(1838 - 1917)
Home State: New Jersey
Education: US Military Academy, West Point, NY, Class of 1860;Class Rank: 18th
Command Billet: Section Chief
Branch of Service: Artillery
Son of former West Pointer and US Congressman (1853-57) Alexander Pennington, he graduated from the US Military Academy himself in 1860, and first served in the garrison at Fort Monroe, VA. An artillery officer with Battery A, 2nd US Artillery he fought in the defense of Fort Pickens, FL from 19 April 1861 to 16 January 1862, and was with the Army of the Potomac at the siege of Yorktown, Battle of Williamsburg, and Seven Days battles.
On the Campaign
He commanded a section of Captain John Tidball’s Horse Battery A, 2nd US Artillery attached to Brigadier General Alfred Pleasonton’s Cavalry Division. Pennington was present at the skirmish at Boonsboro on 15 September 1862 and at the Battle of Antietam on 17 September. Captain Tidball in his official Report commended Pennington for the performance of his duties with his usual “skill and zeal.”
The rest of the War
On September 22, 1862 Pennington was assigned to command Battery M, 2nd US Artillery. He led the battery through all the campaigns of the Army of the Potomac until appointed Colonel of the 3rd New Jersey Cavalry. He commanded this regiment under Sheridan at the Battle of Cedar Creek and was in the final campaigns of the cavalry of the Army of the Potomac leading up to the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia. Pennington received brevets for gallant and meritorious service at Beverly Ford, Gettysburg, and Cedar Creek, ending the war as a brevet Brigadier General, US Volunteers.
After the War
Pennington remained in the regular army serving in different artillery commands. By 1896, he was Colonel of the 2nd US Artillery. With the start of the Spanish American War, Pennington was commissioned a Brigadier General of Volunteers on 4 May 1898. During the war he had various stateside duties. Pennington retired from active service on 17 October 1899 after more than 40 years of service. He was placed on the retired list as a Major General.
By 1910 he was living in Manhattan, New York City.
References & notes
His service dates from Heitman1 with further details from Cullum2 and the Annual Report for 1918 of the Association of Graduates, online from the the US Military Academy at West Point. Personal details from family genealogists, at least one of whom has his father's first middle name as Cumming, and the US Census of 1910. His gravesite is on Findagrave.
He married Clara Miller French (1839-1915), daughter of USMA Chaplain and Professor (1856-71) John W. French in February 1863, and they had three daughters and a son between 1864 and 1880.
Thanks to Jim Rosebrock for writing this bio sketch and providing the excellent photograph used here.
01/08/1838; Newark, NJ
11/30/1917; Newark, NJ; burial in West Point Cemetery, West Point, NY
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. I, pg. 782 [AotW citation 26362]
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. 751-753; IV, 119; V, 97; VI, 89 [AotW citation 26363]