James Dada Morgan


James Dada Morgan was born August I, 1810, in Boston, Massachusetts. In 1826 he went to sea, supposedly on a three-year cruise, but after a month at sea mutiny occurred, the ship was burned, and after two weeks in a lifeboat he reached the coast of South America from whence he made his way home. At the age of twenty-four he moved to Quincy, Illinois, which was his residence for the rest of his life. In addition to flourishing as a merchant in the town, Morgan found time to devote to the local militia, serving with the "Quincy Riflemen" during the Mormon disturbances of the middle 1840's and as a captain of the 1st Illinois Infantry in Mexico. Upon muster out in 1847 he returned to Quincy and his business. On April 29, 1861, he was commissioned lieutenant colonel of the 10th Illinois, a three-month regiment of which he became colonel on May 20, 1861, and of which he continued as colonel when the command was remustered for three years on July 29. He directed a brigade of John Pope's forces at Island No. 10 and in the "siege" of Corinth following the battle of Shiloh, and was promoted brigadier general to rank from July 17, 1862. During the battles and campaigns of Chickamauga and Chattanooga, he seems to have been stationed with his command at Bridgeport, Alabama, where the great bridge over the Tennessee River on the Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad was positioned.

During the Atlanta campaign he commanded a brigade and at times Jefferson C. Davis' division of the XIV Corps. In the famous "March to the Sea" and the subsequent Carolina campaign, General Morgan commanded the 2nd Division of the XIV Corps and as of March 19, 1865, in the omnibus brevet promotions which followed the war's end, was made a major general of volunteers—an advancement which he seems to have richly deserved. He was mustered out in August and again returned to Quincy where he continued to prosper as a banker and businessman. In the forty years of his life after the war, he served as treasurer of the Illinois Soldiers and Sailors Home and as vice-president of the Society of the Army of the Cumberland, in whose annual reunions he took great interest and derived much pleasure until his death in Quincy on September 12, 1896. He was buried there in Woodland Cemetery.

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