Thomas Edwin Greenfield Ransom

Thomas Edward Greenfield Ransom was born November 29, 1834, in Norwich, Vermont. His father Truman B. Ransom was president of Norwich University, the celebrated military school (now located at Northfield, Vermont), and was colonel of the 9th U. S. Infantry when he was killed at the storming of Chapultepec in 1847. Thomas was educated at Norwich and received a degree in civil engineering in 1851. As a youngster he had acquired some practical experience in his chosen profession by working on the Rutland & Burlington Railroad. After his graduation he went to Illinois where he pursued an engineering career and engaged in the real estate business. He was living in Vandalia, south of Springfield, in 1861 and with the advent of the Civil War recruited a company of the 11th Illinois, a ninety-day regiment which was re-mustered in July for three years. From February 15, 1862, Ransom served successively as major, lieutenant colonel, and colonel. He was wounded in an affair at Charleston, Missouri, in August, 1861, again at Fort Donelson, and a third time at Shiloh—each time he refused to leave the field, and each time he was cited by his superiors for gallant conduct. In June, 1862, Ransom became chief of staff to General John A. McClernand and inspector general of the Army of the Tennessee, and later he commanded a brigade of the XIII Corps-. He was made a brigadier general of volunteers on April 15, 1863, to rank from November 29, 1862, and during the Vicksburg campaign won encomiums from all his superiors for his performance while commanding a brigade of Mc-Arthur's division of McPherson's XVII Corps. He was sent subsequently on a foraging expedition to the vicinity of Natchez, in the course of which he captured five thousand head of cattle, a number of teams, and a large supply of ordnance stores. In January, 1864, U. S. Grant asked that Ransom succeed James Harrison Wilson in command of his cavalry after Wilson was ordered to Washington to take charge of the Cavalry Bureau. Grant termed him "the best man I ever had to send on expeditions." Unfortunately, Ransom was already a part of N. P. Banks's ill-fated Red River campaign, directing a detachment of the XIII Corps. At Sabine Cross Roads while commanding the advance, his position was overrun and he was again severely wounded. On August 2, 1864, he took charge of a division of the XVI Corps in front of Atlanta; and after the wounding of Grenville Dodge, he commanded the corps in the movement which forced John B. Hood to evacuate Atlanta after the decisive battle of Jonesboro. Ransom was next assigned to command of the XVII Corps which pursued the retreating Confederates through North Georgia and into Alabama. Despite illness and an aggravation of his partly healed wound, he accompanied his corps on the return from Alabama, dying near Rome, Georgia, October 29, 1864. For his services he was brevetted major general as of September 1, 1864, the date of the battle of Jonesboro. He was buried in Rosehill Cemetery, Chicago.

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