August Valentine Kautz

August Valentine Kautz was born in the province of Baden, Germany, in or near Pforzheim, on January 5, 1828. In the year of his birth, or soon thereafter, his parents emigrated to Brown County, Ohio, via Baltimore, Maryland. He attended school in Georgetown, Ohio, and during the first year of the Mexican War served as a private in the 1st Ohio Infantry. A year after his discharge he was appointed to West Point and was graduated in the class of 1852; he then served for a number of years in the Pacific Northwest, where he was twice wounded in operations against the Indians. With the reorganization of the Regular Army in May, 1861, Kautz was made a captain of the new 6th Cavalry, served in the Washington defenses and most creditably in General George B. McClellan's Peninsular campaign. In September, 1862, he was appointed colonel of the 2nd Ohio Cavalry volunteer regiment and was sent to Fort Scott on the Kansas frontier. The following year, after some duty in command of Camp Chase, Ohio, Kautz took part in the pursuit and capture of the rebel General John Hunt Morgan in the course of the latter's raid into Kentucky and Indiana. From April, 1864, until March, 1865, he commanded a division of cavalry in Benjamin F. Butler's Army of the James, having been made a brigadier general of volunteers on May 7, 1864. Kautz took part in a number of operations against the various Confederate lines of supply coming into Richmond and Petersburg, including the fight at Ream's Station on June 29, 1864, during James Harrison Wilson's raid. In none of these actions was he substantially successful, and in March, 1865, he was shifted to the command of a division of Negro troops in the XXV Corps at the head of which he entered the Confederate capital on April 3, 1865. In May and June Kautz had the dubious distinction of being one of the members of the military commission which acted out the farce of "trying" the conspirators in the assassination of President Lincoln. With the brevets of major general in both the Regulars and volunteers, Kautz became lieutenant colonel of the 34th Infantry in 1866, colonel of the 8th Infantry in 1874, and brigadier general, U. S. Army, in 1891. Meanwhile, he commanded effectively at various Indian posts on the frontier and wrote several military treatises. He died in Seattle, Washington, September 4, 1895, and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

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