Peter John Sullivan

Taken in the Spring Grove Cemetery, Cincinnati, Ohio, Hamilton County.

PETER JOHN SULLIVAN was born March 15,1821, in County Cork, Ireland, and was brought by his parents to settle in Philadelphia at age two. He was graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and, although he was a civilian, worked as a military engineer in Washington, D.C. He then served as the official stenographer for the United States Senate, recording the historic speeches made by Daniel Webster, Henry Clay, John C. Calhoun, and other oratorical giants. He came to Cincinnati in 1848 and became the protege of Judge Bellamy Storer, studying law in Judge Storer's office before he was admitted to the bar. During this period he worked also as a draftsman for the United States topographical engineers who were stationed in Cincinnati. During the 1855 Know-Nothing riots he commanded a regiment of German volunteers who helped suppress the riots.

By the outbreak of the Civil War, Peter J. Sullivan had accumulated a large fortune. He was not offered a commission in the Union Army at the outset because Governor William Dennison, a Republican, suspected Sullivan, a Democrat, of harboring Confederate sympathies. In order to dispel the suspicion, Sullivan, at his own expense, raised four regiments which were accepted by the government When word reached President Lincoln of Sullivan's ardent support of the Union, he insisted that Sullivan be named lieutenant colonel of the 48th Ohio Volunteers. Within two months, in January 1862, he was colonel of the regiment. Sullivan led his regiment in the sanguinary battle of Shiloh (April 6-7,1862), during which encounter four horses were killed beneath him and he was wounded three times. Because of these wounds, he was never able to take active command again, nor did he ever completely recover his health. He served for a time as post commander at Memphis, Tennessee, while it was occupied by Union troops and then served as a judge on a military court of claims. He was named a brevet brigadier general at the close of the war and was appointed United States Minister to Colombia by President Andrew Johnson. In 1869 he was reappointed to the same post by President Grant but resigned soon after because of frail health and returned to Cincinnati to practice law. General Sullivan died March 2,1883, in Cincinnati at age sixty-one.

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