Francis Laurens Vinton

Francis Laurens Vinton, whose father was an officer of the Regular Army and was killed at the siege of Vera Cruz in 1847, was born at Fort Preble, Maine, on June 1, 1835. His father and two of his uncles were West Point graduates, and young Vinton was graduated from the Academy in the class of 1856, but resigned during his graduation leave to study mining engineering in Paris. He was graduated from the Ecole des Mines in 1860 and became an instructor of mechanical drawing at Cooper Union in New York. At the outbreak of the Civil War he was reappointed in the Regular Army with the rank of captain and in October, 1861, was commissioned colonel of the 43rd New York Infantry. With this regiment he took part in George B. McClellan's campaign on the Virginia Peninsula in the spring of 1862 in Winfield S. Hancock's brigade of "Baldy" Smith's division of the VI Corps. This corps had no active part in the campaign of Second Manassas, and, during Robert E. Lee's invasion of Maryland which culminated in the battle of Sharpsburg, Vinton seemingly was not present for duty. At the battle of Fredericksburg, however, he was in command of the 3rd Brigade of Howe's division of the corps and was so badly wounded that he saw no further service. He had been appointed a brigadier general on September 19, 1862, but the Senate failed to act on his nomination and it expired on March 4, 1863. On April 9 he was reappointed to rank from March 13 and was duly confirmed. However, on May 5 he resigned both his regular and volunteer commissions, presumably because of his health. In 1864 he became the first professor of civil and mining engineering at the newly opened Columbia College School of Mines in New York, where he remained until 1877, when he resigned, moved to Denver, Colorado, and became a consulting mining engineer. He died of erysipelas in Leadville, Colorado, on October 6, 1879, and was buried in Evergreen Cemetery. Some time later General Vinton's remains were brought East for re-burial in Swan Point Cemetery, Providence, Rhode Island.

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