Gordon Granger

Last updated
Gordon Granger
Gordon Granger - Brady-Handy.jpg
Gordon Granger, photo taken during American Civil War
Born(1821-11-06)November 6, 1821
Joy, Wayne County, New York
Died January 10, 1876(1876-01-10) (aged 54)
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Place of burial Lexington Cemetery, Lexington, Kentucky
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Union Army
Years of service 1845–1876
Rank Union Army major general rank insignia.svg Major General
Commands held Army of Kentucky
IV Corps
XIII Corps
Department of Texas
District of New Mexico

Mexican–American War

American Civil War

Gordon Granger (November 6, 1821 – January 10, 1876) was a career U.S. Army officer and a Union general during the American Civil War. He distinguished himself at the Battle of Chickamauga.

Union (American Civil War) United States national government during the American Civil War

During the American Civil War (1861–1865), the Union, also known as the North, referred to the United States of America and specifically to the national government of President Abraham Lincoln and the 20 free states, as well as 4 border and slave states that supported it. The Union was opposed by 11 southern slave states that formed the Confederate States of America, also known as "the Confederacy" or "the South".

American Civil War Civil war in the United States from 1861 to 1865

The American Civil War was a war fought in the United States from 1861 to 1865, between the North and the South. The Civil War is the most studied and written about episode in U.S. history. Primarily as a result of the long-standing controversy over the enslavement of black people, war broke out in April 1861 when secessionist forces attacked Fort Sumter in South Carolina shortly after Abraham Lincoln had been inaugurated as the President of the United States. The loyalists of the Union in the North proclaimed support for the Constitution. They faced secessionists of the Confederate States in the South, who advocated for states' rights to uphold slavery.

Battle of Chickamauga major battle of the American Civil War

The Battle of Chickamauga, fought on September 18 – 20, 1863, between U.S. and Confederate forces in the American Civil War, marked the end of a Union offensive in southeastern Tennessee and northwestern Georgia — the Chickamauga Campaign. It was the first major battle of the war fought in Georgia, the most significant Union defeat in the Western Theater, and involved the second-highest number of casualties after the Battle of Gettysburg.


Early life

Granger was born in Joy, Wayne County, New York, in 1821 to Gaius Granger and Catherine Taylor. He graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1845 placed thirty-fifth in the class of forty-one. [1] He was commissioned a brevet second lieutenant and assigned to the Second Infantry Regiment stationed in Detroit, Michigan. In 1846 he transferred to the newly constituted Regiment of Mounted Riflemen at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri.

Wayne County, New York County in the United States

Wayne County is a county in the U.S. state of New York. As of the 2010 Census, the population was 93,772. The county seat is Lyons. The name honors General Anthony Wayne, an American Revolutionary War hero and American statesman.

United States Military Academy U.S. Armys federal service academy in West Point, New York

The United States Military Academy (USMA), also known as West Point, Army, Army West Point, The Academy, or simply The Point, is a four-year federal service academy in West Point, New York. It was originally established as a fort that sits on strategic high ground overlooking the Hudson River with a scenic view, 50 miles (80 km) north of New York City. It is one of the five U.S. service academies.

In many of the world's military establishments, a brevet was a warrant giving a commissioned officer a higher rank title as a reward for gallantry or meritorious conduct but without conferring the authority, precedence, or pay of real rank. An officer so promoted was referred to as being brevetted. The promotion would be noted in the officer's title.

Mexican–American War

During the Mexican–American War, Granger fought in Winfield Scott's army. He took part in the Siege of Veracruz, the Battle of Cerro Gordo, the Battle of Contreras, the Battle of Churubusco, and the Battle for Mexico City. Granger received two citations for gallantry and in May 1847 received his regular commission as a second lieutenant. After the war, he served on the western frontier first in Oregon, then in Texas. In 1853 he became a first lieutenant. [2]

Mexican–American War armed conflict between the United States of America and Mexico from 1846 to 1848

The Mexican–American War, also known in the United States as the Mexican War and in Mexico as the American intervention in Mexico, was an armed conflict between the United States of America and the Second Federal Republic of Mexico from 1846 to 1848. It followed in the wake of the 1845 American annexation of the Republic of Texas, not formally recognized by the Mexican government, disputing the Treaties of Velasco signed by the unstable Mexican caudillo President/General Antonio López de Santa Anna after the Texas Revolution a decade earlier. In 1845, newly elected U.S. President James K. Polk, who saw the annexation of Texas as the first step towards a further expansion of the United States, sent troops to the disputed area and a diplomatic mission to Mexico. After Mexican forces attacked American forces, Polk cited this in his request that Congress declare war.

