John Curtis Caldwell

John Curtis Caldwell was born in Lowell, Vermont, on April 17, 1833. After graduation from Amherst College in Massachusetts, he took up teaching and in 1861 was the principal of Washington Academy at East Machias, Maine.  Mustered into Federal service as colonel of the 11th Maine on November 12, 1861, and promoted to brigadier general of volunteers to rank from April 28, 1862, he compiled a war record that was adequate though not spectacular. He commanded a brigade of the II Corps in the Peninsular campaign. Although he was not present at Sharpsburg, he suffered two superficial wounds at Fredericksburg (where one of his regiments broke to the rear) and was again with his brigade at Chancellorsville. At Gettysburg he was temporarily in command of the II Corps after the wounding of Winfield S. Hancock, and in the autumn of 1863 during the Mine Run campaign, he again led the II Corps. Relieved from duty in the Army of the Potomac on March 25, 1864, Caldwell was one of eight general officers assigned as a guard of honor to the body of President Abraham Lincoln during the procession from Washington to Springfield. General Caldwell was mustered out of service in January, 1866, and in the same year was admitted to the Maine bar. Thereafter, he received many state and Federal appointments, including those of adjutant general of Maine (1867-69), U. S. consul at Valparaiso, Chile (1869-74), and U. S. minister to Uruguay (1874-82). From 1885 to 1897 he was chairman or secretary of the Kansas state board of pardons. With the election of William Mc-Kinley to President in 1896, Caldwell went the following year to Costa Rica as U. S. consul, where he served at San Jose until 1909. Returning to Topeka that year, he made his home with one or another of his children until his death at the home of a daughter in Calais, Maine, on August 31, 1912. The general was buried next to his wife in East Machias.

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