. 18, 1868; on leave of absence, Feb. 18 to Oct. 6, 1868; in command of District of Memphis, Oct. 6, 1868, to Mar., 1869; awaiting orders, to Dec. 15, 1870, and on

(Unassigned, Apr. 3, 1869)

leave of absence to Apr. 29, 1871; in command of District of New

(Assigned to 15th Infantry, Dec. 15, 1870)

Mexico, Apr. 29, 1871, to June 1, 1873; on sick leave of absence to Oct. 31, 1875; and in command of District of New Mexico, Oct. 31, 1875, to Jan. 10, 1876.

Died, Jan. 10, 1876, at Santa Fé, N. M.: Aged 53.

Buried, Lexington Cemetery, Lexington, KY.

Biographical Sketch.

Brevet Major-General Gordon Granger was born, Nov. 6, 1822,​a2 in Wayne County, N. Y. He entered the Military Academy July 1, 1841, after receiving at his home a good English education. At West Point, though unambitious of scholastic honors, he gained so substantial a knowledge of the principles of military science as to be able to make a practical application in his subsequent diversified and active professional career. On graduation, July 1, 1845, he was appointed a Brevet Second Lieutenant, 2d Infantry, and ordered to Detroit Barracks. The new regiment of Mounted Rifles was added to the Army in consequence of hostilities with Mexico, and to it Granger was transferred, July 17, 1846. With it, in the following year, he took part in all the operations of General Scott's campaign, from the Siege of Vera Cruz to the Capture of the City of Mexico, receiving, Sep. 13, 1847, for his gallant and meritorious conduct at Chapultepec, the brevet of Captain.

Upon the return of peace he was in garrison at Jefferson Barracks, Mo., and on recruiting service, and then, with his regiment, marched across the plains to Oregon, remaining two years on duty at various Pacific posts. Subsequently, till the outbreak of the Civil War, except for a year while in Europe on leave of absence, his service was on the Texas and New Mexican borders, in constant conflict with savage tribes. Here he acquired that thorough professional training and those habits of thought and action which supplemented his West Point education, and laid the foundation of his after brilliant career.

"On the first call for volunteers after the fall of Ft. Sumter," says General Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Wood, "he was assigned to mustering duty in Ohio. He was promoted to a Captaincy in his regiment, May 5, 1861. Granger remained on mustering duty but a few weeks, and was transferred thence to a more congenial and stirring field of service. Ordered to conduct a detachment of recruits to Fort Leavenworth, early in June, 1861, he was ushered at  p240 once into the active strife of which Southern Missouri was then the scene. Granger's first field service in the late Civil War was as Acting Assistant Adjutant-General to a Cavalry Command, on duty in Missouri. In this position he took part in the action at Dug Creek, Aug. 2, 1861; in the Battle of Wilson's Creek, fought Aug. 10, 1861; and in the retreat to Rolla, August, 1861.

"In the disastrous Battle of Wilson's Creek the heroic Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Lyon fell. The traditions of Granger's reckless daring at Dug Spring, in the Battle of Wilson's Creek, and in the subsequent retreat to Rolla, — a season in which so much strenuous effort and personal exposure among officers was necessary to educate and inspire the troops so lately brought into the field, — are among the most romantic and stirring of the war.

"On ordinary occasions, when nothing of special importance demanded immediate attention, Granger's indisposition to action amounted occasionally almost to indolence; but when the necessity was urgent, the exigency pressing, the danger great and imminent, he always rose to the dignity and importance of the occasion, — became instinct with energy, ardor, and intrepidity, and martial daring, and was as fertile of resources as he was full of enterprise."

For his gallant and meritorious services in the Battle of Wilson's Creek he was brevetted a Major, having been promoted, May 5, 1861, a Captain of Mounted Rifles, changed, Aug. 3, 1861, to the Third Cavalry. On the 2d of the following September, Granger was appointed Colonel of the 2d Michigan Cavalry, being then in command of St. Louis Arsenal, Mo., where he remained till the end of the year.