Winfield Scott Union United States Army general

Winfield Scott was an American military commander and political candidate. He served as a general in the United States Army from 1814 to 1861, taking part in the War of 1812, the Mexican–American War, the early stages of the American Civil War, and various conflicts with Native Americans. Scott was the Whig Party's presidential nominee in the 1852 presidential election, but was defeated by Democrat Franklin Pierce. He was known as "Old Fuss and Feathers" for his insistence on proper military etiquette, and as the "Grand Old Man of the Army" for his many years of service.

Siege of Veracruz

The Battle of Veracruz was a 20-day siege of the key Mexican beachhead seaport of Veracruz, during the Mexican–American War. Lasting from March 9–29, 1847, it began with the first large-scale amphibious assault conducted by United States military forces, and ended with the surrender and occupation of the city. U.S. forces then marched inland to Mexico City.

Civil War

When the Civil War started, Granger was on sick leave. He was temporarily assigned to the staff of General George B. McClellan in Ohio. After recovering, he transferred back to the Regiment of Mounted Riflemen where he was promoted to captain in May 1861. As an adjutant of General Samuel D. Sturgis he saw action at the Battle of Dug Springs and observed the Union defeat at Wilson's Creek in August 1861 in Missouri, serving as a staff officer to General Nathaniel Lyon. [3] Granger was cited for gallantry at Wilson's Creek, became a brevet major and was made a commander of the St. Louis Arsenal.

George B. McClellan American major-general during the American Civil War

George Brinton McClellan was an American soldier, civil engineer, railroad executive, and politician. A graduate of West Point, McClellan served with distinction during the Mexican War (1846–1848), and later left the Army to work in railroads until the outbreak of the Civil War (1861–1865). Early in the war, McClellan was appointed to the rank of major general and played an important role in raising a well-trained and organized army, which would become the Army of the Potomac in the Eastern Theater; he served a brief period as general-in-chief of the Union Army. Although McClellan was meticulous in his planning and preparations, these very characteristics hampered his ability to challenge aggressive opponents in a fast-moving battlefield environment. He chronically overestimated the strength of enemy units and was reluctant to apply principles of mass, frequently leaving large portions of his army unengaged at decisive points.

3rd Cavalry Regiment (United States) U.S. Army armoured regiment

The 3rd Cavalry Regiment, formerly 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment is a regiment of the United States Army currently stationed at Fort Hood, Texas.

Samuel D. Sturgis Union army general

Samuel Davis Sturgis was an American military officer who served in the Mexican–American War, as a Union general in the American Civil War, and later in the Indian Wars.

In November 1861, Granger assumed command of the 2nd Michigan Cavalry Regiment at Benton Barracks in St. Louis, becoming a colonel of volunteers. One of the Union veterans wrote in a memoir that Granger's "military genius soon asserted itself by many severe lessons to the volunteer officers and men of this regiment. He brought them up to the full standard of regulars within a period of three months," and "though a gruff appearing man, had succeeded in winning the respect of his regiment by his strict attention to all the details of making a well disciplined body of soldiers out of a mass of awkward men from every walk of life." [4]

In February 1862, on the orders of General John Pope, the 2nd Michigan proceeded from St. Louis to Commerce, Missouri, where Pope assembled near 20,000 Union troops for an advance on New Madrid, Missouri. Granger assumed command over the Third Cavalry Brigade consisting of the 2nd and the 3rd Michigan cavalry regiments. After the 7th Illinois joined the brigade, it was reorganized into a cavalry division. [5]

John Pope (military officer) US Army general

John Pope was a career United States Army officer and Union general in the American Civil War. He had a brief stint in the Western Theater, but he is best known for his defeat at the Second Battle of Bull Run in the East.

Commerce, Missouri Village in Missouri, United States

Commerce is a Mississippi River village in Scott County, Missouri, United States. The population was 67 at the 2010 census.

New Madrid, Missouri City in Missouri, United States

New Madrid is a city in New Madrid County, Missouri, United States. Located on the Kentucky Bend of the Mississippi River, it is 42 miles (68 km) southwest of Cairo, Illinois, and north of an exclave of Fulton County, Kentucky, across the river.

