Saturday, November 14, 2009

He was First In His Class

A career United States army officer James Birdseye McPherson was born November 14th 1828.

James Birdseye McPherson was born November 14th 1828 near Clyde, Ohio. He began his education at the Norwalk Academy in Ohio, before going on the graduate first in his class at West Point in 1853. His roommate at the Military Academy was John Bell Hood. McPherson was appointed to the Corps of Engineers, and taught for a year after his graduation at West Point.

At the beginning of the Civil War he was stationed in San Francisco, California. McPherson requested a transfer to the east, and received a position on the staff of Major General Henry W Halleck. McPherson was the Chief Engineer for Brigadier General Ulysses S Grant when the Union Army captured Forts Donelson and Henry. Following the Battle of Shiloh he was promoted to Brigadier General. In 1862 McPherson was given command of the XVII Corps in the Army of the Tennessee, and in 1864 he got command of the whole of the Army of the Tennessee when Major General William Tecumseh Sherman was promoted.

On July 22nd 1864 Union troops noticed that the Confederate soldier had pulled out of Atlanta, Georgia. Sherman felt the Confederates where evacuating, but McPherson argued that they were moving to attack the Union’s right flank. While this was being discussed four divisions under Confederate General William J Hardee flanked the Union XVII Corps. McPherson was riding toward his old Corp when he was confronted by a line of Rebels yelling for him halt. He turned his horse in an attempt to escape but was mortally wounded.

Four days after McPherson’s death Sherman wrote to his wife, telling her, "I lost my right bower in McPherson."

No comments: