All Biographies

You are here: Home > Brevet 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, etc.

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 under Washington.

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 pgs.

Related Links:



Access Genealogy
One of the largest websites online providing free genealogy. A must see for Native American research!

Find Your Ancestors at SurnameWeb
The oldest, most complete listings of surnames and related websites online.

Free Family Tree
Family Tree Guide is a quick, simple and free way for you to share your family history. Within minutes, you can have a dynamically driven website that creatively portrays your family tree.

Free Genealogy Charts
These free genealogy charts will enable you to begin development of a notebook in which you can track your ancestry as you research it.

Copyright, 2005-2010 by Webified Development all rights reserved.