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 [decorative delimiter] Class of May 6, 1861

Vol. II

(Born N. Y.)

Emory Upton

(Ap'd N. Y.)


Born Aug. 27, 1839, Batavia, NY.

Military History. — Cadet at the Military Academy, July 1, 1856, to May 6, 1861, when he was graduated and promoted in the Army to

Second Lieut., 4th Artillery, May 6, 1861.

Served during the Rebellion of the Seceding States, 1861‑66: in drilling Volunteers at Washington, D. C., May 7‑27, 1861; as Aide‑de-

(First Lieut., 5th Artillery, May 14, 1861)

Camp to Brig.‑General Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.D. Tyler, May 27 to July 23, 1861, in the Defenses of Washington, D. C., and the Manassas Campaign of July, 1861, being engaged in the Action of Blackburn's Ford, July 18, 1861, — and Battle of Bull Run, July 21, 1861, where he was wounded; on sick leave of absence, disabled by wound, July 23 to Aug. 14, 1861; in the Defenses of Washington, D. C., Aug. 14, 1861, to Mar. 22, 1862; in the Virginia Peninsular Campaign, commanding Battery (Army of the Potomac), Mar. to Aug., 1862, being engaged in the Siege of Yorktown, Apr. 5 to May 4, 1862, — Action at West Point, May 7, 1862, — Battle of Gaines's Mill, June 27, 1862, — and Battle of Glendale, June 30, 1862; in command of Artillery Brigade, 1st Division, 6th Corps (Army of the Potomac), in the Maryland Campaign, and commanding Regiment, Sep. to Nov., 1862, being engaged in the Battle of South Mountain, Sep. 14, 1862, — Battle of Antietam, Sep. 17, 1862, — and March to Falmouth, Va., Oct. to Nov., 1862; in the Rappahannock Campaign (Army of the

(Colonel, 121st New York Volunteers, Oct. 23, 1862)

Potomac), Dec., 1862, to June, 1863, being engaged in the Battle of Fredericksburg, Dec. 13, 1862, — and Battle of Salem Heights, May 3‑4, 1863; in the Pennsylvania Campaign (Army of the Potomac), June‑July,  p775 1863, being engaged (after a forced march of thirty-five miles), in the Battle of Gettysburg, July 2‑3, 1863, — and Pursuit of the enemy to Warrenton, Va., in command of Brigade, July, 1863; in the Rapidan Campaign, commanding Brigade, 6th Corps (Army of the Potomac), Oct. to Dec., 1863, being engaged in the Capture of the Rebel Works at Rappahannock Station, Nov. 7, 1863, — and Operations at Mine Run, Nov. 26 to Dec. 3,

(Bvt. Major, Nov. 8, 1863, for Gallant and Meritorious Services at the Battle of Rappahannock Station, Va.)

1863; in command of Brigade, 6th Corps (Army of the Potomac), in the Richmond Campaign, May 4 to July 10, 1864, being engaged in the Battle of the Wilderness, May 5‑6, 1864, — Battles about Spottsylvania, May 9‑20, 1864, where he was wounded on the 10th, while commanding

(Bvt. Lieut.‑Col., May 10, 1864, for Gallant and Meritorious Services at the Battle of Spottsylvania, Va.)

the assaulting column of 12 Regiments of the 6th Corps upon the enemy's

(Brig.‑General, U. S. Volunteers, May 12, 1864)

intrenchments, — Battles and Actions of Cold Harbor, June 1‑23, 1864, — and Siege of and Battles about Petersburg, June 23 to July 10, 1864; in the Washington Campaign, July, 1864, being engaged in the Defense of the Capital, July 11‑12, 1864; in the Shenandoah Campaign, Aug.‑Sep., 1864, being engaged in the Battle of Opequan, Sep. 19, 1864,

(Bvt. Colonel, Sep. 19, 1864,
for Gallant and Meritorious Services at the Battle of Winchester, Va.)

where he was wounded while commanding 1st Division; on sick leave of absence, disabled by wound, Sep. 20 to Dec. 13, 1864; in command of

(Bvt. Maj.‑General, U. S. Volunteers, Oct. 19, 1864,
for Gallant and Meritorious Services at the Battle of Winchester, Va.)

