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A.E. Sheldon

A.E. Sheldon

Federal (USA)


Alexander Esleeck Sheldon

(1840 - 1891)

Home State: New York

Education: University of Rochester (1859), Columbia College

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: 4th United States Infantry

Before Antietam

Son of a very wealthy merchant and publisher, he was a student in the scientific course at Rochester University from 1855-59 and from 1859-61 was a law student at Columbia College. He served in the 7th New York State Militia during their 3-months' service from 19 April to 3 June 1861. He was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant, 4th United States Infantry to date from 5 August 1861 and promoted to First Lieutenant of Company A on 30 June 1862. He was present at the battles of Yorktown, Gaines Mill, Malvern Hill, and Second Manassas.

On the Campaign

He commanded Company A in action at Antietam on 17 September 1862.

The rest of the War

He was again in combat at Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg. He was promoted to Captain (and married) in August 1864 and was on recruiting duty into 1865, but returned to the field at Petersburg, VA. He was honored by brevets to Captain on 3 May 1863 for his work at Chancellorsville and to Major, USA on 2 April 1865 for meritorious service during the capture of Petersburg.

After the War

He was living with his in-laws in Brighton, NY in June 1865 and resigned his commission on 21 April 1866. By 1875 he was living in Brooklyn, NY and worked for his father's firm Sheldon & Company in book publishing and on its magazine, The Galaxy (until that was sold in 1877, now Atlantic Monthly) to at least 1880. He was afterward cashier of the Company until his death at age 50 in 1891.

References & notes

His service from Powell1 and Heitman.2 His role at Antietam from Captain Dryer's Report. Personal details from family genealogists, the US Census of 1850 & 1880, the NY State Census of 1865 (which has his birth in Green County, NY) and 1875, the Annual Catalogs of Rochester University (1856-59) and Columbia College (1859-61), and his obituary in The Publishers Weekly for 20 June 1891. His gravesite is on Findagrave. His picture from a photograph kindly supplied by descendant William B. Sheldon, forwarded by John Banks.

He married Delia Augusta Farley (1843-1924) in August 1864 and they had 5 children.

His father Smith Sheldon (1811-1884) was on the Board of Trustees of Rochester University at the time of his son's matriculation, and was also was a founder of Vassar and Hamilton Colleges.

More on the Web

An August 1864 letter from Delia's mother Laura Griswold Porter Farley (1813-1883) to one of her sons with news about Delia's upcoming wedding and Laura's opinion of Alexander (or perhaps his family) has been transcribed online (pdf) from the New York State Military Museum. The original is among the Porter Family Papers, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, University of Rochester Libraries.


11/09/1840; Albany County, NY


06/10/1891; Brooklyn, NY; burial in Albany Rural Cemetery, Menands, NY


1   Powell, William Henry, A History of the Organization and Movements of the Fourth Regiment of Infantry, United States Army, Washington, DC: McGill and Witherow, Printers and Stereotypers, 1871, pp. 88 - 202  [AotW citation 13663]

2   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. 879  [AotW citation 13670]