Thomas W. Osborn

Last updated
Thomas Ward Osborn
Thomas W. Osborn - Brady-Handy.jpg
United States Senator
from Florida
In office
June 25, 1868 March 4, 1873
Preceded by David L. Yulee
Succeeded by Simon B. Conover
Member of the Florida Senate
Personal details
Born(1833-03-09)March 9, 1833
Scotch Plains, New Jersey
DiedDecember 18, 1898(1898-12-18) (aged 65)
New York City, New York
Political party Republican

Thomas Ward Osborn (March 9, 1833 December 18, 1898) was a Union Army officer and United States Senator representing Florida.

Union Army Land force that fought for the Union during the American Civil War

During the American Civil War, the Union Army referred to the United States Army, the land force that fought to preserve the Union of the collective states. Also known as the Federal Army, it proved essential to the preservation of the United States as a working, viable republic.

United States Senate Upper house of the United States Congress

The United States Senate is the upper chamber of the United States Congress which, along with the United States House of Representatives—the lower chamber—comprises the legislature of the United States. The Senate chamber is located in the north wing of the Capitol Building, in Washington, D.C.

Florida U.S. state in the United States

Florida is the southernmost contiguous state in the United States. The state is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the northwest by Alabama, to the north by Georgia, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, and to the south by the Straits of Florida. Florida is the 22nd-most extensive, the 3rd-most populous, and the 8th-most densely populated of the U.S. states. Jacksonville is the most populous municipality in the state and the largest city by area in the contiguous United States. The Miami metropolitan area is Florida's most populous urban area. Tallahassee is the state's capital.

Contents

Early life

Osborn was born in Scotch Plains, New Jersey, the son of John and Amelia Osborn. He and his family moved to North Wilna, New York in 1842 where he worked on the family farm until 1854. In 1854, Osborn took college preparatory courses and, in 1860, he graduated from Madison University (now Colgate University) of Hamilton, New York.

Scotch Plains, New Jersey Township in Union County, New Jersey, U.S.

Scotch Plains is a township in Union County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 Census, the township's population was 23,510, reflecting an increase of 778 (+3.4%) from the 22,732 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 1,572 (+7.4%) from the 21,160 counted in 1990.

Wilna, New York Town in New York, United States

Wilna is a town in Jefferson County, New York, United States. The population was 6,427 at the 2010 census. The town is on the eastern side of the county and is east of Watertown.

Colgate University private liberal arts college

Colgate University is a private liberal arts college in Hamilton, New York. Founded in 1819, Colgate enrolls nearly 3,000 students in 56 undergraduate majors that culminate in a Bachelor of Arts degree; it also enrolls a dozen students in a Master of Arts in Teaching program.

After graduating, Osborn worked in a law office in Watertown, New York and was admitted to the New York bar association in 1861.

New York (state) American state

New York is a state in the Northeastern United States. New York was one of the original thirteen colonies that formed the United States. With an estimated 19.54 million residents in 2018, it is the fourth most populous state. In order to distinguish the state from the city with the same name, it is sometimes referred to as New York State.

A bar association is a professional association of lawyers. Some bar associations are responsible for the regulation of the legal profession in their jurisdiction; others are professional organizations dedicated to serving their members; in many cases, they are both. In many Commonwealth jurisdictions, the bar association comprises lawyers who are qualified as barristers or advocates in particular, versus solicitors. Membership in bar associations may be mandatory or optional for practicing attorneys, depending on jurisdiction.

Military service

With the American Civil War looming, Osborn did not practice law for long. After the First Battle of Bull Run in 1861, he entered the Union Army as lieutenant. From his home in Jefferson County, New York, Osborn raised a company for light artillery service which became known as Company (or Battery) D, First Regiment, New York Light Artillery.

American Civil War Internal war in the U.S. over slavery

The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States from 1861 to 1865, between the North and the South. The Civil War began 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, which also included some geographically western and southern states, proclaimed support for the Constitution. They faced secessionists of the Confederate States in the South, who advocated for states' rights in order to uphold slavery.

First Battle of Bull Run first major land battle of the American Civil War

The First Battle of Bull Run, also known as the First Battle of Manassas, was the first major battle of the American Civil War and was a Confederate victory. The battle was fought on July 21, 1861 in Prince William County, Virginia, just north of the city of Manassas and about 25 miles west-southwest of Washington, D.C. The Union's forces were slow in positioning themselves, allowing Confederate reinforcements time to arrive by rail. Each side had about 18,000 poorly trained and poorly led troops in their first battle. It was a Confederate victory, followed by a disorganized retreat of the Union forces.