4th Cavalry Division in General Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.J. H. Wilson's Operations in Alabama

(Captain, 5th Artillery, Feb. 22, 1865)

and Georgia, Mar. to May, 1865, being engaged in the Action at Montevallo,

(Bvt. Brig.‑General, U. S. Army, Mar. 13, 1865,
for Gallant and Meritorious Services
at the Battle and Capture of Selma, Ala.)

(Bvt. Maj.‑General, U. S. Army, Mar. 13, 1865, for Gallant and Meritorious Services in the Field during the Rebellion)

Mar. 31, and at Plantersville, Ala., Apr. 1, 1865, — Assault of Selma, Ala., Apr. 2, 1865, — and Assault and Capture of Columbus, Ga., Apr. 16, 1865; at Nashville Cavalry Depot, June, 1865; and in command of 1st Cavalry Division, District of East Tennessee, July‑Aug., 1865, — and of District of Columbia, Aug. 22, 1865, to Apr. 30, 1866.

Mustered out of Volunteer Service, Apr. 30, 1866.

Served: with Board of Officers at West Point, N. Y., in Examining his System of Infantry Tactics, June 25, 1866, to Feb. 4, 1867, adopted,

(Lieut.‑Colonel, 25th Infantry, July 28, 1866)

Aug. 1, 1867, for the use of the Army and Militia of the United States; and awaiting orders, Feb. 4 to Sep. 1, 1867; in command of Paducah, Ky., Sep. 27 to Nov. 12, 1867; on leave of absence in Europe to Dec., 1868; in garrison at Memphis, Ten., to Apr., 1869, — and Atlanta, Ga.,

(Transferred to 18th Infantry, Mar. 15, 1869)

Apr. 26, 1869, to May 30, 1870 (leave of absence, June 25 to Sep. 14, 1869, and Oct. 28 to Dec. 25, 1869); as Commandant of Cadets and Instructor of Artillery, Infantry, and Cavalry Tactics at the Military Academy, July 1, 1870, to June 30, 1875 (Member of Board, Jan. 17 to

 p776  (Unassigned, July 1, 1870)

(Assigned to 1st Artillery, Dec. 15, 1870)

June 11, 1873, to assimilate the Tactics of Artillery, Infantry, and Cavalry, adopted for the Army, July 17, 1873); on professional duty in Asia and Europe, July, 1875, to Mar., 1877, the results of his observations being published in 1878, entitled "Armies of Asia and Europe;" as Superintendent of Theoretical Instruction in the Artillery School for

(Transferred to 4th Artillery, Mar. 20, 1877)

Practice, Ft. Monroe, Va., Mar. 28, 1877, to Jan. 30, 1880 (in temporary command of post, June 9 to July 9, 1878, Sep. 8 to Nov. 2, 1878, and Dec. 30, 1878, to Jan. 3, 1880); as Member of Board to codify Army Regulations, to Sep. 7, 1880; on leave of absence to Dec. 17, 1880; in command of Regiment and Presidio of San Francisco, Cal., Dec. 23, 1880, to Mar. 15, 1881.

Civil History. — Author of "A New System of Infantry Tactics," 1867‑74; of "Tactics for Non-Military Bodies," 1870; and of "Armies of Asia and Europe," 1878.

Died, Mar. 15, 1881, at San Francisco, Cal.: Aged 42.

Buried, Fort Hill Cemetery, Auburn, NY.

Biographical Sketch.

Bvt. Maj.‑General Emory Upton was born, Aug. 27, 1839, in Batavia, N. Y.; and died in San Francisco, Cal., Mar. 15, 1881. His eminent services, during his brief military career, are given in sufficient detail in the foregoing record, to which I subjoin a finished sketch furnished by his able biographer, Professor Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.P. S. Michie: —

"Emory Upton was a born soldier. Even in his boyhood he foresaw the possibilities of war on account of slavery, and sought a military education, the better to meet its responsibilities and to conquer the objects of his ambition. A type of the best product of the Military Academy, he illustrates the extreme value of its purpose and methods. By his own efforts he gained admission to West Point and mastered the course of instruction and discipline, high in class rank. A raw country lad at the age of seventeen, a Lieutenant of Artillery at twenty-two, he gained by the valor of his own right arm the command of a division and the rank of a Major-General when but twenty-five years of age. The close of the Civil War found him a splendid and capable leader of men.

"The story of his life is the history of the evolution of a man. Loyalty to his Government made him an active and fearless soldier; love of his profession developed the practical and theoretical tactician; patriotism impelled him to incessant military study and investigation, and he spent the last element of his vitality in completing his work on 'The Military Policy of the United States.' His life was thus a complete sacrifice for his beloved country. And yet, more than all this, he lived and died a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ.

