Famed Gettysburg General O. O. Howard Signature with Rank and CDV Photograph- Inventory Number: IDE 042
Signed:"Respectfully your obst. Srvt.
Maj. Genl. "
Oliver Otis Howard (November 8, 1830 – October 26, 1909) was a career United States Army officer and a Union general in the American Civil War. He was born at Leeds, Kennebec county, Me., Nov. 8, 1830. Having finished preparation at Monmouth and Yarmouth, at the age of sixteen he entered Bowdoin college, in which he was graduated in 1850, with a fair standing. An opportunity was then afforded him to enter the United States military academy, and he became a cadet in that institution, graduating in 1854. He stood fourth in his class, and by his own request was assigned to the ordnance department with the brevet rank of second lieutenant. His first service was at Watervliet, N. Y., and Kennebec arsenal, Me., and he next served in Florida, being chief ordnance officer during Gen. Harney's campaign against the Indians. The following year he was promoted first lieutenant, and was assigned to duty as acting professor of mathematics at West Point, which position he continued to hold until the breaking out of the Civil war. In 1861 Lieut. Howard volunteered his services to the governor of his native state, and was finally, by a regimental election, made colonel of the 3rd regiment, Me. volunteers. His commission bore the date of May 28, and by June 1, he was on his way to the national capital with a full regiment. Colonel Howard commanded the 3rd brigade of the 3rd division during the battle of Bull Run, July 21, and for his conduct during this campaign was created brigadier-general of volunteers on Sept. 3. He bore a prominent part in the movement toward the Rappahannock in the spring of 1862, and was then transferred to the Peninsula, where he participated in the advance against Richmond. He was twice wounded in the right arm at the battle of Fair Oaks on May 31, while leading his brigade in a charge against the enemy, and he lost that arm by amputation. In two months and twenty days after Fair Oaks General Howard returned to his corps, and was in the Pope campaign in Virginia participating in the second battle of Bull Run, and during the retreat from Centerville to Washington, he commanded the rear guard of the army, which was under fire almost continuously. In the Maryland campaign he commanded a brigade until Antietam, where General Sedgwick was wounded, when he took charge of that General's division, which he also commanded at Fredericksburg.
In November he was promoted to the rank of major-general of volunteers, and in the following spring he succeeded General Sigel as commander of the 11th army corps which he led during the sanguinary battles at Chancellorsville and Gettysburg. In October 1863, Gen. Howard's corps was engaged in the fighting in Lookout valley, and he received Gen. Thomas, commendation in further orders the following month, when he fought under Grant in the battle of Chattanooga, gaining distinction. During Sherman's Atlanta campaign in the spring of 1864, General Howard was in command of the new 4th corps, which formed a part of the army of the Cumberland, seeing severest service for 100 days. When General McPherson fell before Atlanta, General Howard succeeded him as commander of the Army and Department of the Tennessee, and throughout the whole of the grand march through Georgia his corps formed the right of Sherman's army. For his part in this campaign he was appointed brigadier-general in the regular army. He commanded the same wing during the movement through the Carolinas, and assisted in the operations by virtue of which Johnston's army was forced to surrender in 1865. For this portion of the campaign General Howard was brevetted major-general of the regular army. On May 12, 1865, he was assigned to duty in the war department in the bureau of refugees, freedmen, and abandoned lands, in which position he remained until July, 1874, when he was assigned to the command of the Department of the Columbia. In 1877, he commanded a successful expedition against the Nez Perces Indians, his infantry marching over 1,400 miles, and the following year another, nearly as extended, against the Bannocks and Piutes.
In 1881-82 Gen. Howard was superintendent of the United States military academy, and from 1882-86 he commanded the Department of the Platte at Omaha, Neb. In 1886 he was commissioned major-general and placed in command of the division of the Pacific, and after the death of Gen. Sheridan, and the assignment of Maj.-Gen. Schofield to command the U. S. army, General Howard was appointed to the command of the division of the Atlantic, with headquarters at Governor's island in the harbor of New York. He was placed upon the retired list, November 8, 1894.
Inventory Number: IDE 042