Amos Beebe Eaton

Amos Beebe Eaton was born on May 12, 1806, in the Hudson River town of Catskill, New York, where his father, a well-known botanist, was acting as agent and surveyor of the Livingston estates. Young Eaton was graduated from West Point in 1826 in the class which included Albert Sidney Johnston. As a lieutenant of infantry Eaton performed duty at various garrisons; and during the Florida War of 1837-41 discharged commissary and other staff details, having in the meantime been promoted to captain, commissary of subsistence, to rank from July 7, 1838. During the Mexican War, Eaton was chief commissary of subsistence of the army commanded by General Zachary Taylor and won the brevet of major for gallant and meritorious conduct at Buena Vista. From the close of that war until 1855, Eaton operated as chief of commissariat of the Department of the Pacific at San Francisco and from then until 1861 as depot commissary at New York City. At the outbreak of the Civil War he was accorded larger responsibilities, with attendant increase in rank. It is recorded that "millions . . . passed through his hands in the discharge of the important position committed to him, and in the selection of General Eaton the government was peculiarly fortunate." Upon the retirement in 1864 of General Joseph P. Taylor (brother of his old commander and uncle of Confederate General Richard Taylor), Eaton was appointed commissary general of the U. S. Army to rank from June 29, 1864. In this capacity he served for a decade with rank of brigadier general. On March 13, 1865, he was brevetted major general, U. S. Army, for "Faithful, Meritorious, and Distinguished Services in the Subsistence Department during the Rebellion." General Eaton was retired in 1874 by operation of the law of July 17, 1862, having served more than forty-five years. He and his wife then traveled extensively in Europe, returning in the autumn of 1876 to make their residence in New Haven, Connecticut, where their son was a professor at Yale. General Eaton died suddenly there, presumably of heart disease, on February 21, 1877, and was buried in Grove Street Cemetery.

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