William Hemsley Emory

William Hemsley Emory was born on his father's estate (Poplar Grove) in Queen Annes County, Maryland, September 7, 1811. His grandfather, who came to the colonies from England, served in the American Revolution, and his father was a veteran of the War of 1812. Emory was graduated from West Point in 1831 but resigned his commission in 1836 after five years with the 4th Artillery; in 1838 he was re-commissioned as a first lieutenant in the Topographical Engineers. After serving as second in command of the northeastern boundary survey between the United States and Canada, he distinguished himself in the Mexican War, winning two brevets for gallantry. From then until the Civil War, he was active in making surveys, including one of the boundary between California and Mexico; in compiling maps of the country west of the Mississippi; and in writing valuable scientific works, such as his celebrated Notes of a Military Reconnaissance from Fort Leavenworth in Missouri, to San Diego in California.  At the outbreak of war in 1861, Emory was stationed in Indian Territory and is said to have been the only officer in Confederate territory who brought out all his troops without the loss of a man. Commissioned a brigadier general of volunteers on March 17, 1862, he took part in the Peninsular campaign under George B. McClellan; commanded a division under N. P. Banks in 1863; was raised to the command of the XIX Corps, with which he took part in the Red River campaign of 1864; and was afterward transferred to Virginia, where the XIX Corps served under Philip Sheridan in the Shenandoah. In 1865, Emory commanded the Department of West Virginia. Although he held the rank of colonel in the regular service as early as had been a brigadier of volunteers since March, 1862, and had won every brevet to and including that of major general in both the regular and volunteer organizations, he was not given the full rank of major general of volunteers until September 25, 1865, 126 in order of seniority of 131 appointees.  After the war he commanded various departments until his retirement with rank of brigadier general, U. S. Army, in 1876. He died in Washington on December 1, 1887, and was buried in the Congressional Cemetery. His wife was the great-granddaughter of Benjamin Franklin.

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