Joseph Rodman West

Joseph Rodman West was born on September 19, 1822, in New Orleans, Louisiana, but in early childhood was taken by his parents to Philadelphia, where he was educated in private schools and attended the University of Pennsylvania in 1836-37. He returned to New Orleans in 1841, but during the Mexican War was a captain of the Maryland and District of Columbia volunteers. In 1849 he went to California and engaged in newspaper work, becoming proprietor of the San Francisco Price Current. With the outbreak of the Civil War, West was commissioned lieutenant colonel of James Henry Carleton's 1st California Volunteers and took part in the recapture of Arizona and New Mexico from the Confederates. He succeeded Carleton as colonel of the regiment in June, 1862, and was promoted to brigadier general on October 25, 1862. The following January he led an expedition against a group of the Apache nation in which one of its most celebrated chiefs Mangas Coloradas was killed. He commanded the District of Arizona in 1863 and during the Red River campaign was in charge of a division of the VII Corps in Arkansas. He continued on duty in Arkansas under the command of General Frederick Steele and took a minor part in the operations against Confederate General Sterling Price in the autumn of 1864. The end of the war found him in command of all the cavalry in the Department of the Gulf stationed at New Orleans and Baton Rouge. He was brevetted major general of volunteers on January 4, 1866, the same day that he was mustered out of military service at San Antonio, Texas. General West then returned to New Orleans, was a deputy United States marshal, auditor for customs 1867-71, and in the latter year was elected to the U. S. Senate as a Republican. After home rule was restored in the state, "he was not a candidate for reelection" in 1876. From 1882 to 1885 he was a member of the board of commissioners of the District of Columbia. He died on October 31, 1898, in Washington and 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.