William Wallace Wotherspoon

Last updated

William Wallace Wotherspoon
William W. Wotherspoon.jpg
General William Wallace Wotherspoon, official portrait by Thomas W. Orlando.
Born(1850-11-16)November 16, 1850
Washington, D.C.
DiedOctober 21, 1921(1921-10-21) (aged 70)
Washington, D.C.
Buried
AllegianceUnited States
Service/branch United States Navy
United States Army
Years of service1870–1914
Rank Major General
Commands held Chief of Staff of the United States Army (1914)
Department of the Gulf (1912)
U.S. Army War College (1907–09, 1910–12)
2nd Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment (1901–02)
Battles/wars Indian Wars
Spanish–American War
Philippine–American War
Other workSuperintendent of Public Works, State of New York (1915–20)

William Wallace Wotherspoon (November 16, 1850 – October 21, 1921) was a United States Army general who served as Chief of Staff of the United States Army in 1914.

Contents

Early life

Wotherspoon was born in Washington, D.C., on November 16, 1850, the son of Army surgeon Alexander Summerville Wotherspoon (1817–1884) and Louisa Kuhn Wotherspoon. [1] Alexander Wotherspoon was a veteran of the Mexican War; in addition to serving on Winfield Scott's staff, [2] he was present when President Zachary Taylor became ill in 1850, and treated Taylor during his final illness. [3]

William Wotherspoon was educated in private schools and served as a mate in the United States Navy from March 9, 1870 to October 9, 1873 aboard the screw sloop of war USS Plymouth and the paddle steamer USS Tallapoosa. [4] He resigned from the Navy to accept a commission in the U.S. Army.

Army career

Wotherspoon was commissioned a second lieutenant and assigned to the 12th Infantry in October 1873. [4] From 1874 to 1881, he served in the West during the Indian wars as a troop officer and quartermaster.

After a year of absence from the Army for being sick, he became the superintendent and did much needed work to expand the Soldiers' Home in Washington, D.C. He then served at Fort Sully and at Mount Vernon Barracks, where he trained a company of Apache prisoners from 1890 to 1894. In 1893 he became an hereditary member of the Aztec Club of 1847.

In 1894, he became aide to General Oliver O. Howard, commander of the Department of the East, and was the Rhode Island College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts (today named the University of Rhode Island) first Professor Military Science and Tactics [5] from 1894 to 1898. [6]

Spanish–American War

In 1898, while on recruiting duty at Fort McPherson, he organized the 3rd Battalion, 12th Infantry. He served in the Philippines against insurgents and as collector of customs at Iloilo from 1899 to 1901.

Senior command

In 1901, he was promoted to major and transferred to the 30th Infantry. He commanded the 2nd Battalion, 6th Infantry at Fort Leavenworth and then taught at the Command and General Staff College from 1902 to 1904. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel and assigned to the 14th Infantry in 1904 and later was transferred to the 19th Infantry and became the director of the U.S. Army War College from 1904 to 1906. Wotherspooon was the chief of staff of the Army of Cuban Pacification from 1906 to 1907.

Wotherspoon served as the acting president of the Army War College and chief of the Third Division, General Staff in 1907. [4] He was promoted to brigadier general in October 1907, advanced over 140 officers with more seniority. [7] He was president of the Army War College, serving from 1907 to 1909 and again from 1910 to 1912. [4] Wotherspoon was largely instrumental in transforming the Army War College from an adjunct of the General Staff to an autonomous educational institution, he became assistant to the chief of staff from 1901 to 1910 and again in 1912 to 1914. [4] He was promoted to major general in May 1912 and served as the commander of the Department of the Gulf until that September. [4]

Army Chief of Staff

Wotherspoon became the Chief of Staff of the United States Army in 1914; he served from April 21 to November 15. [8] [9] During his term, he highlighted the shortage of experienced officers and noncommissioned as the Army began to prepare for possible involvement in World War I. [10] He also emphasized the need to improve coastal defenses to match battleships that were increasing in size and armament, [11] oversaw establishment of the Army's first aviation section as a branch of the Signal Corps, [4] and completion of the Panama Canal and its opening to ship traffic. [4]

Retirement

Wotherspoon retired upon reaching the mandatory retirement age of 64 on November 16, 1914 [12] After retiring, he was New York State Superintendent of Public Works from 1915 to 1920. [13]

Wotherspoon died in Washington, D.C. on October 21, 1921. [14] He was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery, Section 3, Site 1949. [15] [16]

