General John Gibbon

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General John Gibbon

Biography:
General John Gibbon

Gibbon, John, major-general, was born near Holmesburg,
Pa., April 20, 1827, and was graduated at the United States
Military Academy in 1847. In the Mexican war, he served as 2nd
lieutenant of artillery at the City of Mexico and at Toluca,
and was then on frontier and garrison duty, served in the Semi-
nole war, was instructor at West Point, 1854-57, and quarter-
master, 1856-59. He was made chief of artillery in Gen. McDow-
ell's division, Oct. 29, 1861, and brigadier-general of volun-
teers, May 2, 1862. He commanded a brigade through the North-
ern Virginia, Maryland, Rappahannock, and Pennsylvania cam-
paigns of 1862-63, was brevetted major in the regular army,
Sept. 17, 1862, for gallant and meritorious services in the
battle of Antietam, Lieutenant-colonel, Dec. 13,1862, for Fre-
dericksburg, where he was so severely wounded as to be disabled
for service for three months, and colonel, July 4, 1863, for
services at Gettysburg, where he was severely wounded while in
command of the 2nd corps and disabled for four months. When he
was able to return to service he was in command of the draft
depot in Philadelphia until March 21, 1864, when he was as-
signed to a division in the 2nd corps, becoming major-general
of volunteers, June 7, 1864, and being engaged at the Wilder-
ness, Spottsylvania and Cold Harbor. He commanded the 24th
army corps after Jan. 15, 1865, and was before Petersburg from
June, 1864, to April, 1865, taking part in the assaults of the
last two days and carrying two redoubts. He was brevetted
brigadier-general and major-general U. S. A., March 13, 1865,
and was one of the commissioners to carry into effect the
stipulations of Lee's surrender. He was mustered out of the
volunteer service, Jan. 15, 1866. After the war, Gen. Gibbon
commanded various posts as colonel, first of the 36th and then
of the 7th infantry, commanded the Yellowstone expedition
against Sitting Bull in 1876, fought Chief Joseph and the Nez
Perces at Big Hole pass in 1877, where he was wounded, com-
manded the Department of the Columbia, 1885, and then, until
his retirement, April 20, 1891, the Department of the Pacific.
He was promoted brigadier-general U. S. A., July 10, 1885.
Gen. Gibbon died in Baltimore, Md., Feb. 6, 1896.

Source: The Union Army, vol. 8

Recommended Reading: Generals in Blue: Lives of the Union Commanders (Hardcover). Description: More than forty years after its original publication, Ezra J. Warner’s Generals in Blue is now available in paperback for the first time. Warner’s classic reference work includes intriguing biographical sketches and a rare collection of photos of all 583 men who attained the rank of general in the Union Army. Here are the West Point graduates and the political appointees; the gifted, the mediocre, and the inexcusably bad; those of impeccable virtue and those who abused their position; the northern-born, the foreign-born, and the southerners who remained loyal to the Union. Continued below.

Warner’s valuable introduction discusses the criteria for appointment and compares the civilian careers of both Union and Confederate generals, revealing striking differences in the two groups. Generals in Blue is that rare book—an essential volume for scholars, a prized item for buffs, and a biographical dictionary that the casual reader will find absorbing.

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Recommended Reading: THOSE DAMNED BLACK HATS!: The Iron Brigade in the Gettysburg Campaign. Description: The Iron Brigade--an all-Western outfit famously branded as The Iron Brigade of the West--served their enlistments entirely in the Eastern Theater. Hardy men were these soldiers from Indiana, Wisconsin, and Michigan, who waged war beneath their unique black Hardee Hats on many fields, from Brawner's Farm during the Second Bull Run Campaign all the way to Appomattox. In between were memorable combats at South Mountain, Antietam, Chancellorsville, Mine Run, the Overland Campaign, and the grueling fighting around Petersburg. None of these battles compared with the "four long hours" of July 1, 1863, at Gettysburg, where the Iron Brigade was all but wrecked. Lance Herdegen's Those Damned Black Hats! The Iron Brigade in the Gettysburg Campaign is the first book-length account of their remarkable experiences in Pennsylvania during that fateful summer of 1863. Continued below.

Drawing upon a wealth of sources, including dozens of previously unpublished accounts, Herdegen details for the first time the exploits of the 2nd, 6th, 7th Wisconsin, 19th Indiana, and 24th Michigan regiments during the entire campaign. On July 1, the Western troops stood line-to-line and often face-to-face with their Confederate adversaries, who later referred to them as "those damned Black Hats!" With the help of other stalwart comrades, the Hoosiers, Badgers, and Wolverines shed copious amounts of blood to save the Army of the Potomac's defensive position west of town. Their heroics above Willoughby Run, along the Chambersburg Pike, and at the Railroad Cut helped define the opposing lines for the rest of the battle and, perhaps, won the battle that helped preserve the Union. Herdegen's account is much more than a battle study. The story of the fighting at the "Bloody Railroad Cut" is well known, but the attack and defense of McPherson's Ridge, the final stand at Seminary Ridge, the occupation of Culp's Hill, and the final pursuit of the Confederate Army has never been explored in sufficient depth or with such story telling ability. Herdegen completes the journey of the Black Hats with an account of the reconciliation at the 50th Anniversary Reunion and the Iron Brigade's place in Civil War history. "Where has the firmness of the Iron Brigade at Gettysburg been surpassed in history?" asked Rufus Dawes of the 6th Wisconsin. Indeed, it was a fair question. The brigade marched to Gettysburg with 1,883 men in ranks and by nightfall on July 1, only 671 men were counted. It would fight on to the end of the Civil War, and do so without its all-Western composition, but never again was it a major force in battle. Nearly 150 years after the last member of the Iron Brigade laid down his life for his country, the complete story of what the Black Hats did at Gettysburg and how they remembered it is finally available.