On March 26, 1862, Granger was promoted to brigadier general of volunteers and commanded the Cavalry Division, Army of the Mississippi during the Battle of New Madrid and the Siege of Corinth. He was promoted to major general of volunteers on September 17, 1862, and took command of the Army of Kentucky. He conducted cavalry operations in central Tennessee before his command was merged into the Army of the Cumberland, becoming the Reserve Corps. [1]

Granger is most famous for his actions commanding the Reserve Corps at the Battle of Chickamauga. There on September 20, 1863, the second day of the battle, he reinforced, without orders, Major General George H. Thomas' XIV Corps on Snodgrass Hill by ordering James B. Steedman to send two brigades under his command to help Thomas. [6] This action staved off the Confederate attackers until dark, permitting the Federal forces to retreat in good order and thus helping Thomas to earn the sobriquet "Rock of Chickamauga". [7] After the battle, Granger wrote in his report, "being well convinced, judging from the sound of battle, that the enemy were pushing him [Thomas], and fearing that would not be able to resist their combined attack, I determined to go to his assistance at once." [8]

Admiral David Farragut & General Gordon Granger Farragut&Granger.jpg
Admiral David Farragut & General Gordon Granger

Granger's effective leadership at Chickamauga earned him command of the newly formed IV Corps in the Army of the Cumberland commanded by General Thomas, and he was promoted brevet lieutenant colonel of the U.S. Army. Under his command, the IV Corps force distinguished itself at the third Battle of Chattanooga. Two of the IV Corps' divisions, those commanded by Thomas J. Wood and Philip Sheridan, were among the units that assaulted the reinforced center of the Confederate line on top of Missionary Ridge. There, the Union forces broke through and forced the Confederates, under General Braxton Bragg, to retreat. After Chattanooga, Granger took part in lifting the siege at Knoxville, Tennessee. Despite these successes, his outspokenness and bluntness with the superiors including General Ulysses S. Grant, who disliked Granger, [9] prevented him from gaining more prominent commands at the Eastern Theater of the American Civil War. He was sent to the Department of the Gulf under General E. R. S. Canby, and commanded a division that provided land support to the naval operations conducted by Admiral David Farragut in the Gulf of Mexico. Granger led the land forces that captured Forts Gaines and Morgan in conjunction with the Union naval operations during the Battle of Mobile Bay. Granger commanded the XIII Corps during the Battle of Fort Blakeley, which led to the fall of the city of Mobile, Alabama.


When the war ended, Granger was given command of the District of Texas. [10] On June 19, 1865 in the city of Galveston, one of the first orders of business was to read to the people of Texas Granger's General Order No. 3 which began with: [11]

The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection therefore existing between them becomes that between employer and free laborer.

This set off joyous demonstrations by freedmen and originating the annual Juneteenth celebration, which commemorates the abolition of slavery in Texas.

Granger remained in the Army after mustering out from volunteer service. In July 1866, he was assigned as a colonel to the reconstituted 25th Infantry Regiment.

He was reassigned as colonel of the 15th Infantry, December 15, 1870. He was given command of the District of New Mexico, from April 29, 1871, to June 1, 1873. He was on sick leave of absence to October 31, 1875; and then was again in command of the District of New Mexico, October 31, 1875, to January 10, 1876. [12]

In January 10, 1876, Granger died in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he was serving in command of the District of New Mexico. [13] He is buried at Lexington Cemetery in Kentucky. [14]

See also

Related Research Articles

Alexander McDowell McCook Union Army general

Alexander McDowell McCook was a career United States Army officer and a Union general in the American Civil War.

Thomas Leonidas Crittenden Union Army general

Thomas Leonidas Crittenden was a lawyer, politician, and Union general during the American Civil War.

John C. Robinson United States Army Medal of Honor recipient

John Cleveland Robinson had a long and distinguished career in the United States Army, fighting in numerous wars and culminating his career as a Union Army brigadier general of volunteers and brevet major general of volunteers in the American Civil War. In 1866, President Andrew Johnson nominated and the U.S. Senate confirmed Robinson's appointment to the brevet grade of major general in the regular army. He was a recipient of the Medal of Honor for valor in action in 1864 near Spotsylvania Courthouse, Virginia, where he lost a leg. When he retired from the U.S. Army on May 6, 1869, he was placed on the retired list as a full rank major general, USA. After his army service, he was Lieutenant Governor of New York from 1873 to 1874 and served two terms as the president of the Grand Army of the Republic.

