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Civil War Soldiers - Webb

Webb, Alexander S., brigadier-general, U.S. Army, was born in New York city Feb. 15, 1835, a son of Gen. James Watson Webb, and was educated at private schools and at West Point academy, where he was graduated in 1855. He was then commissioned lieutenant in the 2nd artillery; served in the Florida campaign and on frontier duty in Minnesota during the period from 1855-57; was then appointed assistant professor of mathematics at West Point, and in Feb., 1861, was detailed to form a new battery from among the soldiers there. It was from this company that young Webb was detailed to guard, with soldiers in citizens' clothes, the headquarters of Gen. Scott, the old soldier refusing to allow any guard around his house. He was then detailed to light battery A and proceeded to Fort Pickens, Fla., then in a state of siege. He left Fort Pickens to take part with this battery in the first Bull Run battle; remained at Centerville to cover the retreat the night after McDowell's defeat; was then made assistant chief of artillery of the Army of the Potomac; was next major of the 1st R. I. infantry, but never joined the regiment; served with the Army of the Potomac during the summer of 1862; was appointed assistant inspector-general with the rank of lieutenant-colonel, and shortly afterward chief of staff of the 5th army corps on the special recommendation of Gen. McClellan. In Nov., 1862, he was appointed inspector of artillery and assigned to duty at Camp Barry, Washington, where he remained till Jan., 1863, when he returned to the field and served as assistant inspector-general, 5th corps, until June 29, when he was commissioned brigadier-general of volunteers and placed in command of the 2nd brigade, 2nd division, 2nd corps. He was present with his brigade at the battle of Gettysburg, and in repulsing Pickett's famous charge on the third day was conspicuous for his bravery and military skill, being wounded while leading his men. Subsequently he was awarded by Gen. Meade a bronze medal for "distinguished personal gallantry on that ever memorable field." and was brevetted major, U. S. A., for the part he took in that struggle. He was in command of the 2nd division, 2nd corps, for one year, and at Bristoe Station during the Rapidan campaign, his division, leading the 2nd corps, received the attack of the whole of Hill's corps. From this Confederate corps he took 6 guns and more than 2,000 prisoners. For this he was brevetted lieutenant-colonel, U. S. A. He was in the battles of the Wilderness and at Spottsylvania, was severely wounded during the last day's fight and forced to retire from active service for the rest of the year, being brevetted colonel, U. S. A., for gallant and meritorious services at Spottsylvania. While on sickdeave, Aug. 1, 1864, he was brevetted major-general of volunteers for gallant and distinguished conduct at Gettysburg, Bristoe Station, the battles in the Wilderness, and Spottsylvania. On Jan. 11, 1865, he returned to active service as chief-of-staff to Gen. George G. Meade, commanding the Army of the Potomac in the operations before Petersburg, and so served during the campaign which resulted in the surrender of the Confederates under Gen. Lee. He was brevetted brigadier-general, U. S. A., for gallant and meritorious services in the campaign which terminated with the surrender of Gen. Lee, and at the same time was brevetted major-general, U. S. A., for gallant and meritorious services during the Civil war. In June, 1865, he was assigned to duty by the president with the rank of major-general, U. S. A., to act as inspector- general of the military division of the Atlantic. Gen. Webb was mustered out of the volunteer service on Jan. 15, 1866, and became principal assistant professor of geography, history and ethics, at West Point. On the reorganization of the army he was appointed lieutenant-colonel of the 44th infantry, which regiment he commanded in the Department of Washington, then as major-general, U. S. A., commanded the first military district, and was, at his own request, honorably discharged from the service on Dec. 3, 1870. To finish his military career it is well to state that the retiring board, before which he appeared in 1870, wanted evidence of Gen. Webb's disability, which he did not know it was necessary for him to furnish. Through this misunderstanding the board failed to recommend his retirement and Gen. Webb resigned.

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

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