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Civil War Soldiers - Howard
|Howard, Oliver O., major-general, U.S.
Army, was born at Leeds, Kennebec county, Me., Nov. 8, 1830. Having
finished preparation at Monmouth and Yarmouth, at the age of sixteen
he entered Bowdoin college, in which he was graduated in 1850, with a
fair standing. An opportunity was then afforded him to enter the
United States military academy, and he became a cadet in that
institution, graduating in 1854. He stood fourth in his class, and by
his own request was assigned to the ordnance department with the
brevet rank of second lieutenant. His first service was at Watervliet,
N. Y., and Kennebec arsenal, Me., and he next served in Florida, being
chief ordnance officer during Gen. Harney's campaign against the
Indians. The following year he was promoted first lieutenant, and was
assigned to duty as acting professor of mathematics at West Point,
which position he continued to hold until the breaking out of the
Civil war. In 1861 Lieut. Howard volunteered his services to the
governor of his native state, and was finally, by a regimental
election, made colonel of the 3d regiment, Me. volunteers. His
commission bore the date of May 28, and by June 1 he was on his way to
the national capital with a full regiment. Col. Howard commanded the
3d brigade of the 3d division during the battle of Bull Run, July 21,
and for his conduct during this campaign was created brigadier-general
of volunteers on Sept. 3. He bore a prominent part in the movement
toward the Rappahannock in the spring of 1862, and was then
transferred to the Peninsula, where he participated in the advance
against Richmond. He was twice wounded in the right arm at the battle
of Fair Oaks on May 31, while leading his brigade in a charge against
the enemy, and he lost that arm by amputation. In two months and
twenty days after Fair Oaks Gen. Howard returned to his corps, and was
in the Pope campaign in Virginia, participating in the second battle
of Bull Run, and during the retreat from Centerville to Washington, he
commanded the rear guard of the army, which was under fire almost
continuously. In the Maryland campaign he commanded a brigade until
Antietam, where Gen. Sedgwick was wounded, when he took charge of that
general's division, which he also commanded at Fredericksburg. In
November he was promoted to the rank of major-general of volunteers,
and in the following spring he succeeded Gen. Sigel as commander of
the 11th army corps, which he led during the sanguinary battles at
Chancellorsville and Gettysburg. In Oct., 1863, Gen. Howard's corps
was engaged in the fighting in Lookout valley, and he received Gen.
Thomas' commendation in further orders the following month, when he
fought under Grant in the battle of Chattanooga, gaining distinction.
During Sherman's Atlanta campaign in the spring of 1864, Gen. Howard
was in command of the new 4th corps, which formed a part of the army
of the Cumberland, seeing severest service for 100 days. When Gen.
McPherson fell before Atlanta, Gen. Howard succeeded him as commander
of the Army and Department of the Tennessee, and throughout the whole
of the grand march through Georgia his corps formed the right of
Sherman's army. For his part in this campaign he was appointed
brigadier-general in the regular army. He commanded the same wing
during the movement through the Carolinas, and assisted in the
operations by virtue of which Johnston's army was forced to surrender
in 1865. For this portion of the campaign Gen. Howard was brevetted
major-general of the regular army. On May 12, 1865, he was assigned to
duty in the war department in the bureau of refugees, freedmen, and
abandoned lands, in which position he remained until July, 1874, when
he was assigned to the command of the Department of the Columbia. In
1877 he commanded a successful expedition against the Nez Perces
Indians, his infantry marching over 1,400 miles, and the following
year another, nearly as extended, against the Bannocks and Piutes. In
1881-82 Gen. Howard was superintendent of the United States military
academy, and from 1882-86 he commanded the Department of the Platte at
Omaha, Neb. In 1886 he was commissioned major-general and placed in
command of the division of the Pacific; and after the death of Gen.
Sheridan, and the assignment of Maj.-Gen. Schofield to command the U.
S. army, Gen. Howard was appointed to the command of the division of
the Atlantic, with headquarters at Governor's island in the harbor of
New York. He was placed upon the retired list, Nov. 8, 1894.
Source: The Union Army: A History of Military Affairs in the Loyal
States 1861-1865, Volume 8 Biographical, 1908