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Major-General Edward Otho Cresap Ord, U.S.A.

Major-General Edward Otho Cresap Ord was born in Cumberland, Maryland, October 18, 1818, and died in Havana, Cuba, July 22, 1883. He showed in his youth great mathematical ability, which attracted attention and gained for him an appointment to West Point, where he graduated in 1839. He was assigned to the Third Artillery, and served in the Florida War against the Seminole Indians, 1839-42, winning his promotion as first lieutenant in 1841. He was one of two lieutenants selected by General Harney to attack the Indians in the Everglades, and on one occasion went back to his wounded sergeant, whom his companions had deserted, and, taking his musket, held the Indians off until they returned to the rescue. In 1847, with Lieutenants H. W. Halleck and W. T. Sherman, he was ordered to California, via Cape Horn, where he served during the Mexican War, and at its close was stationed at Monterey, where, by his individual efforts, he did much to preserve law and order. Once, following a party of desperadoes several hundred miles, his men deserted him; he then continued alone, overtook, and, by the aid of the inhabitants, succeeded in capturing and executing them. In September, 1850, he was promoted captain; on December 3, 1852, he was assigned to Coast Survey duty; in 1855 he was on the Yskima Indian Expedition; in 1856 he was on the Rogue River Expedition, being in command in the action of Macknyhootney Villages on March 26. Of this fight he said, "It was the first defeat in pitched battle these Indians had ever experienced." During that night he carried in his arms on his saddle one of his worst-wounded men, for several hours, through the thick underbrush to the river, amid the groanings and pleadings of the poor fellow to be put out of his misery. He was also in command of the action at Checto Creek, April 28, 1856. He was then stationed at Benicia until 1858, when he was on frontier duty at Fort Miller, California, and participated in the Spokane Expedition; was engaged in the combat of Four Lakes, September 1, 1858; combat of Spokane Plain, September 5, 1858; skirmish of Spokane River, September 8, 1858,--the celebrated chief, Rogue River John, surrendering to him. In 1859 he was stationed at Fort Monroe, and was in the Harper's Ferry Expedition to suppress the John Brown raid. He was commissioned brigadier-general of volunteers, "for services in the war," September 4, 1861, and commanded the Third Brigade, Pennsylvania Reserves. His first engagement of the war was at Dranesville, where he defeated the Confederates, under General Jeb. Stewart, after a sharp contest lasting several hours. In this fight he pointed and fired the first cannon himself, the shell causing great havoc among the enemy. General John F. Reynolds said at the time, "I knew, if there was a fight to be scared up, Ord would find it." He was brevetted lieutenant-colonel for gallantry in that battle. In May, 1862, he commanded a division in the Army of the Rappahannock; in June and August, Corinth, Mississippi. In May he was promoted major-general of volunteers, and commanded left wing, Army of Tennessee; was engaged in the battle of Iuka; fought the battle of the Hatchie. He was severely wounded, and had to be carried from the field. After his recovery he was given the 18th Army Corps, before Vicksburg. He was with Gen. Grant during the conference and surrender of Gen. Pemberton. He was engaged in the capture of Jackson, Miss.; Feb. 16, 1864, commanding the 18th Army Corps and all troops in the Middle Department. He was then given the Eighteenth Army Corps, and took part in the movements before Petersburg; and, crossing his army to the north side of the James on the 29th of September, led the forces that carried the strong fortifications and long line of entrenchments below Chapin's Farm known as Fort Harrison. During the assault he was severely wounded. In January he was given the Army of the James and Department of Virginia. With this command he was engaged in the various operations terminating in the evacuation of Richmond and surrender of General Lee.

He was twenty years a general, commanding, after the Rebellion, the Departments of Ohio, Arkansas, 4th Military District, Departments of California, Platte, and Texas. He was retired with the rank of major-general.

On one occasion he saved a worthless member of his company from drowning, in San Francisco Bay, by jumping from the deck of the steamer into the bay after him.

The War Department order that announced his death closed with these words: "As his intimate associate since boyhood, the general (Sherman) here bears testimony of him, that a more unselfish, manly, and patriotic person never lived."

Source: Officers of the Volunteer Army and Navy who served in the Civil War, published by L.R. Hamersly & Co., 1893, 419 pgs.

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