Israel Vogdes was born on August 4, 1816, in Willistown, a hamlet in Chester County, Pennsylvania. He was appointed to West Point at the age of seventeen and was graduated in 1837, ranking eleventh in the class which included Braxton Bragg, Jubal Early, John Sedgwick, and Joseph Hooker. For twelve years he taught mathematics at the Academy and then he saw some service against the Florida Seminoles as an officer of artillery. He was subsequently stationed in Charleston Harbor and at the Artillery School for Practice at Fort Monroe. In 1861 Vogdes held the rank of captain, 1st Artillery; when the resignations of Southern officers began to come in, he was advanced to major on May 14. He took part in the defense of Fort Pickens in Pensacola Harbor and on October 9, 1861, was taken prisoner in the course of a Confederate attack designed to reduce Santa Rosa Island and the fort. Finally exchanged in August, 1862, he played an important part in designing and building artillery positions in the Charleston, South Carolina perimeter, including Light-House Inlet, Morris Island, and Folly Island. Meantime he had been made a brigadier general of volunteers on November 29, 1862. During the last year of the war he was in command of the defenses of Norfolk and Portsmouth, Virginia. General Vogdes emerged from the war as colonel of the 1st Artillery—a rank to which he had been appointed in 1863—and as a brevet brigadier general, U. S. Army, "for Gallant and Meritorious Services in the Field during the Rebellion." From the close of the war until fall of 1865, he was in command of a district in Florida. Thereafter, as colonel of his regiment, he was post commander successively at Fort Hamilton, New York, Charleston, South Carolina, and Fort Adams in Newport Harbor, Rhode Island. General Vogdes was retired at his own request on January 2, 1881. He established his residence in New York City, where he died on December 7, 1889. He was buried at West Point.
Reference: Generals in Blue. Lives of the Union Commanders by Ezra J. Warner. Louisiana State University Press. Baton Rouge.