Andrew Jackson Smith American military officer

Andrew Jackson Smith was a United States Army general during the American Civil War, rising to the command of a corps. He was most noted for his victory over Confederate General Stephen D. Lee at the Battle of Tupelo, Mississippi, on July 14, 1864.

George Henry Gordon Union Army General

George Henry Gordon was an American lawyer and a Union general in the American Civil War.

James W. Forsyth Union Army General

James William Forsyth was a U.S. Army officer and general. He was primarily a Union staff officer during the American Civil War and cavalry regimental commander during the Indian Wars. Forsyth is best known for having commanded the 7th Cavalry at the Wounded Knee Massacre on December 29, 1890 during which more than 150 men, women, and children of the Lakota were killed and 51 were wounded.

Thomas H. Ruger Union United States Army general

Thomas Howard Ruger was an American soldier and lawyer who served as a Union general in the American Civil War. After the war, he was a superintendent of the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York.

Thomas Devin Union Army general

Thomas Casimer Devin was a United States Army officer and general. He commanded Union cavalry during the American Civil War and during the Indian Wars.

Innis N. Palmer Union army general in the American Civil War

Innis Newton Palmer was a career officer in the United States Army, serving in the Mexican–American War, the Civil War, and on the Western frontier.

John Irvin Gregg Union Army general

John Irvin Gregg was a career U.S. Army officer. He fought in the Mexican–American War and during the American Civil War as a colonel and near the end of the war as a brevet general in the Union army. In 1866, he was nominated and confirmed as a brevet major general of volunteers and a brevet brigadier general in the Regular Army, both to rank from March 13, 1865.

Eli Long Union Army general

Eli Long was a general in the Union Army during the American Civil War.

The 2nd Regiment Michigan Volunteer Cavalry was a cavalry regiment that served in the Union Army during the American Civil War.

Joseph J. Reynolds Union army general

Joseph Jones Reynolds was an American engineer, educator, and military officer who fought in the American Civil War and the postbellum Indian Wars.

George P. Buell Union Army general

George Pearson Buell was an American civil engineer and soldier. He served as a Union Army general during the American Civil War, and remained in the United States Army following the conflict.

Walter C. Whitaker Union army general

Walter Chiles Whitaker was an American farmer, attorney, and soldier. He served as an officer in the United States Army during the Mexican–American War, and also was a Union general during the American Civil War. After the war he returned to his profession as an attorney.

James D. Morgan American merchant sailor, soldier, businessman, and a Union General during the American Civil War

James Dada Morgan was a merchant sailor, soldier, businessman, and a Union General during the American Civil War. He commanded a division of infantry in some of the final campaigns in the Western Theater.

Samuel Perkins Spear was an American soldier who saw combat in the Seminole Wars, the Mexican–American War, and the Civil War.

John Elisha Phelps was a Union Army officer during the American Civil War.

Napoleon B. McLaughlen American general

Napoleon Bonaparte McLaughlen was a career United States army officer. He served throughout the American Civil War, winning brevet promotions to Brigadier General of both the U.S. Volunteers and the Regular Army.

Oscar Hugh La Grange was a colonel in the Union Army during the American Civil War who was brevetted to the grade of brigadier general in 1866.


  1. 1 2 Eicher, p. 263.
  2. Biographical register of the officers and graduates of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.: from its establishment, in 1802, to 1890, with the early history of the United States Military Academy / by George W. Cullum, vol. 2. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1891.
  3. The New York Times, August 18, 1861.
  4. Conner, p. 41.
  5. Conner, p. 43.
  6. Conner, p. 96.
  7. Mark Greenbaum. The Rock of Chickamauga, The New York Times, September 22, 2013.
  8. Conner, p. 95.
  9. Conner, p. 186.
  10. Dupuy, p. 290
  11. From Texas: Important Orders by General Granger. The New York Times, July 7, 1865.
  12. George W. Cullum's Register of Officers and Graduates of the United States Military Academy, Vol. II, 1891, p.237, 1265 Gordon Granger
  13. Gen. Gordon Granger obituary. The New York Times, 12 January 1876.
  14. "Gordon Granger". Find a Grave . Retrieved August 18, 2010.

Further reading

Military offices
Preceded by
Commander of the IV Corps
October 10, 1863 - April 10, 1864
Succeeded by
Oliver O. Howard