Gustavus Adolphus De Russy

Gustavus Adolphus De Russy, scion of a military family of long tradition, was born in Brooklyn, New York, November 3, 1818. (His father, Brevet Brigadier General Rene E. De Russy, U. S. Army, and his uncle, Colonel Lewis G. De Russy of the Confederate Army, were both graduates of West Point and veterans of the War of 1812 and the Mexican War; his grandfather had been a midshipman in the Revolutionary Navy.) Young De Russy attended West Point for three years, but in 1838 was permitted to resign after being arrested for drinking. Nine years later he was commissioned directly into the army as second lieutenant of the 4th Artillery and in the Mexican War won the brevets of first lieutenant and captain for -gallantry at Contreras, Churubusco, and Chapultepec. At the outbreak of the Civil War, De Russy was a full-rank captain in the regular establishment and was highly commended by George B. McClellan during the Peninsular campaign for bringing "two guns . . . into action under very difficult circumstances."  During the same campaign he commanded the Artillery Reserve of Heintzelman's III Corps and was again praised in orders for his conduct at Malvern Hill, winning the brevets of major and lieutenant colonel. He commanded the guns on Ambrose E. Burn-side's left at Fredericksburg and in March, 1863, entered volunteer service as colonel of the 4th New York Artillery. Henry W. Halleck applied for his services soon after and De Russy was commissioned brigadier general of volunteers to rank from May 23, 1863, and assigned to the command of the "Defenses of Washington South of the Potomac." He remained there until the end of the war, when he was assigned to duty for a short interval in the Department of Alabama. With the brevets of major general of volunteers and brigadier general, U. S. Army, General De Russy returned to the regular service in 1866 as major of the 3rd Artillery. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel in 1879, to colonel in 1882, and retired the same year after an uneventful sixteen years in garrison. Subsequent to his retirement he made his home in Detroit, Michigan, where he became an esteemed member of the community by the time of his death on May 29, 1891. He was buried in Elmwood Cemetery there.

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