William Denison Whipple

William Denison Whipple was born in the Madison County, New York, hamlet of Nelson on August 2, 1826. He was appointed to West Point in 1847 and was graduated in 1851, ranking toward the bottom of the class (a low standing belied by his future assignments). He performed routine duty on the Indian frontier in New Mexico and Texas and in 1861 was on quartermaster duty at Indianola, Texas, when that post was captured by the Texas insurgents. He escaped through the enemy's lines and made his way east in time to participate in the battle of First Manassas as assistant adjutant general of Hunter's division. Whipple served as a staff officer during and after the Civil War and was successively promoted to captain, major, brigadier general of volunteers (on July 17, 1863), and colonel. He also won the brevet of major general, U. S. Army, for gallant and meritorious services in the field during the rebellion. He discharged duty in the Departments of Pennsylvania and Virginia, the Middle Military Department, the VIII Corps, and sundry other posts. On November 12, 1863, he became assistant adjutant general of the army and Department of the Cumberland and the following month was appointed G. H. Thomas' chief of staff. In the latter capacity he took part in all the operations of the Chattanooga and Atlanta campaigns and the movements which arrested John B. Hood's invasion of Tennessee at Franklin and Nashville. He continued with Thomas after the war, until the latter's death in San Francisco in 1870, when Whipple returned to Washington to take a post in the adjutant general's office. On January 1, 1873, General Whipple was appointed aide-de-camp to General-in-Chief of the army W. T. Sherman, a capacity in which he served for five years. From 1878 until his retirement in 1890 he was adjutant general of the Division of the Missouri, the Division of the Atlantic, and the Department of the East. Thereafter he took up residence in New York City, where he died on April 1, 1902. He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Previous Page

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