"In the movement on New Madrid, Missouri," continues General Wood, "terminating in its occupation, Mar. 14, 1862, as also in the campaign against Island No. 10, Mississippi River, terminating with its capture, April 8, 1862, Granger commanded the Third Brigade of the Army of the Mississippi.

"Space does not permit a detailed narrative of the operations which resulted in the capture of the important and strongly fortified post of Island No. 10. Suffice it to say, they were among the most remarkable, brilliant, and most highly characterized by ingenuity and fertility of resource, of any operations of the entire Civil War. In all these brilliant and highly success­ful operations Granger bore a distinguished part. Mar. 26, 1862, Granger was appointed Brigadier-General of Volunteers. In the Mississippi campaign, and in the advance upon and occupation of Corinth, extending from Apr. 22 to May 30, 1862, he commanded the Cavalry of the Army of the Mississippi. His command was engaged in the pursuit of the Confederate forces from Corinth to Baldwin, Mis., from May 30 to June 10, 1862. From Aug. 1 to Sept. 5, 1862, he commanded the Fifth Division and the Cavalry of the Army of the Mississippi.

"Granger was appointed Major-General of Volunteers, Sept. 25, 1862. From Oct. 7 to Nov. 17, 1862, he commanded a Division of the Army of Kentucky, and from the latter date to Jan. 25, 1863, he commanded the District of Central Kentucky; thence, as was most judicious, he was brought nearer to the front, being transferred to the State of Tennessee, and placed in command at Franklin.

"While in command at the important post of Franklin, Granger was very actively and usefully engaged in many minor but brilliant operations, all of which he conducted well. From June 24 to Oct. 10, 1863, he commanded the District of the Cumberland; was engaged in the advance of the Army of the Cumberland on Tullahoma, June 24 to July 4, 1863; Capture of Guy's Gap and Shelbyville, June 27, 1863; and crossing the Cumberland Mountains, and the passage of the broad and majestic Tennessee, Aug. 15 to Sept. 4, 1863.

 p241  "By a brilliantly conceived and boldly and successfully executed flank movement across the mountains, southwest of Chattanooga, the Army of the Cumberland compelled its long-time antagonist, the Confederate Army, commanded by General Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Bragg, to evacuate that position of wonder­ful strategic importance, Chattanooga; and the long-sought goal was occupied by a Division of the National forces, Sep. 9, 1863. So soon as the first objective of the campaign had been won, the flank movement should have been stopped, and the widely isolated corps of the Army of the Cumberland should have been concentrated by the shortest route, down Trenton and Lookout Mountain Valleys, in front of Chattanooga; but this was not done. After the first success a strange fatuity seemed to possess the counsels of the commander of the Army of the Cumberland. He seemed unable rightly to interpret, at first, the movements of the hostile army. His antagonist had not evacuated (and many unmistakable signs said so) Chattanooga with the purpose of abandoning northwestern Georgia without a blow. He had merely fallen back to protect his line of communications, and to receive his expected and coming reinforcements.

"After the occupation of Chattanooga, two corps of the Army of the Cumberland were left to struggle on through the difficult passes of Lookout Mountain, — the eastern outlets of the passes being commanded by the hostile army concentrated around La­fayette, Ga., twenty-six miles south of Chattanooga. In this position it was nearer to each of the three corps of the Army of the Cumberland than they were to each other; and that they were not crushed in detail was due to their singular good fortune, or to the imbecility of the commander of the Confederate forces, rather than to wise general­ship or efficiency of action on the part of the commander of the National forces. Fortunately, delay in receiving his expected reinforcements caused the hostile commander to withhold the blow till the inviting opportunity was lost; but the corps of the Army of the Cumberland were not fully concentrated when the Battle of Chickamauga was delivered, Sep. 19, 1863.