Family

In 1887, while stationed in northern New York, he married Mary C. Adams (1865–1953) of Utica, New York. [17] [18] They were the parents of a son, Alexander Somerville Wotherspoon (1892–1976). [19] Alexander Wotherspoon was a career officer in the United States Navy, and retired as a rear admiral. [20]

Military awards

Dates of rank

InsigniaRankDateComponent
Union army 2nd lt rank insignia.jpg Second Lieutenant 1 October 1873 Regular Army
Union army 1st lt rank insignia.jpg First Lieutenant 20 March 1879 Regular Army
Union army cpt rank insignia.jpg Captain 28 April 1893Regular Army
Union army maj rank insignia.jpg Major 2 February 1901Regular Army
Union Army LTC rank insignia.png Lieutenant Colonel 12 July 1904Regular Army
Union army brig gen rank insignia.jpg Brigadier General 3 October 1907Regular Army
Union army maj gen rank insignia.jpg Major General 12 May 1912Regular Army

Notes

  1. The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography. 19. New York: James T. White. 1967. p. 446.
  2. Stoddard, Charles C. (December 1, 1921). "Career of General Wotherspoon". The Caledonian. New York: Caledonian Publishing Company. p. 426.
  3. Bauer, K. Jack (1985). Zachary Taylor: Soldier, Planter, Statesman of the Old Southwest. Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press. p. 315. ISBN   978-0-8071-1237-3.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Commanding Generals and Chiefs of Staff, 1775–2005.
  5. "Eighth Annual Report of the President of the Rhode Island College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts, made to the State Board of Education". 1895. Retrieved September 16, 2008.
  6. "About the Institution: Lippett Hall (University of Rhode Island)". State Council on the Arts, State of Rhode Island. Retrieved September 16, 2008.
  7. "Gen. Wotherspoon Dies in Washington" (PDF). New York Times. New York. October 22, 1921. p. 13.
  8. "Wotherspoon now is Chief of Staff" . New York Tribune. New York. April 23, 1914. p. 5.
  9. "Gen'l Wotherspoon, U.S.A. Chief, Reaches 64, and is retired Today" . Trenton Evening Times. Trenton, NJ. November 16, 1914. p. 3.
  10. Maxim, Hudson (1915). Defenseless America. New York: Hearst's International Library Co. pp. 125–126.
  11. United States House Appropriations Committee (1914). General Deficiency Bill, 1915. Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office. pp. 5–6.
  12. "Major-General William Wallace Wotherspoon, U.S.A." The Independent. December 14, 1914. Retrieved July 24, 2012.
  13. Malcolm, James (1917). New York Red Book. Albany, NY: J. B. Lyon Company. p. 78.
  14. "Maj. Gen. Wotherspoon is Heart Attack Victim" . Washington Post. Washington, DC. October 22, 1921. p. 12.
  15. "Gen Wotherspoon to be Buried Here" . Washington Herald. Washington, DC. October 23, 1921. p. 12.
  16. Burial Detail: Wotherspoon, William W – ANC Explorer
  17. "Obituary, William W. Wotherspoon". Army and Navy Register. Washington, DC. November 5, 1921. p. 453.
  18. "Mrs. W. W. Wotherspoon, of Jamestown, 88, Dies" . Newport Daily News. Newport, RI. December 17, 1953. p. 2.
  19. "Rites for Army Officer: Maj. Gen. William W. Wotherspoon Buried at Arlington" . Washington Post. Washington, DC. October 25, 1921. p. 10.
  20. Enright, Rosemary; Maden, Sue (October 25, 2012). "JHS 100 years: The Retiring Navy". Jamestown Press. Jamestown, RI.

Related Research Articles

Samuel Baldwin Marks Young 1st Chief of Staff of the United States Army

Samuel Baldwin Marks Young was a United States Army general. He also served as the first president of Army War College between 1902 and 1903. He then served from 1903 until 1904 as the first Chief of Staff of the United States Army.

Hugh Aloysius Drum

Hugh Aloysius Drum was a career United States Army officer who served in World War I and World War II and attained the rank of lieutenant general. He was notable for his service as chief of staff of the First United States Army during World War I, and commander of First Army during the initial days of World War II.

Charles Justin Bailey United States Army general

Charles Justin Bailey was a major general in the United States Army who commanded the 81st Infantry Division during World War I.

Daniel Van Voorhis

Daniel Van Voorhis was a United States Army Lieutenant General and was noteworthy for his assignments as commander of V Corps and the Caribbean Defense Command, as well as his efforts in creating the Army's modern Armor branch.