A lieutenant is the junior most commissioned officer in the armed forces, fire services, police, and other organizations of many nations.

Osborn's company served with the Army of the Potomac earning high marks and he was promoted to captain, major and colonel. As major, Osborn served under Major General Oliver O. Howard in the XI Corps leading in exemplary fashion (although the XI Corps was routed in both the Battle of Chancellorsville and Battle of Gettysburg). Osborn commanded the corps' artillery brigade at Gettysburg, and he was involved in the defense of Cemetery Hill on July 2, 1863, when the position was attacked by troops of Maj. Gen. Jubal Early.

Army of the Potomac unit of the Union Army during the American Civil War

The Army of the Potomac was the principal Union Army in the Eastern Theater of the American Civil War. It was created in July 1861 shortly after the First Battle of Bull Run and was disbanded in May 1865 following the surrender of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia in April.

In the United States uniformed services, captain is a commissioned-officer rank. In keeping with the traditions of the militaries of most nations, the rank varies between the services, being a senior rank in the naval services and a junior rank in the ground and air forces.

Major (United States) rank in the United States uniformed services, O-4

In the United States Army, Marine Corps, and Air Force, major is a field grade military officer rank above the rank of captain and below the rank of lieutenant colonel. It is equivalent to the naval rank of lieutenant commander in the other uniformed services. Although lieutenant commanders are considered junior officers by their respective services, the rank of major is that of a senior officer in the United States Army, the United States Marine Corps, and the United States Air Force.

Osborn transferred to the Western theater with Howard. He served as inspector general when Howard became commander of the Army of the Tennessee. He left a detailed account of Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman's March to the Sea.

An inspector general is an investigative official in a civil or military organization. The plural of the term is "inspectors general".

Army of the Tennessee Unit of the Union Army during the American Civil War

The Army of the Tennessee was a Union army in the Western Theater of the American Civil War, named for the Tennessee River.

Shermans March to the Sea Military campaign during the American Civil War

Sherman's March to the Sea was a military campaign of the American Civil War conducted through Georgia from November 15 until December 21, 1864, by Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman of the Union Army. The campaign began with Sherman's troops leaving the captured city of Atlanta on November 15 and ended with the capture of the port of Savannah on December 21. His forces followed a "scorched earth" policy, destroying military targets as well as industry, infrastructure, and civilian property and disrupting the Confederacy's economy and transportation networks. The operation broke the back of the Confederacy and helped lead to its eventual surrender. Sherman's bold move of operating deep within enemy territory and without supply lines is considered to be one of the major achievements of the war and is also considered to be an early example of modern total war.

Reconstruction and politics

After Osborn's military service ended, he was appointed assistant commissioner for the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands as part of Reconstruction in Florida in 1865 and 1866. He also practiced law while living in Tallahassee, Florida.

Osborn was a member of the State constitutional convention which created The 1868 Florida Constitution. He then moved to Pensacola, Florida and was elected to the Florida Senate.

Shortly thereafter, Florida was reinstated to the U.S. Congress. While still only in his mid-30s, Osborn was elected to the United States Senate as a Republican and served from 1868 to 1873. He is credited with being instrumental in passing legislation to complete construction of the Washington Monument [1] (which had been halted since before the Civil War).

Retirement

Osborn did not run for reelection in 1872. He served as the U.S. commissioner at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1876, the first official world's fair in the United States.

In his retirement, Osborn engaged in law and literature in New York City where he died in 1898. Thomas Osborn is interred at Hillside Cemetery in North Adams, Massachusetts.

See also

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References

  1. "Tribute to the Late Senator Thomas Ward Osborn," Congressional Record, V. 150, Pt. 6, April 20, 2004 to May 4 2004, S4291-S4292
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
vacant1
U.S. Senator (Class 3) from Florida
18681873
Served alongside: Adonijah S. Welch, Abijah Gilbert
Succeeded by
Simon B. Conover
Notes and references
1. Because Florida seceded from the Union in 1861, seat was vacant from 1861-1868 when David L. Yulee withdrew from the Senate.