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J. A. Congdon

J. A. Congdon

Federal (USA)


James Adams Congdon

(1835 - 1902)

Home State: Pennsylvania

Command Billet: Commanding Regiment

Branch of Service: Cavalry

Unit: 12th Pennsylvania Cavalry

Before Antietam

He entered service 11 November 1861 and was mustered in as Major, 12th Pennsylvania Cavalry on 28 April 1862.

On the Campaign

Major Congdon assumed command from Major Titus, who commanded the Regiment on the Manassas Campaign but was captured by the enemy on 26 August 1862. The regiment was in reserve at South Mountain on 14 September, and was on duty behind the Federal Right on 17 September, rounding up stragglers and escorting Confederate prisoners.

The rest of the War

He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel on 1 January 1865, and resigned his commission on 1 March of that year.

After the War

He was honored for War Service by Brevet to Colonel and Brigadier General 13 March 1865. He is likely the Chess Master who was President (1874) of the (US) National Chess Association, helped found the American Chess Association, and was a tournament player, at least through the 5th US Chess Congress of 1880.

References & notes

Sources:Heitman, Francis Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army 1789-1903, Washington, US Government Printing Office, 1903 ;
Bates, Samuel P., History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-65, Harrisburg: 1868-1871, extracted online at Pennsylvania in the Civil War by Alice J. Gayley; and
Chess History Notes from the Logical Chess website.

The photo above is from Mikel Uriguen's Gallery (down 3/2009).

Note: Major Congdon was the author of Congdon's Cavalry Compendium (1864), a soldier's guide to the Cavalry Service. It has been transcribed and posted online by Linneus Ahearn of the Ninth Virginia Cavalry (reenactors)..

His personal papers (1862-65) are in the Collection (No. 1620) of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

More on the Web

See an image of his file card at the Pennsylvania State Archives.


1835 in NY


2/4/1902 Milwaukee, WI