William M. Wright

William Mason Wright was a lieutenant general in the United States Army. He was notable for his service as a division and corps commander during World War I.

William Abram Mann

William Abram Mann was a general officer in the United States Army. He served as the commander of the 17th Infantry Brigade in the Spanish–American War and the 42nd Division in World War I.

Clement Flagler United States Army general (1867–1922)

Clement Alexander Finley Flagler was a United States Army Major General who was noteworthy as regimental, brigade and division commander in World War I.

James L. Baldwin

Major General James Leon Baldwin was a career United States Army officer who served as commander of the 23rd (Americal) Infantry Division from 1970 to 1971.

Malin Craig 13th Chief of Staff of the United States Army

Malin Craig was a general in the United States Army who served as the 14th Chief of Staff of the United States Army from 1935 to 1939. He was recalled to active duty during World War II.

James K. Parsons

James Kelly Parsons was a career officer in the United States Army. He attained the rank of major general, and was notable for his command of the 39th Infantry Regiment in France during World War I, and his post-war command of the Army's tank school, 23rd Infantry Brigade, 5th Infantry Brigade, and 2nd Infantry Division. He closed his career as commander of Third Corps Area and interim commander of the First United States Army, positions in which he supervised training exercises designed to prepare units for overseas service as the Army began to expand at the start of World War II.

Herbert B. Crosby United States Army general

Herbert Ball Crosby was a career officer in the United States Army. A veteran of the Spanish–American War and World War I, he attained the rank of major general as the Army's Chief of Cavalry.

William Johnston Jr. U.S. Army major general

William Hartshorne Johnston Jr. was an American military officer who served with distinction in the Spanish–American War, Philippine–American War and World War I. He attained the rank of major general, and was most notable for his World War I command of the 91st Division.

Louis A. Craig United States Army general (1891–1984)

Louis A. Craig was a career officer in the United States Army. He attained the rank of major general, and served in both World War I and World War II. Craig served as a corps and division commander during World War II and was the Inspector General of the Army from 1948 to 1952.

William Jones Nicholson United States Army general (1856–1931)

William Jones Nicholson was a career officer in the United States Army. He attained the rank of brigadier general during World War I as commander of the 157th Infantry Brigade, a unit of the 79th Division. He was most notable for leading his brigade to victory during the September 1918 Battle of Montfaucon, part of the first phase of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, for which he received the Distinguished Service Cross.

Bruce Magruder U.S. Army major general

Bruce Magruder was a career officer in the United States Army. A veteran of the Moro Rebellion, Pancho Villa Expedition, World War I, and World War II, he attained the rank of major general. Magruder was most notable as the first commander of the 1st Armored Division and commander of the Infantry Replacement Center at Camp Wolters, Texas during World War II.

Frederick B. Shaw United States Army general

Frederick B. Shaw was a senior officer of the United States Army. A veteran of the Spanish–American War, Philippine–American War, Pancho Villa Expedition, and World War I, he attained the rank of brigadier general and is best known for commanding the 162d Depot Brigade and 36th Infantry Brigade, 18th Division.

Harry L. Steele United States Army general

Harry L. Steele was a career officer in the United States Army. Enlisting as a private in 1895, he received his commission in 1898. A veteran of the Spanish–American War and World War I, Steele attained the rank of major general and was most notable for his service as the Army's Chief of Coast Artillery from 1935 to 1936.

Alfred T. Smith U.S. Army brigadier general

Alfred T. Smith was a career officer in the United States Army. A veteran of the Spanish–American War, Philippine–American War, and World War I, he attained the rank of brigadier general and was most notable for his command of the Philippine Division (1935-1937) and the 3rd Infantry Division (1937-1938).

Evan M. Johnson U.S. Army brigadier general

Evan M. Johnson was a career officer in the United States Army. A veteran of the Apache Wars, Spanish–American War, Philippine–American War, occupation of Veracruz, and World War I, he was most notable for his First World War command of the 154th Infantry Brigade, 158th Infantry Brigade, 77th Division, and 79th Division.

Charles F. Thompson US Army major general

Charles F. Thompson was a career officer in the United States Army. A veteran of World War I and World War II, he attained the rank of major general and was notable as the first Chief of the United States Army Reserve and for his command of 3rd Infantry Division and I Corps.

References

Further reading

Military offices
Preceded by
Leonard Wood
Chief of Staff of the United States Army
1914
Succeeded by
Hugh L. Scott