David Allen Russell 

Division Commander

David Allen Russell was born December 10, 1820, in Salem, New York. His father David Abel Russell was a Congressman from 1835 to 1841 and during his last year in Congress secured for his son an appointment to West Point. Young Allen was graduated near the bottom of the class of 1845, more than a third of whose members attained the full rank of general officer on one side or the other during the Civil War. Russell was posted to the infantry and won the brevet of first lieutenant for gallantry in the Mexican War. He subsequently served in garrison and on frontier duty in the Pacific Northwest and was promoted captain, 4th Infantry, in 1854. Returning to the East in November, 1861, he served in the Washington defenses during the first winter of the war. He was made colonel of the 7th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry on January 31, 1862, and engaged in the Peninsular campaign, his regiment constituting a part of Couch's division of Reyes's IV Corps. This division was the only IV Corps unit which fought in the Maryland campaign, during which it was attached to Franklin's VI Corps. On November 29 Russell was promoted brigadier general and at Fredericksburg directed a brigade of the VI Corps which was only lightly engaged. The following May, however, the VI Corps, now under John Sedgwick, stormed Marye's Heights during the campaign of Chancellorsville, and Russell's brigade sustained 368 casualties. At Gettysburg the 1st Division's total casualties amounted to only one killed and seventeen wounded; two of the wounded were in Russell's brigade. At Rappahannock Station in November, Russell, temporarily in command of a division, greatly distinguished himself by personally leading a charge which overran the Confederate bridgehead on the north side of the river—a position supposedly so strong that one of Jubal Early's brigade commanders stated he could hold it against the whole Federal army. Rebel casualties numbered 1,674 and the Union trophies included four pieces of artillery and eight battle flags which Russell personally escorted to Washington at George G. Meade's behest. Prior to the launching of U. S. Grant's Richmond campaign the following spring, Russell was assigned to permanent divisional command in the VI Corps and fought with distinction from the Wilderness to Petersburg. In July, 1864, his division was hurried north along with the rest of the VI Corps to resist Early's raid on Washington and later to pursue the Confederate leader in the Shenandoah Valley. At the battle of Winchester on September 19, 1864, while leading one of his brigades, Russell was killed instantly by a shell fragment which tore through his heart. He was buried in Evergreen Cemetery, Salem.

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