Emory Upton

Emory Upton was born August 27, 1839, on a farm near Batavia, New York. After a semester or two at Oberlin College, Ohio, he-was appointed to the Academy and was graduated in May, 1861, ranking eighth in the class. He was at once assigned to help drill the untutored Federal volunteers who flooded Washington in the early months of the Civil War. As a commander in all three branches of the army (artillery, infantry, and cavalry), Upton has seldom, if ever, had his record equaled. He was advanced from a subaltern (at the age of twenty-one) to a brevet major general of both Regulars and volunteers in the short space of the war (he lacked four months of being twenty-six). The interval was marked by extraordinarily valuable service on a score of battlefields. His most outstanding hour of combat came, probably in the morning of May 10, 1864, when with twelve regiments he smashed into the "Bloody Angle" at Spotsylvania and might have overrun the position it he had been properly supported. Two days later it took Winfield S. Hancock's entire II Corps to chew off the Confederate salient in the war's most brutal struggle, at a cost of seven thousand Federal casualties. Upton had been colonel of the 121st New York since October 23, 1862, and was commissioned brigadier general to rank from May 12, 1864. He had previously distinguished himself in the campaigns of Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg, and Chancellorsville and, in the course of Philip Sheridan's Shenandoah Valley campaign in 1864, commanded first a brigade and then the mortally wounded Russell's division of the VI Corps at Winchester, where Upton, himself wounded, maintained command while being carried about on a stretcher. After his recovery, General James H. Wilson asked for his services in 1865 and he commanded the 4th Division in Wilson's celebrated cavalry raid through Alabama and Georgia which ended the war. Although Upton came out of the war a brevet major general in both the Regulars and volunteers, his regular rank was captain, 5th Artillery. When the army was expanded in 1866 he became lieutenant colonel of the newly authorized 25th Infantry. For the next fifteen years his duties were mainly of an instructional nature, and from 1870 until 1875 he served as commandant of cadets at West Point. In 1880 he was assigned to command at the Presidio in San Francisco. For some years General Upton suffered intolerably from an affliction which may have been migraine headache and which necessitated numerous leaves for his health. On March 15, 1881, he shot himself in his quarters in the Presidio. He was buried in Fort Hill Cemetery, Auburn, New York, by the side of his young wife who had died eleven years before. Upton was the author of numerous military treatises of great value; some were not published until years after his death.

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