John Morrison Oliver


John Morrison Oliver was born September 6, 1828, in Penn Yan, New York. He was educated at St. John's College on Long Island, and subsequently moved to Monroe, Michigan, where he engaged in business as a pharmacist and, when court was in session, served as recorder. On April 17, 1861, he enlisted as a private and was promoted first lieutenant in the 4th Michigan Infantry on June 20, captain on September 25, and colonel of the 15th Michigan on March 13, 1862. He was cited for "conspicuous gallantry" at Shiloh by General Alexander McD. McCook, where the 15th Michigan, although belonging to the "Unassigned Troops" of U. S. Grant's Army of the Tennessee, fought, at Oliver's request, in Rou-seau's brigade of McCook's division of D. C. Buell's Army of the Ohio. He commanded a brigade of the Army of West Tennessee at the battle of Corinth, but reverted to regimental command during the Vicksburg campaign in which the 15th Michigan served in Washburn's detachment oi the XVI Corps. During the Atlanta campaign Oliver commanded the 3rd Brigade of Harrow's division of the XV Corps until, on August 4, 1864, it was discontinued and its troops transferred to the 1st Brigade. On the celebrated "March to the Sea" from Atlanta to Savannah, Oliver was again in brigade command, this time directing the 3rd Brigade of Hazen's division of the corps. He continued in this duty throughout the Carolina campaign and was officially promoted brigadier general of volunteers on January 12, 1865. After the termination of hostilities he commanded the division of which his brigade had been a part, first at Louisville and then at Little Rock, and was mustered out on August 24, 1865, with the brevet of major general for "faithful, efficient, and gallant service during the war." General Oliver then practiced law in Little Rock for a time prior to his appointment as assessor of internal revenue there. Later President Grant made him superintendent of postal service in the Southwest, and he moved to Washington. He resigned this position in 1871 because of ill health and for the same reason declined an appointment as associate justice of the District of Columbia supreme court. He died in Washington, March 30, 1872, and is buried in Lake View Cemetery, Penn Yan.

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