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John McAllister Schofield


JOHN McALLISTER SCHOFIELD, the son of Rev. James Schofield, was born September 29th, 1831, in Chantauqua county, N. Y., and in 1843, when twelve years old, removed with his father's family to Illinois. From this State he was nominated and entered as a cadet in the United States Military Academy at West Point, graduating from that institution in 1853 with the rank of seventh, in the same class as Sheridan and J. B. McPherson, with abrevet second lieutenancy in the Second Artillery, in which he passed two years, partly at Fort Moultrie, S. C., and partly at Fort Cass, Fla. He was then ordered to the West Point Academy as Instructor in Natural Philosophy, a position which occupied his time for the next five years.

In 1860, he obtained leave to occupy the chair of Natural Philosophy in Washington University, St. Louis, Mo. Soon the War of the Civil Rebellion opened, and the young professor was detailed by the War Department to muster the Missouri troops into the United States service, being at the same time appointed Major of the 1st Missouri Infantry, Ids regular army rank being then that of captain, to which he passed by regular steps since his brevet of second lieutenant with which he had left West Point. After the battle of Booneville he was made Assistant Adjutant-General to General Lyon, shared in that chieftain's success at White Creek, and was by his side, when he fell—at the moment of victory. "Wherever the battle most fiercely raged," wrote Major Strong, in his official report, "there was General Lyon; and there, too, was Major Schofield, his principal staff-officer. The coolness and equanimity with which he moved from point to point carrying orders, was the theme of universal conversation. I cannot speak too highly of the invaluable service Major Schofield rendered by the confidence his conduct inspired."

His gallantry had its reward in his appointment, November 21st, 1861, as Brigadier-General of Volunteers, and his assignment to duty in command of the Missouri Militia, authorized by the War Department to be raised for service during the war. When General Halleck went to Pittsburg Landing, about four-fifths of that great State was placed under Schofield.

In June, 1862, the whole State was set apart as the Military District of Missouri, under his charge, and shortly after, the army of the frontier, operating in Missouri and Kansas, was committed to him, and he struck out boldly against all the organized rebel forces in that section, whipping them soundly in a severe engagement at Maysville, near Pea Ridge (October 22d), and driving them, a routed rabble, beyond the Boston Mountains and back into the valley of the Arkansas River. He had rapidly developed the salient points of a good soldier, and promotion followed close upon his footsteps.

In November, 1862, he was appointed by the President a Major-General of Volunteers, and continued in command of the "Army of the Frontier" in South western Missouri till April, 1863. The politicians of Missouri, dissatisfied with his just and straightforward administration of affairs, interfered at Washington, and prevented his confirmation; but President Lincoln reappointed him in April, 1863.  He was assigned to the command of the third division of the Fourteenth Army Corps Army of the Cumberland, April 20th, 1863, but transferred on the 13th of May following to the command of the Department of the Missouri, which involved the command of the Missouri State Militia, and captured Fort Smith and Little Rock, in Arkansas. He rendered material assistance to General Grant in the siege of Vicksburg.  This command he held until January, 1864, when he was relieved of his command in Missouri, and on the 9th of February following made commander of the Department and Army of the Ohio, known at that time as the Twenty-third Army Corps. This corps, on the sixth of May following (the day when Sherman commenced his Atlanta campaign), numbered 13,539 effective troops, but was subsequently reenforced. In all the battles in the Atlanta campaign, and they were many, and some of' them very severe, General Schofield took an active and honorable part. His command, though only one-ninth of the entire force, was never found wanting whenever any brave or daring enterprise. was to be undertaken; and it would be hard to say which of Sherman's army commanders, Thomas, McPherson, or Schofield, best deserved the high encomiums which their grim but just chief bestowed equally on all.

Atlanta won and dismantled, and some apprehensions being entertained from Hood's raid into Tennessee, General Sherman despatched General Thomas, with General Schofield as second in command, to look after the Rebel General. Schofield repaired at once to Nashville, and learning that Hood was crossing the Tennessee at Florence, set out to meet him and obstruct and delay his progress until General Thomas could collect a more adequate force, and especially a larger cavalry force, for the defence of Nashville and Tennessee. Skirmishing with Hood continually, from the 14th to the 30th of November, General Schofield had a sharp action at Pulaski, another at Columbia, and on the 30th of November fought the battle of Franklin, Tennessee, one of the severest in the Western campaigns. His own force was greatly outnumbered by that of the enemy, and the result, amid terrible slaughter, was a drawn battle. But Schofield had gained his point; he had so thoroughly delayed and crippled Hood's army that General Thomas had been able to concentrate his troops at Nashville, and Tennessee was safe. Falling back upon Nashville by rapid marches, he succeeded in joining General Thomas with his command before Hood could overtake him. On the 15th and 16th of December, the battle of Nashville took place, and General Schofield, conspicuous as ever for his 
daring, had a full share in Hood's discomfiture, and pursued him relentlessly, till his troops, a disorganized and almost wholly disarmed mob, singly and by scores found their way across the Tennessee.

Spending no time in rest, General Schofield and his command were next ordered, via Cincinnati and Washington, to the mouth of Cape Fear River, N. C., arriving January 15, 1865. Here he took part in the capture of Fort Anderson and Wilmington, in the battle and occupation of Kinston, and on the 22d of March joined General Sherman at Goldsboro.

He was detailed to execute the military convention of capitulation of General J. E. Johnston's Rebel army, April 26, 1865, and was in command of the Department of North Carolina till June 21, 1865. He had been made a brigadier-general in the regular army, his commission dating from November 30, 1864, the day of the battle of Franklin. On the 13th of March, 1863, he was brevetted major-general in the regular army, and in 1867 was commissioned major-general in that army. From June 22, 1865, to August 16, 1866, he was on special duty in Europe. On his return he was put in command of the Department of the Potomac, and on the reorganization of the military commands, March 13, 1867, was made commander of the First Military District (Virginia).

On the 23d of April, 1868, on the final resignation of Secretary Stanton, he was appointed Secretary of War, and held that position till March 11, 1869, performing its duties with eminent ability. Resigning this office, he was made commander of the Military Department of the Missouri, and on the death of General Thomas, transferred to the command of the Military Division of the Pacific, with headquarters at San Francisco. He still retains this command. In all the positions, military and civil, which General Schofield has been called to occupy, be has acquitted himself with the highest credit, making no failures and no blunders.

Source: Source: Men of Our Day; or Biographical Sketches of Patriots, Orators, Statesmen, Generals, Reformers, Financiers and Merchants, Now on the state of Action: Including Those Who in Military, Political, Business and Social Life, are the Prominent Leaders of the Time in This Country, by L. P. Brockett, M. D., Published by Ziegler and McCurdy, Philadelphia Penna; Springfield, Mass; Cincinnati, Ohio; St. Louis, Mo., 1872  

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