Lysander Cutler

Lysander Cutler was born on February 16, 1807, in Worcester County, Massachusetts, the son of a farmer. Over his father's objections, he worked to improve the rudimentary education he had received in the local school; he studied surveying and then embarked upon a career as a schoolmaster. At the age of twenty-one he moved to Dexter, Maine, where the pupils of the local school had "flogged and ejected" the last several teachers who had attempted discipline. Cutler spent his first day in authority in "the thorough flogging of every bully in the school." Soon after, he undertook various business enterprises, including woolen mills, a foundry, a flour mill, and a saw mill. He was also prominent in civic affairs as selectman, railroad director, college trustee (Tufts), militia colonel, and state senator. Ruined financially by the depression of 1857, he moved to Milwaukee, where he attempted to perfect title to certain iron ore deposits and subsequently operated as a grain broker. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Cutler was appointed colonel of the 6th Wisconsin, a regiment which ultimately became a unit of the famous "Iron Brigade." Cutler's first important service was in the campaign of Second Manassas, where he was severely wounded in the leg. At the Battle of Fredericksburg, he commanded, temporarily, a brigade of Abner Doubleday's division, I Corps, and he was commissioned a brigadier general, his rank to date from November 29, 1862. At the battles of Chancellorsville and Gettysburg he commanded the 4th brigade of Wadsworth's division. Fighting gallantly, his men suffered heavy losses. After the reorganization of the army in the spring of 1864, Cutler was assigned a brigade in the V Corps, and after James S. Wadsworth was killed at the Wilderness, Cutler assumed command of the 4th Division. By August 13, 1864, this organization's original regiments were reduced from 3,742 to 1,324 by attrition suffered in front of Petersburg, and its commander's health was wrecked by wounds and exposure. Relieved from field duty at his own request in September, Cutler spent the balance of the war directing the Jackson, Michigan, draft rendezvous and was brevetted major general as of August 19, 1864. General Cutler resigned on June 30, 1865, and returned to Milwaukee, where he died July 30, 1866. He was buried in Forest Home Cemetery.

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