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W. French

W. French

Federal (USA)

Brigadier General

William Henry French

(1815 - 1881)

Home State: Maryland

Education: US Military Academy, West Point, NY, Class of 1837;Class Rank: 22

Command Billet: Commanding Division

Branch of Service: Artillery

Unit: 3rd Division, II Corps


see his Battle Report

Before Antietam

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.

On the Campaign

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

The rest 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 & notes

Service information from Heitman1 and Cullum2. His gravesite in online from Findagrave.


01/03/1815; Baltimore, MD


05/20/1881 Washington, DC; burial in 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]