site logo
J.B. Ricketts

J.B. Ricketts

Federal (USV)

Brigadier General

James Brewerton Ricketts

(1817 - 1887)

Home State: New York

Education: US Military Academy, West Point, NY, Class of 1839;Class Rank: 16/31

Command Billet: Commanding Division

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: 2nd Division, 1st Corps


see his Battle Report

Before Antietam

He was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant, First United States Artillery on 1 July 1839. He served on the Canadian border and in garrisons in Maine (to 1845) and Louisiana. He was promoted to First Lieutenant on 21 April 1846 and was in action in the war with Mexico (1847-48). He was on garrison duty again, in New York and at New Orleans, and saw action again against the Seminoles in Florida in 1852. He was promoted to Captain on 3 August 1852 and served in various stations on the frontier in Texas to 1860. He was at Fortress Monroe, VA at the start of the war, by then about 44 years old with 22 years of commissioned service.

He was in the defenses of Washington, DC and commanded a battery at Alexandria, VA (24 May) and at First Bull Run, VA (21 July 1861). He was wounded in the forehead, shoulder, chest, and leg there, left for dead, and captured. He was held in Richmond, VA until he was exchanged on 5 January 1862, but was disabled by wounds and could not return to duty until 8 May. While a prisoner he was commissioned Brigadier General of Volunteers (to date from 21 July 1861), and took command of the 2nd Division of General McDowell's First Army Corps.

On the Campaign

He commanded the Second Division of the First Army Corps in Maryland. He was injured when a horse fell on him at Antietam on 17 September 1862, but remained on the field.

The rest of the War

He was relieved of field duty in November 1862 and served on Courts Martial and various commissions to 18 March 1864, when he again led a Division, in the Sixth Army Corps, with notable service in the Overland Campaign, at Monocacy, and in the Shenandoah Valley. He was wounded again, shot in the chest, at Cedar Creek, VA on 19 October 1864. He was on leave recovering to 7 April 1865, back on duty two days before the surrender at Appomattox. He afterward commanded the Department of Virginia until he was mustered out of Volunteer service on 30 April 1866.

He was honored by brevets to Lieutenant Colonel (for First Bull Run), Colonel (for Cold Harbor), Brigadier General (for Cedar Creek), and Major General, USA (for service in the field through the war), and to Major General of Volunteers.

After the War

He had been promoted to Major in the Regular Army on 1 June 1863 and returned to service at that rank. He was offered a commission as Lieutenant Colonel of the 21st US Infantry in July 1866, but he declined it and retired from the Army on 28 January 1867 due to disability from wounds.

References & notes

His service from Heitman1 and Cullum2. His Cullum Number is 1001. Personal details from family genealogists. His gravesite is on Findagrave. His picture from a photograph at the Library of Congress, which also has a excellent war-era picture of him with his wife Frances.


06/21/1817; New York City, NY


09/22/1887; Washington, DC; burial in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA


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. 830  [AotW citation 26125]

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. II, pp. 1-6  [AotW citation 26126]