Isaac Ingalls Stevens

Isaac Ingalls Stevens, a descendant of one John Stevens who was living in Andover as early as 1641, was born at Andover, Massachusetts, on March 25, 1818. After sixteen months at Phillips-Andover Academy, he entered West Point in 1835 and was graduated in 1839, ranking first in the class, "Old Brains" Halleck standing third. Commissioned into the Corps of Engineers, Stevens spent the next seven years repairing and constructing New England fortifications. A swarthy little man standing only an inch over five feet, he served throughout the Mexican War with Winfield Scott's army, was severely wounded in the assault on Mexico City, and was brevetted captain and major for gallantry. In 1853, thirteen years after receiving the promotion to first lieutenant, he resigned his commission in order to accept the governorship of Washington Territory; at the same time he secured the appointment of director of exploration for the Northern Pacific Railroad survey, which he conducted en route to his post. In his effort to open 100,000 square miles of land to white settlement, he made some rather arbitrary decisions which led to controversy with the Federal judiciary, the Attorney General, and the commander of the army in the Pacific area. Nevertheless, he was elected territorial delegate to Congress in 1856, reelected in 1858, but defeated in 1860, when he assumed the chairmanship of the extreme proslavery national ticket of John C. Breckinridge and Joseph Lane who was his close friend. There was accordingly some reluctance to accept his services when he tendered them to the Federal government at the outbreak of war, and it was July 30, 1861, before he was appointed colonel of the 79th New York (the "Highlanders"), a regiment whose first colonel had been killed at First Manassas and which was on the brink of mutiny. Stevens promptly restored order in the ranks, and so won the esteem of his men that when he was promoted brigadier general of volunteers on September 28, 1861, they requested transfer to his brigade. Stevens took part in the Port Royal expedition and was in command of Beaufort, South Carolina, for a time. He made an unsuccessful attack (under protest) on the enemy works at Secessionville and in July, 1862, returned to Virginia. He took part in the campaign of Second Manassas, commanding a division of the IX Corps (then under Jesse L. Reno) and was killed instantly by a bullet through the temple at the battle of Chantilly on September 1, 1862. On March 12, 1863, he was posthumously confirmed major general to rank from July 18, 1862. General Stevens was buried in Island Cemetery, Newport, Rhode Island, his wife's home.

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