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Civil War Soldiers - Newton

Newton, John, major-general, U.S. Army, was born in Norfolk, Va., Aug. 24, 1823. He was graduated at the United States military academy, second in his class, in 1842, and was engaged as assistant professor of engineering at that school, and on various engineering works, until 1860, except in 1858, when he was chief engineer of the Utah expedition, receiving promotion to captain, July 1, 1856. He was appointed chief engineer of the Department of Pennsylvania at the outbreak of the Civil war, then held a similar position in the Department of the Shenandoah, was promoted major in Aug., 1861, and from then until March, 1862, was chief engineer in charge of the defenses of Washington, being in command also of a brigade for the defence of the capital, and receiving promotion to the rank of brigadier-general of volunteers, Sept. 23, 1861. He served during the Peninsular campaign in the Army of the Potomac as commander of a brigade, and took part in the action at West Point and the battles of Gaines' mill and Glendale, and he covered the retreat of Pope's army from Bull Run to Washington, Sept. 1-2, 1862. He then served in the Maryland campaign, engaging in the battle of South mountain, and also at Antietam, where he won the brevet promotion to lieutenant-colonel for gallantry ; and he commanded the 3d division, 6th corps, Army of the Potomac, at Fredericksburg and in the Chancellorsville campaign, the successful assault on Marye's heights being under his direction. He was promoted major-general of volunteers, March 30, 1863, and at Gettysburg on July 2 he succeeded to the command of the 1st corps after the death of Gen. Reynolds, being brevetted colonel for his services in this action. He engaged then in the pursuit of the Confederate army to Warrenton, and was in the Rapidan campaign, in October-December. He was placed in command of the 2nd division of the 4th corps of the Army of the Cumberland, under Gen. Oliver O. Howard, in May, 1864, and took part in all the important engagements of the invasion of Georgia, including the battle of Peachtree creek and the siege and occupation of Atlanta. On March 13, 1865, Gen. Newton was brevetted brigadier-general and major- general in the regular army, and his commission as major-general in the volunteer army having been revoked April 18, 1864, was brevetted major- general of volunteers on the same date for gallant and meritorious services during the war. From Oct., 1864, to Jan. 24, 1866, he was in command of the state and of various districts in the state of Florida, and was honorably mustered out of the volunteer service, Jan. 31, 1866. He was promoted lieutenant-colonel of engineers, Dec. 28, 1865, was promoted colonel in 1879, and on March 6, 1884, became chief of engineers with the rank of brigadier-general. After the war he was in charge of various engineering works which won him world-wide fame as an engineer. His most important achievement was the removing of obstructions from the channel at Hell Gate, East river, N. Y. These obstructions, known as Hallett's reef and Flood rock, were duly exploded on Sept. 24, 1876, and Oct. 10, 1885. Gen. Newton was retired, Aug. 27, 1886, and in 1887-88 was superintendent of public works in New York city. He died in New York city, May 1, 1895.

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

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