James B. McPherson

From Ohio History Central
McPherson, Major General James B..jpg
Portrait of Major General James McPherson from Sandusky County, Ohio, ca. 1861-1864. He was killed in battle July 22, 1864.

General James Birdseye McPherson was the highest ranking Ohio soldier to die in the American Civil War.

James McPherson was born on November 14, 1828, at Clyde, Ohio. In 1847, he received an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point. He graduated in 1851. After teaching at West Point for one year, McPherson became an engineer in the army.

At the outbreak of the American Civil War, McPherson was promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel. He served under Ulysses S. Grant at the Battle of Shiloh and was Grant's head engineer. McPherson also proved himself to be an able leader on the battlefield. He attained the rank of brigadier general in the early summer of 1862 and given command of a force sent to assist General William Rosecrans and his army at Corinth, Mississippi. McPherson rose to the rank of major general in October 1862 and served under Grant in the Army of the Tennessee during the Vicksburg campaign.

In 1864, McPherson served with General William T. Sherman and participated in Sherman's advance upon Atlanta. In a battle with John Bell Hood's Confederate army on August 22, 1864, McPherson was killed. Upon hearing of McPherson's death, General Grant stated, "In his death the army lost one of its ablest, purest and best generals." Sherman echoed these sentiments when he stated, "I have seen [McPherson], in danger, in battle when every muscle and every tissue was in full action, when his heroic qualities shone out as a star in the darkest night."

See Also


  1. Dee, Christine, ed. Ohio's War: The Civil War in Documents. Athens: Ohio University Press, 2007.  
  2. McPherson, James M. Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1988.  
  3. Official Roster of the Soldiers of the State of Ohio in the War of Rebellion, 1861-1866. Akron, OH: The Werner Company, 1893.  
  4. Reid, Whitelaw. Ohio in the War: Her Statesmen, Generals and Soldiers. Cincinnati, OH: Clarke, 1895.
  5. Roseboom, Eugene H. The Civil War Era: 1850-1873. Columbus: Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Society, 1944.