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Civil War Soldiers - Sumner

Sumner, Edwin V., major-general, U.S. Army, was born in Boston, Mass., in 1796. He was educated at the Milton academy in Boston, was appointed second lieutenant in the 2nd U. S. infantry in March, 1819, and served in the Black Hawk war. When the 2nd regiment of dragoons was raised by Gen. Jackson he was commissioned captain, was for many years employed in service on the Indian frontier, and subsequently commanded the school of cavalry practice at Carlisle, Pa. He was promoted major in 1846 and in April, 1847, led the famous cavalry charge at Cerro Gordo, where he was wounded and obtained the brevet of lieutenant-colonel. At Contreras and Churubusco he won further honors and at the battle of Molino del Rey commanded the entire cavalry, holding in check 5,000 Mexican lancers. For his gallant conduct he received the brevet of colonel, and in July, 1848, was commissioned lieutenant-colonel of the 1st dragoons. At the close of the war he was placed in command of the Department of New Mexico. In 1855 he was promoted to the colonelcy of the 1st cavalry, and the following year was in command at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. In July of 1857 he led a successful expedition against the Cheyenne Indians, and in 1858 was appointed commander of the Department of the West. In March, 1861, he was appointed brigadier-general in the regular army in place of Gen. Twiggs, and in March, 1862, was appointed commander of the 1st army corps, Army of the Potomac. At the siege of Yorktown he commanded the left wing and was engaged in all the battles of the Chickahominy, during which he was twice wounded. For his services before Richmond he was made major-general of volunteers and brevet major-general in the regular army. Upon the reorganization of the army Gen. Sumner was assigned to the 2nd corps and in the battle of Antietam was wounded. Subsequently he was placed in command of the right grand division, Army of the Potomac, but upon the appointment of Gen. Hooker as chief of that army he asked to be relieved, and after a few weeks was ordered to the command of the Army of the Frontier. Upon the way thither he was taken sick, and died after a short illness at Syracuse, N. Y., March 21, 1863.

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

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