Frederick West Lander

Frederick West Lander, a native of Salem, Massachusetts, was born on December 17, 1821, of a distinguished American pioneer family. Privately educated, he studied for a career in engineering. After doing survey work on a number of eastern railroads, he was engaged on the survey of the Northern Pacific route in 1853; in the decade of the 1850's he participated in five transcontinental surveys, including that of the overland wagon road. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Lander went to Texas to ascertain the extent of Union sentiment there. He was later an aide to George B. McClellan at the engagements of Philippi and Rich Mountain; on August 6, 1861, he was commissioned brigadier general of volunteers to rank from May 17, and took command of a brigade of Stone's division. The day after the Federal disaster at Ball's Bluff, Lander was wounded in a skirmish at Edwards Ferry, which he was holding with a company of sharpshooters. He was soon promoted to divisional command and on January 5, 1862, successfully defended the town of Hancock, Maryland, against assault by an allegedly superior force of Confederates under Stonewall Jackson. His division was then put into camp at Paw Paw, Virginia (now West Virginia), on the upper Potomac, and on February 14, 1862, he led in person an attack on a "rebel nest" in nearby Bloomery Gap. In writing his report of this engagement, he applied for relief from command "my health [being] too much broken to do any severe work." Immediate relief was not forthcoming, and two weeks later, while preparing to move his command to support N. P. Banks in the Shenandoah, he was mortally stricken by a "congestive chill." After more than twenty hours under morphine, he died on March 2,1862, at Camp Chase, Paw Paw, and was buried in the Broad Street Burial Ground in Salem. Lander, besides pursuing his engineering and military careers, was an accomplished writer and the author of numerous patriotic poems of the Civil War. His wife, the English actress Jean Davenport (an early day Shirley Temple), delighted audiences in Europe and America for forty years.

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