 

Recommended Reading: A Brotherhood Of Valor: The Common Soldiers Of The Stonewall Brigade C.S.A. And The Iron Brigade U.S.A. Description: Confederate General Thomas J. Jackson was arguably the greatest commander of the Civil War. Yet, "Stonewall" Jackson owed much of his success to the troops who served under his command. He eagerly gave them their due: "You cannot praise these men of my brigade too much; they have fought, marched, and endured more than I even thought they would." The Stonewall Brigade, composed mainly of Virginians from the Shenandoah Valley, proved its mettle at First Manassas and never let up--even after its esteemed leader was shot down at Chancellorsville. Their equally elite counterparts in the Army of the Potomac were known as the Iron Brigade, hardy westerners drawn from Wisconsin, Indiana, and Michigan. By focusing on these two groups, historian Jeffry Wert retells the story of the Civil War's eastern theater as it was experienced by these ordinary men from North and South. Continued below.

His battle descriptions are riveting, especially when he covers Antietam:

Three times the Georgians charged towards the guns, and three times they were repelled. Union infantry west of the battery ripped apart the attacker's flank, and the artillerists unleashed more canister.... Finally, the Georgians could withstand the punishment no longer, and as more Union infantry piled into the Cornfield, Hood's wrecked division retreated towards West Woods and Dunker Church. When asked later where his command was, Hood replied, "Dead on the field."

But the book is perhaps most notable for the way in which it describes the everyday hardships befalling each side. They often lacked food, shoes, blankets, and other military necessities. When the war began, the men believed deeply in their conflicting causes. Before it was over, writes Wert, "the war itself became their common enemy." Wert is slowly but surely gaining a reputation as one of the finest popular historians writing about the Civil War; A Brotherhood of Valor will undoubtedly advance his claim.

 

Recommended Reading: Commanding the Army of the Potomac (Modern War Studies) (Hardcover). Description: During the Civil War, thirty-six officers in the Army of the Potomac were assigned corps commands of up to 30,000 men. Collectively charged with leading the Union's most significant field army, these leaders proved their courage in countless battlefields from Gettysburg to Antietam to Cold Harbor. Unfortunately, courage alone was not enough. Their often dismal performances played a major role in producing this army's tragic record, one that included more defeats than victories despite its numerical and materiel superiority. Stephen Taaffe takes a close look at this command cadre, examining who was appointed to these positions, why they were appointed, and why so many of them ultimately failed to fulfill their responsibilities. He demonstrates that ambitious officers such as Gouverneur Warren, John Reynolds, and Winfield Scott Hancock employed all the weapons at their disposal, from personal connections to exaggerated accounts of prowess in combat, to claw their way into these important posts. Continued below.

Once appointed, however, Taaffe reveals that many of these officers failed to navigate the tricky and ever-changing political currents that swirled around the Army of the Potomac. As a result, only three of them managed to retain their commands for more than a year, and their machinations caused considerable turmoil in the army's high command structure. Taaffe also shows that their ability or inability to get along with generals such as George McClellan, Ambrose Burnside, Joseph Hooker, George Meade, and Ulysses Grant played a big role in their professional destinies. In analyzing the Army of the Potomac's corps commanders as a group, Taaffe provides a new way of detailing this army's chronic difficulties-one that, until now, has been largely neglected in the literature of the Civil War.

 

Recommended Reading: Civil War High Commands (1040 pages) (Hardcover). Description: Based on nearly five decades of research, this magisterial work is a biographical register and analysis of the people who most directly influenced the course of the Civil War, its high commanders. Numbering 3,396, they include the presidents and their cabinet members, state governors, general officers of the Union and Confederate armies (regular, provisional, volunteers, and militia), and admirals and commodores of the two navies. Civil War High Commands will become a cornerstone reference work on these personalities and the meaning of their commands, and on the Civil War itself. Continued below...

Errors of fact and interpretation concerning the high commanders are legion in the Civil War literature, in reference works as well as in narrative accounts. The present work brings together for the first time in one volume the most reliable facts available, drawn from more than 1,000 sources and including the most recent research. The biographical entries include complete names, birthplaces, important relatives, education, vocations, publications, military grades, wartime assignments, wounds, captures, exchanges, paroles, honors, and place of death and interment. In addition to its main component, the biographies, the volume also includes a number of essays, tables, and synopses designed to clarify previously obscure matters such as the definition of grades and ranks; the difference between commissions in regular, provisional, volunteer, and militia services; the chronology of military laws and executive decisions before, during, and after the war; and the geographical breakdown of command structures. The book is illustrated with 84 new diagrams of all the insignias used throughout the war and with 129 portraits of the most important high commanders. It is the most comprehensive volume to date...name any Union or Confederate general--and it can be found in here. [T]he photos alone are worth the purchase. RATED FIVE STARS by americancivilwarhistory.org

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