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Major-General Francis J. Herron, U.S.V.

Major-General Francis J. Herron was born in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, February 17, 1838, and graduated from the Western University of Pennsylvania in 1854. He entered the United States Army as captain in the First Iowa Volunteers in April, 1861, although previously, January 15, 1861, he had tendered the services of his fully-uniformed and equipped company, the " Governor's Grays," of Dubuque, Iowa, to the Secretary of War, the Honorable Joseph Holt, who declined the offer, stating the government had no need for troops at the time. It was, however, the first offer of troops to the government. Captain Herron commanded his company through the entire campaign of General Lyon in Missouri, being in the engagements at Booneville, Dug Springs, Ozark, and the final engagement at Wilson's Creek, where General Lyon was killed while leading the First Iowa Regiment in a charge.

In September, 1861, Captain Herron was promoted to the lieutenant-colonelcy of the Ninth Iowa, and commanded the regiment through all the campaigns of General Curtis, in Missouri, Arkansas, and the Indian Territory. At the battle of Pea Ridge he was severely wounded and taken prisoner, but soon exchanged for Colonel Louis Hebert of the Third Louisiana. His regiment lost one-third their number in this battle. For services at Pea Ridge he was appointed brigadier-general of volunteers July 16, 1862, and in December of that year commanded the Army of the Frontier, at the decisive battle of Prairie Grove, Arkansas, which ended Confederate rule north of the Arkansas River. It was to reach this point he made the celebrated forced march of one hundred and fourteen miles in three days, with his entire command and an immense train. For services at Prairie Grove he was promoted major-general of volunteers November 19, 1862.

After further service in Arkansas, General Herron joined Grant at Vicksburg, in 1863, with his Western troops, and was in command of the left division of the investing forces until the surrender. Generals Logan, McPherson, and Herron were the three officers selected by Grant to lead each a division into Vicksburg to receive the formal surrender on July 4, 1863. Immediately after Vicksburg he commanded the army and navy expedition that captured Yazoo City and the large fleet of boats and supplies there. He was then ordered to the Department of the Gulf, and was in command of the Thirteenth Army Corps, occupying the Texas coast, with head-quarters at Brownsville, Texas. While there he broke up the traffic across the Rio Grande, and under private instructions gave what aid he could to President Juarez, of Mexico, and prevented Maximilian's troops from establishing themselves at any point on the Rio Grande frontier. For his services in this line he received complimentary notice from Secretary Seward, and later an offer of a high command in the Mexican army from President Juarez.

In March, 1865, he was assigned to the command of the Northern Division of Louisiana, with head-quarters at Baton Rouge, Louisiana, from which point he co-operated with Major-General Canby in his movement against Mobile, Alabama, and the army of the Confederate General Richard Taylor. In May he arranged a meeting with Lieutenant-Generals S. B. Buckner, Sterling Price, and Brent, at the mouth of the Red River, and negotiated the surrender of Lieutenant-General Kirby Smith's Trans-Mississippi Army, and soon after received the formal surrender of all their troops, over sixty thousand men, with their arms, artillery, and other war material, and the entire Trans-Mississippi Department from Generals Kirby Smith and Buckner, at Shreveport, Louisiana. Here he remained until all the Confederate troops were paroled and sent home, and meantime stationed garrisons throughout Texas, Northern Louisiana, and the Indian Territory. In July, 1865, General Herron was appointed on a commission with General Harney and others to negotiate new treaties with the Indian tribes. In 1865 he resigned his commissions as major-general and Indian commissioner.

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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