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W. French
W. French

Federal (USA)

Brigadier General

William Henry French

(1815 - 1881)
Home State: Maryland
Command Billet: Commanding Division
Branch of Service: Artillery
Unit: 3rd Division, II Corps

see his Battle Report


Before the Antietam Campaign:
He graduated from the USMA in 1837 (artillery duty), served in the Seminole and Mexican Wars, and on garrison duty. In 1861 (as Capt. , 1st US Artillery) he refused to surrender his garrison in Texas, marched them to the Gulf, and sailed to the Federal base at Key West. In September 1861 he was appointed Brigadier General of Volunteers, and commanded the 3rd Brigade/1st Division/II Corps in the Peninsula campaign and at the Seven Days.

In the Antietam Campaign:
He commanded the Third Division of the Second Army Corps (under MGen. Edwin V. Sumner) in Maryland.

The remainder of the War:
In November 1862 he was promoted to Major General of Volunteers, and led the Division at Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville. He commanded the District of Harpers Ferry, then the Third Army Corps at Mine Run. He was relieved of command in May 1864, and served on military boards.

After the War:
He continued his career Army service at his permanent rank of Lieutenant Colonel, 2nd US Artillery. He was promoted to Colonel, 4th Artillery on 2 July 1877. He was on garrison and administrative duty and retired as Colonel, USA on 1 July 1880.

References, Sources, and other notes:
Service information from Heitman1 and Cullum2. His gravesite in online from Findagrave.

Birth Date: 01/03/1815    Place of Birth: Baltimore, MD    
College: US Military Academy, West Point, NY    Graduating Year: 1837    Class Rank: 22
Death Date: 05/20/1881    Death Place: Washington, DC    Burial Place: Rock Creek Cemetery, Washington, DC


1   Heitman, Francis Bernard, Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army 1789-1903, 2 volumes, Washington DC: US Government Printing Office, 1903, Vol. 1, pg. 437  [AotW citation 14671]

2   Cullum, George Washington, Biographical Register of the Officers and Graduates of the US Military Academy, 2nd Edition, 3 vols., New York: D. Van Nostrand, 1868-79, Vol. 1, pp. 531 - 533  [AotW citation 14672]

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