"General James H. Wilson, Upton's friend, comrade, and last commander in the field, in an introduction to the published 'Life and Letters of Emory Upton,' has given so complete and yet compact an analysis of the characteristics of the subject of this sketch, that no more fitting tribute can be paid Upton than in Wilson's own language, as follows: 'As a Regimental Drill-master, and as Aide-de‑Camp, Battery Commander, and Chief of Artillery, Upton shared all the perils of the Army of the Potomac in the earlier days of the war, gaining experience and familiarity with the military operations in the field, and above all gaining confidence in himself and his own military knowledge and capacity as compared with those of the officers with whom he was thrown into contact. Upton had early become convinced that the first requisite to success in the profession  p777 of arms was unflinching and unhesitating courage, not only for its influence over his superiors, but over those whom he had to lead, and yet observation taught him that the most courageous were frequently the first to fall. He was neither rash nor foolhardy, and yet the closest observer could find nothing, in his conduct under fire, to criticise. His courage was both physical and moral, and therefore of the highest type.

" 'In the hour of battle he was as intrepid a man as ever drew a sabre, and yet in battle, as well as on the march or in camp, prudence and judgment were his constant companions. He knew that discipline, order, and attention to the details of the organization, equipment, and supply, were essential to success in a long-continued campaign, and would do more than everything else toward making his command invincible in action.

" 'The command of a brigade came to him in due time, and his conduct in the still broader field which it opened was characterized by the same fertility of resource, untiring zeal, and attention to details. Drill, discipline, and order were exacted from all the regiments under his command; tactics and formations for battle were most carefully studied; every order was executed by him with the greatest possible precision, and when left to himself he provided for every contingency, including that of success as well as that of failure. As a consequence, it soon came to be understood that Upton's brigade must lead all attacks and assaults made within his reach, and, what was of still greater credit to him, he rarely failed to carry the enemy's position, whether fortified or not. In view of the splendid fighting qualities of the rebel Army of Northern Virginia, and considering the extraordinary mortality that always attended an engagement with it, it may well be doubted if the metal of any soldier of modern times was ever more severely tested than was Upton's during his two years' service in the Army of the Potomac, and especially at Salem Heights, Rappahannock Station, in the Wilderness, or while leading the assaulting column of twelve regiments of the Sixth Corps which carried the angle of the enemy's intrenchments at Spottsylvania. The abilities displayed by him on this occasion were of the highest character, and secured for him not only the praises of the whole army, but the long-coveted and amply earned reward of a commission as Brigadier-General of Volunteers, and also as Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel in the Regular Army.

" 'He displayed the same high qualities in all the movements, marches, and battles which characterized that remarkable campaign, including the bloody Actions of Cold Harbor, and the siege and assaults of the Rebel works about Petersburg. His conduct throughout these trying times was absolutely faultless; while his cheerful and unshaken confidence in the ultimate success of our arms had a great influence on those about him, and was worthy of all praise. He was prompt and obedient at all times and in all situations, and his alacrity was surpassed only by the resolution and the steadiness which he displayed in the desperate and almost constant fighting in which the army was engaged for nearly a year after Grant took command. He gave loyal and unquestioning support to his superior officers, and especially to those who were in chief command; but it must not be supposed that he was a mere machine soldier, or that he gave his approval to their plans as he gave obedience to their orders. He studiously refrained from public criticism, but he was too good an officer, and too close a student of the art of war, to blindly shut his eyes to the faults which were committed about him.

" 'Upton's mind was incessantly occupied in trying to work out correct results for all the military problems then engaging the army's attention; and, while subsequent events did not justify all his suggestions or criticisms, the careful student of the war will be struck by the extraordinary grasp and ability displayed in the arguments and conclusions which he so patiently recounted in his letters. As early as June 5, 1864, when  p778 Upton was not yet twenty-five years of age, he had not only detected and pointed out the crude methods and incompetency which were so prevalent, but had frankly and with pardonable ambition declared that there was no grade in the army to which he did not aspire.

