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John Davidson (general)

John Davidson (general)

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John Wynn Davidson was a brigadier general
Brigadier general (United States)
A brigadier general in the United States Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps, is a one-star general officer, with the pay grade of O-7. Brigadier general ranks above a colonel and below major general. Brigadier general is equivalent to the rank of rear admiral in the other uniformed...

 in the United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 during the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

 and an American Indian
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

 fighter. In 1866, he received brevet
Brevet (military)
In many of the world's military establishments, brevet referred to a warrant authorizing a commissioned officer to hold a higher rank temporarily, but usually without receiving the pay of that higher rank except when actually serving in that role. An officer so promoted may be referred to as being...

 grade appointments as a major general
Major general (United States)
In the United States Army, United States Marine Corps, and United States Air Force, major general is a two-star general-officer rank, with the pay grade of O-8. Major general ranks above brigadier general and below lieutenant general...

 of volunteers and in the regular U.S. Army for his Civil War service,

Biography


Davidson was born in Fairfax County, Virginia
Fairfax County, Virginia
Fairfax County is a county in Virginia, in the United States. Per the 2010 Census, the population of the county is 1,081,726, making it the most populous jurisdiction in the Commonwealth of Virginia, with 13.5% of Virginia's population...

. He graduated from West Point
United States Military Academy
The United States Military Academy at West Point is a four-year coeducational federal service academy located at West Point, New York. The academy sits on scenic high ground overlooking the Hudson River, north of New York City...

. Shortly after graduation he was promoted to 2nd lieutenant in the 1st U.S. Dragoons and participated in the Mexican-American War, seeing considerable action at the San Pasqual
Battle of San Pasqual
The Battle of San Pasqual, also spelled San Pascual, was a military encounter that occurred during the Mexican-American War in what is now the San Pasqual Valley community of the city of San Diego, California. On December 6 and December 7, 1846, General Stephen W...

 and the Rio San Gabriel
Battle of Rio San Gabriel
The Battle of Rio San Gabriel fought on January 8, 1847 was a decisive action of the California campaign of the Mexican-American War and occurred at a ford of the San Gabriel River, at what are today parts of the cities of Whittier, Pico Rivera and Montebello, about ten miles south-east of downtown...

 battles.

Following the war, Davidson was promoted to 1st lieutenant and assigned to the Western frontier
Frontier
A frontier is a political and geographical term referring to areas near or beyond a boundary. 'Frontier' was absorbed into English from French in the 15th century, with the meaning "borderland"--the region of a country that fronts on another country .The use of "frontier" to mean "a region at the...

. He served as the regimental quartermaster and adjutant. He led the 1st Cavalry Regiment against the Jicarilla Apache
Jicarilla Apache
Jicarilla Apache refers to the members of the Jicarilla Apache Nation currently living in New Mexico and speaking a Southern Athabaskan language...

s in the Battle of Cieneguilla
Battle of Cieneguilla
The Battle of Cieneguilla was an engagement of the Jicarilla War involving a group of Jicarilla Apaches, their Ute allies, and the American 1st Cavalry Regiment on March 30, 1854 near what is now Pilar, New Mexico...

 on March 30, 1854, where he was badly defeated in what was to be the fourth worst defeat suffered by the American military during the Western Indian Wars. In 1855 Davidson was promoted captain and was in command of Fort Tejon, California
Fort Tejon
Fort Tejon in California is a former United States Army outpost which was intermittently active from June 24, 1854, until September 11, 1864. It is located in the Grapevine Canyon area of Tejon Pass along Interstate 5, the main route through the mountains separating the Central Valley from Los...

 when the American Civil War erupted.

Civil War


He was allegedly offered a commission in the Confederate Army but turned it down. Davidson was transferred to the east and took command of a brigade in the newly formed Army of the Potomac
Army of the Potomac
The Army of the Potomac was the major Union Army in the Eastern Theater of the American Civil War.-History:The Army of the Potomac was created in 1861, but was then only the size of a corps . Its nucleus was called the Army of Northeastern Virginia, under Brig. Gen...

. On February 6, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led his country through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union, while ending slavery, and...

 appointed Davidson to the grade of brigadier general of U.S. volunteers, to rank from February 3, 1862, the same day the U.S. Senate confirmed the previously submitted nomination.

General Davidson assumed command of the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Division, IV Corps
IV Corps (ACW)
There were two corps of the Union Army called IV Corps during the American Civil War. They were separate units, one serving with the Army of the Potomac and the Department of Virginia in the Eastern Theater, 1862–63, the other with the Army of the Cumberland in the Western Theater,...

 during the Peninsula Campaign
Peninsula Campaign
The Peninsula Campaign of the American Civil War was a major Union operation launched in southeastern Virginia from March through July 1862, the first large-scale offensive in the Eastern Theater. The operation, commanded by Maj. Gen. George B...

. He fought at the battles of Yorktown
Battle of Yorktown (1862)
The Battle of Yorktown or Siege of Yorktown was fought from April 5 to May 4, 1862, as part of the Peninsula Campaign of the American Civil War. Marching from Fort Monroe, Union Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan's Army of the Potomac encountered Maj. Gen. John B. Magruder's small Confederate force...

 and Williamsburg
Battle of Williamsburg
The Battle of Williamsburg, also known as the Battle of Fort Magruder, took place on May 5, 1862, in York County, James City County, and Williamsburg, Virginia, as part of the Peninsula Campaign of the American Civil War...

