Orlando Metcalfe Poe

Orlando Metcalfe Poe was born March 7, 1832, at Navarre, Ohio. He was graduated from West Point in 1856, standing sixth in his class, and was appointed to the Corps of Topographical Engineers (merged into the Corps of Engineers in 1863). During the interval before the Civil War, Poe was in the field on the survey of the northern lakes and was promoted first lieutenant in 1860. The following year he became one of George B. McClellan's principal subordinates, first in Ohio and subsequently in West Virginia and the Washington defenses. He was appointed colonel of the 2nd Michigan in September, commanded his regiment during the initial stages of the Peninsular campaign, was absent on sick leave during the Seven Days battles, but during the campaign of Second Manassas was given direction of a brigade of Kearny's III Corps division. After this Union debacle his troops were retained in Washington until after the battle of Sharpsburg, but in December at Fredericksburg he was again in the field, as commander of a brigade of the IX Corps which was lightly engaged in the battle. Meantime he was appointed a brigadier general of volunteers on November 29, 1862, but the appointment was not confirmed by the Senate, and on March 4, 1863, he reverted to his Regular Army rank of captain of engineers. He later served successively as chief engineer of the XXIII Corps and of the Army of the Ohio; in this position he was responsible for the defenses of Knoxville which repelled James Longstreet's assaults in November. In April, 1864, General W. T. Sherman made him chief engineer of the military Division of the Mississippi, and he rendered distinguished service in the Atlanta carapaign, the "March to the Sea," and the Carolinas campaign. He was brevetted brigadier general, U. S. Army, at war's end. In 1873 he became a staff colonel and aide-decamp to Sherman, then general-in-chief of the army, a position which he occupied until Sherman's retirement in 1884. Both before and after his association with Sherman, Poe had a distinguished peacetime career as a military engineer and was promoted through grades to colonel of engineers in 1888. He served on the lighthouse board, as supervisor of numerous projects in the Great Lakes, and in protecting the construction of the transcontinental railroads. While inspecting the Soo locks in Michigan he suffered an injury which resulted in his death on October 2, 1895. General Poe 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.