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Major-General Joseph Warren Keifer, U.S.V.
Brevet Major-General Joseph Warren Keifer, U.S.V.
Brevet Major-General Joseph Warren Keifer (Springfield, Ohio) was born
on a farm on Mad River, Clark County, Ohio, January 30, 1836. His father,
Joseph Keifer, was a civil engineer and a farmer. He was educated in
public schools and at Antioch College. He taught a term in a country
public school and labored on a farm, reading law at night and odd hours
until the autumn of 1856, when he entered a law office in Springfield,
Ohio. He was admitted to practice law in Ohio January 12, 1858, and since
in the Supreme and other courts of the United States.
He enlisted in the Union army April 19, 1861; became major of the Third
Ohio Volunteer Infantry April 27, 1861; lieutenant-colonel same regiment
February 12, 1862; colonel One Hundred and Tenth Ohio Volunteer Infantry
September 30, 1862. He was appointed by President Lincoln brevet
brigadier-general of volunteers "for gallant and meritorious services in
the battles of Opequon, Fisher's Hill, and Cedar Creek, Virginia," and
assigned to duty by him with that rank. He received the commission of
brevet major-general of volunteers "for gallant and distinguished services
during the campaign ending in the surrender of the insurgent army under
General R. E. Lee." After four years and two months' continuous service he
resumed the practice of the law. He was, in 1866, on the unsolicited
recommendations of Generals Grant and Meade, appointed lieutenant-colonel
Twenty-sixth Infantry, which appointment he declined.
He participated, in 1861, in the Rich and Cheat Mountain campaigns; then
joined Buell's army in Kentucky; was at the taking of Bowling Green,
Nashville, and, under General O. M. Mitchell, Murfreesborough, Tennessee;
Huntsville, Decatur, and Bridgeport, Alabama. He led (April 30, 1862) the
first expedition into Georgia, destroying saltpetre works at Nicojack
Cave, capturing, at Shell Mound, a train of cars with supplies, prisoners,
||He was with Buell's army in its
retreat after Bragg through Tennessee and Kentucky. As colonel he
again went to West Virginia and participated in a winter campaign
(1862-63), and fought in the three days' battles (June, 1863) at
Winchester, being there twice wounded, not disabled. He joined, with
his brigade, the Army of the Potomac (Third Corps) July 9, 1863, and
in August went in command of troops to New York City to enforce the
draft, returning in September. Besides many minor engagements, he
fought at Brandy Station, Mine Run (1863), the Wilderness (1864),
where his left forearm was shattered with a bullet. He commanded his
brigade (Sixth Corps), under Sheridan, at Opequon, (there again
slightly wounded,) Fisher's Hill, and the Third Division, Sixth Army
Corps, at Cedar Creek (1864).
With the Sixth Army Corps he rejoined the Army of the Potomac,
December, 1864, and was posted on its extreme left. He led a successful
assault March 25, 1865, and (April 2) his division in storming the main
line, resulting in the capture of Petersburg and Richmond.
In pursuing Lee's army, he fought at Jettersville, and at Sailor's Creek
(the last field engagement of the war) he led a successful attack,
capturing many distinguished officers and several thousand men. Commodore
J. R. Tucker, with his Naval Brigade, surrendered to him personally. He
was at the surrender of Lee; then, with his corps, went to North Carolina,
but it turned back on learning Johnston's army had surrendered, he himself
going through to Sherman's army.
From July, 1863, to Lee's surrender there were killed and wounded in his
brigade above three thousand men, more than fell in the American army
He was in the Ohio Senate, 1868--69; was department commander of Ohio, G.
A. R., 1868-70; vice-commander in-chief, G. A. R., 1872-73; senior
vice-commander Loyal Legion of Ohio (1890-91); trustee Ohio Soldiers' and
Sailors' Orphans' Home (an institution he did much to establish), 1870-78;
trustee of Antioch College since 1873; a director and president of the
Lagonda National Bank since 1873; a delegate-at-large at the National
Republican Convention, 1876, and elected to Congress in 1876-78-80-82. He
served in Congress on War Claims, Elections, Appropriations, and other
committees. He was Speaker of the Forty-seventh Congress, 1881-83, during
which term he made many parliamentary decisions from which appeals were
taken to the House, which always sustained him, though his party majority
was small. He is now, in full vigor of life, practicing law and
participating in politics and public affairs. He married Eliza Stout March
22, 1860, who, with three sons - Joseph Warren, William White, and Horace
Charles - are living.
Source: Officers of the Volunteer Army and Navy who
served in the Civil War, published by L.R. Hamersly & Co., 1893, 419
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