" 'It was Upton's brigade which first deployed on the plateau beyond the Opequan after its capture by the cavalry. It was his brigade and the cavalry division which covered the débouchement of the Sixth Corps from the defile from which it was compelled to advance, and held the field till it and the rest of the army could deploy and form for the attack. It was his brigade which, by a change of front to the right, arrested the flight of a part of the Sixth and Nineteenth Corps, and taking the enemy in flank drove them back in confusion. It was also his brigade which, in the final rush of both infantry and cavalry, pierced the enemy's left centre, and made the victory both certain and complete. It was in this charge that the heroic General Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.David A. Russell, commanding the division, was mortally wounded. He was promptly succeeded by Upton, who pressed the division forward with conspicuous ability and energy. In the full tide of success the gallant young commander was severely wounded on the inside of the right thigh by a fragment of a bursting shell. The muscle was frightfully lacerated and the femoral artery laid bare; but instead of retiring as he was fully justified in doing, and indeed as he was ordered to do by General Sheridan in person, he called his staff surgeon and directed him to stanch the bleeding wound by a tourniquet. As soon as this was done, he called for a stretcher and had himself borne about the field thereon, still directing the movements of his victorious division, and did not leave it or give up the command till night had put an end to the pursuit. The fortitude displayed by him on this occasion was heroic in the extreme, and marked him as a man of extraordinary nerve.

" 'This battle, which had won for Upton the command of a division, closed his career as a leader of infantry in the Union Army. I had been assigned to the task of reorganizing and commanding the Western cavalry, and had been promised the assistance of a few good officers from the Army of the Potomac. I had asked for Upton at the head of the list, and as soon as he was able to travel he joined me in midwinter at Gravelly Springs, Alabama, after the close of the Hood Campaign. His wound was not entirely healed, but he at once assembled his division and set about its instruction with all his accustomed industry and enthusiasm. The capture of the fortifications covering Columbus by a night attack, which also resulted in the capture of nearly all the rebel troops defending them, as well as the bridges across the Chattahoochee River, thus securing for the cavalry corps a safe passage of that river into the city, and opening the way for the speedy conquest of the entire State of Georgia, was a marvelous illustration of his skillful leader­ship. It has been described by competent military critics as one of the most remarkable exploits in the history of modern cavalry.

" 'His service in Tennessee and Kentucky and upon the Plains followed soon after the close of the war, and was in turn followed by the preparation of the infantry tactics, and the assimilation of the cavalry and artillery tactics thereto. This was the beginning of his life as a student of the art of war in its higher branches. His instruction at West Point, and his practical experience in all the arms of service for the four years of the great Rebellion, had taught him all that any one could learn of a soldier's practical duties in the field. After completing his tour as Commandant of Cadets at West Point, he was sent by the Government through Asia and Europe to study the organization, equipment, and administration of armies. Upon his return he was assigned to duty at the Artillery School for Practice as Instructor of the Art of War, and, while thus  p779 engaged, prepared and published the report of his observations in Europe, and began his work on the "Military Policy of the United States." During the preparation of this work he analyzed critically all at records of the Government in relation to the wars in which it had been engaged, from the beginning of the Revolution to the end of the Rebellion of the Slave States.

" 'I have constantly maintained since the close of the war that at that time Upton was as good an artillery officer as could be found in any country, the equal of any cavalry commander of his day, and, all things considered, was the best commander of a division of infantry in either the Union or Rebel army. He was the equal of Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Custer or Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Kilpatrick in dash and enterprise, and vastly the superior of either in discipline and administration. He was incontestably the best tactician of either army, and this is true whether tested by battle or by the evolutions of the drill-field and parade. In view of his success in all arms of the service, it is not too much to add, that he could scarcely have failed as a corps or an army commander had it been his good fortune to be called to such rank. And nothing is more certain than that he would have had a corps of cavalry had the war lasted sixty days longer, or that, with the continuation of the struggle, he would have been in due time put at the head of an army. No one can read the story of his brilliant career without concluding that he had a real genius for war, together with all the theoretical and practical knowledge which any one could acquire in regard to it. He was the equal if not the superior of Hoche, Desaix or Skobeleff in all military accomplishments and virtues, and up to the time when he was disabled by the disease which caused his death he was, all things considered, the most accomplished soldier in our service. His life was pure and upright, his bearing chivalric and commanding, his conduct modest and unassuming, and his character absolutely without blemish. History cannot furnish a brighter example of unselfish patriotism or of ambition unsullied by an ignoble thought or unworthy deed. He was a credit to the State and family which gave him his birth, to the Military Academy which educated him, and to the Army which he served. So long as the Union has such soldiers as he to defend it, it will be perpetual.' "

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