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J.F. Kent

J.F. Kent

Federal (USA)


Jacob Ford Kent

(1835 - 1918)

Home State: Pennsylvania

Education: US Military Academy, West Point, NY, Class of 1861;Class Rank: 31st

Command Billet: Company Commander

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: 3rd United States Infantry

Before Antietam

He graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point on 6 May 1861 and was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant, 3rd United States Infantry. He was in action at First Bull Run, VA on 21 July 1861 and suffered "two very slight wounds one in the foot, a mere bruise from a spent ball, the other only a skin deep in the leg" and was captured there. He was promoted to First Lieutenant while a prisoner, treated at St. Mark's Hospital, Richmond to at least September, then held in a jail in Columbia, SC to February 1862, when he was paroled and sent back to Richmond. He was formally exchanged and returned to duty on 27 August 1862.

On the Campaign

He commanded Company K of the Third US Infantry at Antietam on 17 September 1862.

The rest of the War

He was assigned as Lieutenant Colonel and Assistant Inspector General from 1 January 1863 to 31 August 1865 and served on the staff of the Sixth Army Corps, initially under General John Sedgwick. He was slightly wounded near Fredericksburg, VA in May 1863 and was promoted to Captain, USA on 8 January 1864. He was honored by brevets to Major and Lieutenant Colonel, USA, and Colonel of Volunteers for his war service.

After the War

He was promoted to Major of the 4th US Infantry on 1 July 1885, Lieutenant Colonel of the 18th Infantry on 15 January 1891, and Colonel of the 24th US Infantry on 25 April 1895. He was appointed Brigadier General of Volunteers on 4 May 1898 for the Spanish-American War and advanced to Major General on 8 July. He was discharged from the Violunteers and commissioned Brigadier General, USA on 4 October 1898. He retired 11 days later.

References & notes

His service from Heitman1 and Cullum2 (his Cullum number is 1918), with his command at Antietam from Reese.3 Details about his Bull Run wound and prison time from letters to his father (23 July 1861) and brother (16 February 1862), and his parole document of 25 February 1862, transcribed online [PDF] from the originals among his papers at the USMA Library, and from a list in the New York Times of 25 July 1861. Personal details from family genealogists and the US Census of 1910. He sighed his name J. Ford Kent and his name is often seen that way in print, so he may have gone by Ford. His gravesite is on Findagrave. His picture from a CDV sold by The Horse Soldier, Gettysburg.

He married Mary Jeanie Gray (1837-1867) and they had 4 children. He married again, Mary Eaton (1858-1950), in June 1885 and they had a daughter Elizabeth (1886-1960).

More on the Web

See a sequence of photographs of General Kent across his life, over on the blog.


09/14/1835; Philadelphia, PA


12/22/1918; Troy, NY; burial in United States Military Academy Post 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. 1, pg. 593  [AotW citation 29112]

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, pg. 800-802; Vol. IV, pp. 127-128  [AotW citation 29113]

3   Reese, Timothy J., Sykes' Regular Infantry Division, 1861-1864: A History of Regular United States Infantry Operations in the Civil War's Eastern Theater, Jefferson (NC): McFarland&Company, Inc., 1990, pg. 385  [AotW citation 29114]