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Civil War Soldiers - Sprague

Sprague, John W., brigadier-general, U.S. Army, was born in White Creek, Washington county, N. Y., April 4, 1817. He was an attendant at the district school of his neighborhood and entered the Rensselaer polytechnic institute at Troy, N. Y., when thirteen years of age. He left school before graduation to engage in business, and in 1845 removed to Milan, Erie county, Ohio, where he continued the business of a merchant. He afterward settled in Sandusky and was for one term (1851-52) treasurer of Erie county. Upon the outbreak of the Civil war he raised a company of militia, was made its captain and with it joined the 7th Ohio infantry. He was rapidly promoted and in 1863 was colonel of the 63d Ohio infantry, brigadier-general of volunteers on July 21, 1864, and on March 13, 1865, was brevetted major-general of volunteers. He was mustered out of the service on Aug. 24, 1865. During his service as a volunteer officer he declined a lieutenant-colonelcy in the regular army. After the war he was appointed manager of the Winona & St. Paul railway. In 1870 he was general manager of the western division of the Northern Pacific railway and with Capt. Ainsworth established the city of Tacoma, Wash. In 1883 he had the honor of driving the golden spike on the completion of his division and soon afterward resigned on account of impaired health. He was active in building up the new city of Tacoma and was president of the board of trade and of various banks and corporations. Gen. Sprague died at his home in Tacoma, Wash., Dec. 27, 1893.

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

Sprague, William, brigadier-general, U.S. Army, was born at Cranston, Providence county, R. I., Sept. 12, 1830, son of Amasa and Fanny (Morgan) Sprague, the latter a native of Groton, Conn. He was educated in the schools of Cranston, East Greenwich and Scituate, and at Irving institute, Tarrytown, N. Y. At the age of fifteen he entered the store at Cranston connected with the large cotton manufacturing and calico printing business of A. & W. Sprague, the firm consisting of his father and his uncle, Gov. William Sprague. At the age of sixteen he removed to Providence to enter the counting house of the firm, and two years later became a book-keeper. He took an interest in military affairs early in life, and in 1848 joined the marine artillery company of Providence and rose from the ranks to the position of colonel. He made the company the equal of any military force in the United States in efficiency. In 1859 he visited Europe and made a special study of its military establishments. In 1860 he was elected governor of Rhode Island and, anticipating the Civil war, had the infantry and artillery of the state in readiness for emergencies. He made great exertions to raise troops in response to President Lincoln's call for three-months' men and offered the national government a regiment and a battery of light-horse artillery. The "war governor," as he was called, went immediately to the front and was in the first battle of Bull Run, where his horse was shot under him. He served during the Peninsular campaign and for his bravery and patriotic services in general was commissioned brigadier-general of volunteers, but was not mustered into service, being unwilling to give up his position as governor. He was reelected governor in 1861 and 1862, but was absent in the field most of the time and the duties of his office were performed by John R. Bartlett. In the spring of 1863 Gov. Sprague was elected to the U. S. senate and resigned the governorship, William C. Cozzens, president of the senate, acting in his place until the regular election in May. He was a member of the committees on manufactures and on military affairs, and chairman of the committee on public lands. He served two terms in the senate, from March 4, 1863 until March 3, 1875, when he left Congress to resume his business as a manufacturer.

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

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