. During the Seven Days Battles
Seven Days Battles
The Seven Days Battles was a series of six major battles over the seven days from June 25 to July 1, 1862, near Richmond, Virginia during the American Civil War. Confederate General Robert E. Lee drove the invading Union Army of the Potomac, commanded by Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan, away from...

 he received brevet promotions in the Regular Army for his service at Gaines' Mill
Battle of Gaines' Mill
The Battle of Gaines's Mill, sometimes known as the First Battle of Cold Harbor or the Battle of Chickahominy River, took place on June 27, 1862, in Hanover County, Virginia, as the third of the Seven Days Battles of the American Civil War...

 and Golding's Farm
Battle of Garnett's & Golding's Farm
The Battle of Garnett's and Golding's Farms took place June 27–28, 1862, in Henrico County, Virginia, as part of the Seven Days Battles of the American Civil War. While battle raged north of the Chickahominy River at Gaines's Mill on June 27, Confederate Brig. Gen. John B...

. Shortly after the culmination of the Seven Days' fighting, Davidson was transferred to the Trans-Mississippi Theater where he was placed in command of the Dist. of St. Louis. From December 3, 1862 to March 26, 1863 he was also in command of the so called Army of Southeast Missouri until much of his army was transferred to Ulysses S. Grant in preparation for the Vicksburg Campaign
Vicksburg Campaign
The Vicksburg Campaign was a series of maneuvers and battles in the Western Theater of the American Civil War directed against Vicksburg, Mississippi, a fortress city that dominated the last Confederate-controlled section of the Mississippi River. The Union Army of the Tennessee under Maj. Gen....

. He retained command of the Dist. of St. Louis until June 16, 1863 when he briefly commanded the Dist. of Southeast Missouri.

From August 10 to November 3, 1863 Davidson commanded the 1st Division of Frederick Steele
Frederick Steele
Frederick Steele was a career military officer in the United States Army, serving as a major general in the Union Army during the American Civil War. He was most noted for his successful campaign to retake much of secessionist Arkansas for the Union cause.-Early life:Steele was born in Delhi, New...

's Army of Arkansas
Army of Arkansas
The Army of Arkansas was a Union Army that served in the Trans-Mississippi Theater during the American Civil War. This force functioned exclusively in the state of Arkansas.-History:...

 in his most distinguished role in the west. He led Union advance into central Arkansas and won the battle of Bayou Fourche
Battle of Bayou Fourche
The Battle of Bayou Fourche, sometimes called the Battle of Little Rock, was a battle in the American Civil War fought on September 10, 1863 east of the town of Little Rock, Arkansas.- Battle :...

, which led directly to the fall of Confederate-held Little Rock. After the Little Rock expedition, Davidson commanded the cavalry in the Dept. of the Gulf before returning to command the cavalry in the Dist. of Southeast Missouri. For the remainder of the war, Davidson held various administrative commands in Mississippi. He was mustered out of the volunteer service on January 15, 1866. On January 13, 1866, President Andrew Johnson
Andrew Johnson
Andrew Johnson was the 17th President of the United States . As Vice-President of the United States in 1865, he succeeded Abraham Lincoln following the latter's assassination. Johnson then presided over the initial and contentious Reconstruction era of the United States following the American...

 nominated Davidson for appointment to the grade of brevet
Brevet (military)
In many of the world's military establishments, brevet referred to a warrant authorizing a commissioned officer to hold a higher rank temporarily, but usually without receiving the pay of that higher rank except when actually serving in that role. An officer so promoted may be referred to as being...

 major general
Major general (United States)
In the United States Army, United States Marine Corps, and United States Air Force, major general is a two-star general-officer rank, with the pay grade of O-8. Major general ranks above brigadier general and below lieutenant general...

 of volunteers to rank from March 13, 1865, and the U.S. Senate confirmed the appointment on March 12, 1866. On April 10, 1866, President Johnson nominated Davidson for appointment to the grade of brevet brigadier general, U.S. Army, to rank from March 13, 1865, and the U.S. Senate confirmed the appointment on May 4, 1866. On July 17, 1866, President Johnson nominated Davidson for appointment to the grade of brevet major general, U.S. Army, to rank from March 13, 1865, and the U.S. Senate confirmed the appointment on July 23, 1866.

Following the end of the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

 Davidson was again posted on the Western frontier, this time as a lieutenant colonel of the 10th Cavalry, known as the Buffalo Soldiers. It was there that he acquired the nickname "Black Jack."

In 1879 he was transferred to the 2nd Cavalry as colonel, at Fort Custer
Fort Custer (Montana)
Fort Custer was established during the Indian wars in the Department of Dakota by the U.S. Army to control the Sioux, Cheyenne and Crow Indians near present-day Hardin, Montana...

 in the Montana Territory
Montana Territory
The Territory of Montana was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from May 28, 1864, until November 8, 1889, when it was admitted to the Union as the State of Montana.-History:...

. Davidson died in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1881 after being seriously injured by a fall from a horse during an inspection tour. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington County, Virginia, is a military cemetery in the United States of America, established during the American Civil War on the grounds of Arlington House, formerly the estate of the family of Confederate general Robert E. Lee's wife Mary Anna Lee, a great...

.

See also


  • List of American Civil War generals (Union)
  • Notable graduates of West Point
    Notable graduates of West Point
    The United States Military Academy is an undergraduate college in West Point, New York with the mission of educating and commissioning officers for the United States Army. The Academy was founded in 1802 and is the oldest of the United States' five service academies. It is also called The Academy,...



External links