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Civil War Soldiers - Franklin

Franklin, William B., major-general, U.S. Army, was born in York, Pa., Feb. 27, 1823, and was graduated at the United States military academy at West Point, first in his class, in 1843. He served in the Mexican war as topographical engineer under Gen. Taylor, and so distinguished himself at the battle of Buena Vista as to win promotion to the brevet rank of 1st lieutenant. In the years between the Mexican war and the Civil war he was employed on topographical duty on the frontier, as engineer-secretary of the light-house board, assistant professor of engineering at West Point, and supervising engineer in the construction of additions to the national capitol and in the erection of the treasury and postoffice buildings in Washington, D. C, rising in this interval also to the rank of captain, July 1, 1857. When the Civil war broke out he was promoted colonel of the 12th infantry, May 14, 1861, brigadier- general of volunteers, May 17, 1861, and major-general of volunteers, July 4, 1862. Gen. Franklin's first service in the volunteer army was at Bull Run, July 21, 1861, when he commanded a brigade and engaged in the heaviest fighting of the day around the Henry house. He received a division on the organization of the Army of the Potomac, and when the 6th army corps was formed, became its commander, continuing as such throughout the year 1862. He was in almost all the battles of the Peninsula, engaging at Yorktown, West Point, White Oak bridge, Savage Station, Malvern hill and Harrison's landing, and, after his return to Maryland with the army, commanded the left of the army at Crampton's gap, South mountain, Sept. 14, 1862, and engaged in the battle of Antietam three days later. At the battle of Fredericksburg he commanded the left grand division under Burnside. Gen. Burnside, by complaining that Franklin did not obey orders in this battle caused the latter to be sharply censured by the Congressional committee on the conduct of the war, and he was also removed from his command for insubordination. The failure of the president to approve the order of removal led to Burnside's resignation of his command. After several months on waiting orders Gen. Franklin returned to duty in July, 1863, and on Aug. 15, was assigned to command the 19th army corps, which he directed under Banks in the Red River expedition of 1864. He was wounded at the battle of Sabine cross- roads, April 8, 1864, and was on sick leave until Dec. 2, 1864, when he was placed on duty as president of the retiring board at Wilmington, Del., in which capacity he served until Nov. 9, 1865. During his leave, while still an invalid, he was captured by Confederate raiders while riding on a train of the Baltimore & Philadelphia road, but made his escape the same night. He was given the brevet rank of brigadier-general, June 30, 1862, for gallant and meritorious service in the battles before Richmond, and brevet major-general U. S. A. March 13, 1865, for gallant and meritorious services in the field during the war. He resigned from the regular army, March 15, 1866, as colonel of the 12th infantry. He was adjutant- general of Connecticut 1877-78, was for several years president of the board of managers for the National home for disabled soldiers, and was interested in the manufacture of fire arms and a director of three insurance companies. Gen. Franklin died March 8, 1903.

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

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