Amiel Weeks Whipple

Amiel Weeks Whipple was born on October 15, 1816, in Greenwich, Massachusetts, a village subsequently inundated by the construction of the Quabbin Reservoir in the 1930's. He sought appointment to the Military Academy as early as 1834, meantime teaching school and studying at Amherst as an undergraduate. He was eventually appointed to West Point in 1837 and was graduated in 1841, ranking fifth in the class which contributed twenty-two general officers to the contending armies in the Civil War. Whipple, as an officer of topographical engineers in the years before 1861, was occupied in the survey of the United States-Canadian boundary and subsequently with that of the boundary between the United States and Mexico. In the 1850's he surveyed a railroad route to California through Arizona Territory, and, when the territory was formally established in 1863, its seat of government was named Fort Whipple, or Whipple Barracks, in his honor. In the late 1850's Whipple was employed in removing obstacles to navigation in the Great Lakes, particularly in the St. Mary's River. When the war came, he served on Irvin McDowell's staff as chief topographical engineer at the battle of First Manassas and subsequently commanded a brigade and division in the defenses of Washington. He was commissioned brigadier general of volunteers on April 14, 1862. In October, 1862, preparatory to the campaign of Fredericksburg, Whipple was assigned to the direction of the 3rd Division of the III Corps in Joseph Hooker's "Center Grand Division," but the division was not closely engaged, one of its brigades sustaining only nominal losses. During the fighting in the tangled woodland around Chancellorsville on May 4, 1863, Whipple was sitting on his horse, writing an order to dislodge a Rebel sharpshooter who was annoying nearby officers, when a ball from the same marksman's rifle struck him in the stomach and passed out near his spine. He died in Washington on May 7, and was buried in South Cemetery, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, the home of his wife. He was appointed major general on the day of his death to rank from May 3.

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Reference: Generals in Blue. Lives of the Union Commanders by Ezra J. Warner. Louisiana State University Press. Baton Rouge.