Isaac Ingalls Stevens was born in Andover, Massachusetts March 25th 1818. He graduated 1839 from the United States Military Academy at West Point at the top of his class. He entered the Army Corps of Engineers and was promoted to First Lieutenant by 1840. During the Mexican American War Stevens saw action at the Battles of Cerro Gordo, Vera Cruz, Churubusco, Chapultepec and others. He would write a book about his experiences in 1851. On March 17th 1853 Stevens was named the Governor of the newly created Washington Territory. On his way to his new post Stevens made a survey across the prairie for a possible railroad route. He was elected to and served the Territory in the United States Congress from 1857 to 1858.
When the Union was defeated at the First Battle of Bull Run [First Manassas] Stevens accepted a commission as the Colonel of the 79th New York Infantry, which was known as “the Cameron Highlanders”. He was appointed Brigadier General September 28th 1861 and led men at the Battles of Port Royal and Secessionville. Stevens’ men were transferred to the IX Corps and made part of Union Major General John Pope’s Army, where they fought in the Second Battle of Bull Run [Second Manassas]. At the Battle of Chantilly on September 1st 1862 Stevens raised the fallen regimental colors of his old 79th New York and shouted at the men, "Highlanders, my Highlanders, follow your general!" As he charged ahead of his troops Stevens was hit by a bullet in the temple and died instantly. His body was brought to Newport, Rhode Island and buried in the Island Cemetery there.