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Civil War Soldiers - Corse

Corse, John M., brigadier-general, U.S. Army, was born in Pittsburg, Pa., April 27, 1835, entered West Point military academy, but resigned before graduation, studied in the Albany law school and was admitted to the bar, after which he located in practice at Burlington, Ia. Soon thereafter he was nominated by the Democrats for lieutenant-governor of Iowa, and was defeated. Entering the Federal service in Aug., 1861, as major of the 6th Iowa regiment, he served with Fremont in Missouri, was on Gen. Pope's staff at the siege of New Madrid and at the battle of Farmington, and in the Corinth campaign. He was then transferred to the division of Gen. W. T. Sherman, promoted lieutenant-colonel, and acted as colonel in the Memphis and Holly Springs campaign, and with Grant at Vicksburg. On Aug. 14, 1863, he was promoted brigadier-general, and commanded a division at Collierville, Tenn., where he rescued Sherman's division, which was surrounded by the Confederate cavalry under Gen. Chalmers. He made a night attack across Lookout mountain, then returned to command Sherman's assaulting column at Missionary ridge, and was carried from the field with a broken leg. He was appointed inspector-general on the staff of Gen. Sherman in the spring of 1864, served through the Atlanta campaign, and, when Logan succeeded McPherson, Corse was made commander of the 2nd division, 16th army corps. Gen. Corse made his greatest reputation by holding the post of Allatoona against fearful odds. He was sent to Allatoona after the evacuation of Atlanta, when Col. Tourtellotte, with 890 men, was threatened by an infantry division of the enemy. He arrived at Allatoona, with 1,054 men, before the Confederates, who, when they reached the place shortly afterwards, in vastly superior numbers, demanded his immediate surrender. Upon his refusal they attempted again and again to storm the place, but were unsuccessful. Meanwhile Sherman had heard the firing, eighteen miles away, and he sent by the sun-telegraph the since famous message, "Hold the fort for I am coming." And Corse held the fort. Furthermore he captured 500 prisoners. His action at Allatoona was made the subject of a special order from Gen. Sherman, in which he showed the importance of retaining to the last a fortified place, and Corse was given the brevet of major-general of volunteers Oct. 5, 1864. After this, Gen. Corse continued in command of a division on the march to the sea, and at the close of the war conducted a successful campaign against the Indians of the northwest. Declining an appointment as lieutenant-colonel in the regular army, Gen. Corse engaged in railroad building in Chicago, was appointed revenue collector there and in 1869, was removed by President Grant. He then spent several years in Europe, located in Boston in 1877, and was appointed postmaster of the city by President Cleveland, Oct. 9, 1886. He was removed by President Harrison in March, 1891. Gen. Corse died in Winchester, Mass., April 27, 1893.

Source: The Union Army: A History of Military Affairs in the Loyal States 1861-1865, Volume 8 Biographical, 1908

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