John Murray Corse

John Murray Corse was born April 27, 1835, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; at the age of seven he was taken by his parents to Burlington, Iowa, where his father operated a book and stationery business and served six times as mayor. Young Corse studied law, was admitted to the bar, and in 1860 was the Democratic candidate for secretary of state. (From 1853 to 1855 he was a student at the U. S. Military Academy, where his middle name was spelled Murry.)  He became major of the 6th Iowa in July, 1861, and served on the staff of General John Pope during the early operations on the Mississippi. Promoted to lieutenant colonel and to colonel, Corse demonstrated conspicuous ability at Corinth and in the Vicksburg campaign, after which he was promoted to brigadier general of volunteers from August 11, 1863. Corse was badly wounded—bruised by a spent ball —at the battle of Chattanooga, but returned to the army in time to serve as General W. T. Sherman's inspector general during the Atlanta campaign. On July 26, 1864, he was assigned to the command of the 2nd Division of the XVI Corps. In the course of Confederate General John B. Hood's move northward to sever Sherman's communications, Corse was the hero of the "battle of Allatoona Pass" in which S. G. French's Confederate division attempted to dislodge Corse's men from blockhouses designed to protect the Western and Atlantic Railroad. According to many accounts, no more severe fighting was ever experienced by men in Sherman's army; there were more than 1,500 dead and wounded out of 5,200 engaged on both sides. The following day Corse telegraphed Sherman: "I am short of a cheekbone, and one ear, but am able to whip all hell yet." He took part in the "March to the Sea" and in the campaign of the Carolinas as commander of the 4th Division of the XV Corps. Refusing a proffered appointment of lieutenant colonel in the Regular Army, General Corse was mustered out in 1866 with the brevet of major general and appointed collector of internal revenue at Chicago. Some years later he moved to Boston, where he became chairman of the state Democratic committee and received the postmastership of Boston from President Cleveland. He died at Winchester, Massachusetts, April 27, 1893, and was taken to Burlington for burial in Aspen Grove Cemetery.

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