"Granger did not make his most opportune appearance on the field of such magnificent strife till between two and three o'clock, P.M., of Sunday, the 20th of September 1863, the second of the contest. Previous to that time, during the progress of the battle, he had been holding with his command, the Reserve Corps, the passes through Missionary Ridge, near Rossville, about six miles in rear of the battlefield.

"Hearing the roar of battle in front, at a time when the commander of the National forces, and some of his subordinates of highest rank following, and followed by thousands of troops, had abandoned the well-stricken field, Granger, with the unerring instinct of the true soldier, gathered up all the available troops, — three brigades of his command, — and pressed forward to the assistance of his brethren in arms, then in such sore strait. One brigade was disposed on the left of the National line to prevent its being turned; with the other two brigades Granger pressed on toward the right of the National forces, where the battle was then raging with the most terrific fury."

At the critical moment of Granger's arrival with two strong and fresh brigades, and a supply of ammunition, the enemy was assaulting in front with the most headlong rage and fury. His left stretched beyond the right of the National line, and his troops were fast gaining its rear. The ammunition of the National forces was nearly exhausted; on the right, some three rounds per man were all that was left. Capture, or disastrous retreat, seemed the alternative.

"As the enemy moved down the northern slope of the ridge," says Van Horn in his History of the Army of the Cumberland, "toward the rear of Brannan and Wood, Whittaker's and Mitchell's Brigades, of Granger's  p242 command, with a fury born of the impending peril, charged the advancing foe and drove him over the ridge, and then formed line of battle from Brannan's right to the hill above Villetoe's, in front of Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Longstreet's left. In gaining the position the loss was heavy; but if the issue of battle has ever given compensation for the loss of valuable lives, it was in this action, for the opportune aid of the two brigades saved the army from defeat and rout. The two brigades lost, from the time of going into action, about 3 o'clock, P.M., till sunset, forty-four per cent of their strength."

Granger's heroic bravery on that momentous Sunday afternoon in its inspiring influence was worth a thousand men. For his gallant and meritorious conduct in this battle he was brevetted a Lieut.‑Colonel.

Immediately after the Battle of Chickamauga, the Army of the Cumberland was concentrated in Chattanooga, and in the Battle of Missionary Ridge which followed, Granger, at the head of the Fourth Corps, bore a most conspicuous part, for which he received his brevet of Colonel.

Scarcely had the clash of arms ended in this last great battle, before Granger with two divisions was dispatched to the relief of Burnside, beleaguered in Knoxville. After the siege was raised, with his half-clad troops he remained during the inclement winter of 1863‑64 in the mountains of East Tennessee. Subsequently, till the end of the Rebellion, he was efficiently engaged in the varied operations about Mobile, and in command of the District of Texas and the Department of Kentucky, receiving for his gallant and meritorious services the further brevets of Brigadier and Major General, making five gained in less than four years. After the Civil War, Granger commanded the District of Memphis and that of New Mexico, till, broken in health, he died, Jan. 10, 1876, at the early age of fifty-three.

"In temperament," says his classmate and friend, Gen. T. J. Wood, Granger was cordial, sincere, and genial. His mention was hearty and frank, — at times, to the verge of brusqueness, which caused those not intimately acquainted with him to suppose him deficient in gentleness and proper consideration for the feelings of others; but this was a great mistake. He was naturally sturdy and independent, and for the mere tinsel of rank he had no respect. Wrong and injustice ever excited his indignation, and he never hesitated to give utterance to it. At the core his heart was tender and gentle; and his tender sympathy ever went out toward misfortune, sorrow, and suffering."

Thayer's Note:

a1 a2 Gen. Granger's birth data are from his tombstone, q.v. For catching the mistake in the Register's Biographical Sketch, I am indebted to Robert C. Conner, author of General Gordon Granger: The Savior of Chickamauga and the Man Behind 'Juneteenth' (Casemate, Philadelphia and Oxford, 2013); who informs me as well that the 1821 date is also given in Granger's West Point application letter.

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