Daniel Phineas Woodbury

Daniel Phineas Woodbury was born on December 16, 1812, in New London, New Hampshire. He studied at nearby Hopkinton Academy and Dartmouth College, but left the latter in 1832 to enter West Point. Upon his graduation in 1836, he was assigned to the 3rd Artillery but soon transferred to the engineer corps. For the next quarter-century he was engaged with a multiplicity of engineering projects, including the construction of the Cumberland Road in Ohio, Fort Warren in Boston Harbor, Forts Kearny and Laramie on the Oregon Trail, Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas, and Fort Taylor at Key West. Meantime he became first lieutenant in 1838 and captain in 1853. The firing upon Fort Sumter in 1861 placed Woodbury in a most difficult position. He had married into a family with unbroken Southern antecedents on the maternal side and had, himself, invested heavily in property in Wilmington, North Carolina, where his wife's family was residing at the time of President Lincoln's call for volunteers. He was besieged on all sides by pleas to resign from the Federal service and accept greatly augmented rank with the Confederacy. To all of this he turned a deaf ear and, by virtue of a special pass from Jefferson Davis, proceeded northward with his wife and children, his loyalty unshaken. In the campaign of First Manassas, Woodbury made the reconnaissance which determined Irvin McDowell's line of advance against the Confederate left flank and subsequently guided the divisions of Samuel P. Heintzelman and David Hunter to Sudley Springs Ford. He was promoted brigadier general of volunteers to rank from March 19, 1862, and in the Peninsular campaign directed George B. McClellan's brigade of engineer troops. At Fredericksburg he was in charge of laying the pontoon bridges across Rappahannock River and the following March was assigned to command of the District of Key West and Tortugas in the Department of the Gulf. He continued on this duty for the next eighteen months, succumbing to yellow fever at Key West on August 15, 1864. First buried there, his remains were later removed to Fort Barrancas National Cemetery, Pensacola. He was awarded the brevets of brigadier and major general, U. S. Army, as of December 13, 1862, and August 15, 1864.

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