James Winning McMillan

James Winning McMillan, a native of Clark County, Kentucky, was born on April 28, 1825. A wanderer, he was never in one place for long. He fought in the Mexican War first as a sergeant of the 4th Illinois and later as a private in a battalion of Louisiana volunteers; honorably discharged in 1848, he went to Indiana and engaged in business at various and sundry places. In 1861 the 21st Indiana was organized at Indianapolis and he was appointed its colonel. The following spring the regiment took part in Benjamin F. Butler's occupation of New Orleans and on August 5, 1862, sustained 126 casualties while aiding in the defense of Baton Rouge against the attack by John C. Breckinridge.- His command was next stationed at Berwick Bay until February, 1863; on April 4, 1863, McMillan was promoted brigadier general to rank from November 29, 1862. From March to May, 1864, he commanded a brigade, and at times the 1st Division, of Emory's XIX Corps, in N. P. Banks's ill-fated Red River expedition. During this expedition he fought gallantly at Mansfield, Pleasant Hill, and Monett's Ferry; at the battle of Mansfield (Sabine Cross-Roads) the 1st Division did much to stem the panicky Federal retreat from the battlefield. In July, 1864, the XIX Corps was ordered to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia to serve under Philip Sheridan; McMillan, now in permanent command of the division, fought well at Winchester, and- at Cedar Creek, and had his greatest day when the savage assault of Jubal Early's Confederates threatened for a time to rout Sheridan's whole army. The lightly regarded XIX Corps was driven from its camp, but McMillan deployed his division so as to give troops in rear an opportunity to form a front. Following this campaign he commanded the 1st Division of the Department of West Virginia with headquarters at Grafton until the end of the war. In March, 1865, he was brevetted major general and resigned his commission in May. After the war he resided for a time in Kansas, but in 1875 was appointed a member of the board of review in the pension office in Washington. General McMillan held this position until his death on March 9, 1903. He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

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