site logo
J. White

J. White

Federal (USA)

Brigadier General

Julius White

(1816 - 1890)

Home State: Illinois

Command Billet: Martinsburg Garrison Commander

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: Harpers Ferry Garrison


see his Battle Report

Before Antietam

He was a businessman, politician and friend of Abraham Lincoln. He had moved west at age 20, about 1836, and was successful in businesses in Illinois and Wisconsin. He was elected to the Wisconsin legislature in 1849 and moved to Evanston in 1859. By 1860 he was harbormaster of Chicago and a member of the Board of Trade. The new President appointed him collector of customs in Chicago in 1861.

In September 1861 he raised and was appointed Colonel of the 37th Illinois Infantry (aka Fremont Rifles), and commanded the 2nd Brigade/3rd Division at Pea Ridge, after which the President wrote Secretary of War Stanton:

April 22, 1862.
I personally know Julius White, and that he is worthy. Having successfully commanded a Brigade at Pea Ridge, I think he should be made a Brigadier General.
He was in fact commissioned Brigadier General, in June 1862, and by September was in command of the garrison and surrounding district at Martinsburg, VA.

On the Campaign

On the approach of General Jackson's Confederate troops, he evacuated Martinsburg and took his troops to Harpers Ferry. Although the senior officer, he deferred to Colonel Miles in command of that post. After Miles was wounded, he was the officer who surrendered Harpers Ferry to General Jackson.

The rest of the War

He was paroled by the Confederates and arrested by Federal authorities but later exonerated. He commanded the 2nd Division of the 23rd Army Corps at Knoxville in the Fall of 1863 then was General Burnside's Army of the Potomac Chief of Staff until the Petersburg "Crater" disaster of 30 July 1864. He briefly commanded the First Division of the 9th Corps, but was ill and resigned his commission in November 1864. He was honored by brevet to Major General of Volunteers in March 1865.

After the War

He was a businessman, member of the board of commissioners of Cook County (c. 1871), and Minster to Argentina (1873-74). He was also active in the Military Order of the Loyal Legion.

References & notes

Basic information from Warner.1 The Lincoln correspondence from the Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln (Vol. 5). His gravesite is on Findagrave. His picture from a photograph at the Library of Congress.


09/23/1816; Cazenovia, NY


05/12/1890; Evanston, IL; burial in Rosehill Cemetery and Mausoleum, Chicago, IL


1   Warner, Ezra J., Generals in Blue, Lives of the Union Commanders, Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 1964  [AotW citation 22175]