Quincy Gillmore

From Ohio History Central
Gillmore, Quincy.jpg
Portrait of Capt. Quincy A. Gillmore, officer of the Federal Army (Maj. Gen. from July 10, 1863)

Quincy Gillmore was a Civil War military leader from Ohio. He was born on February 28, 1825, at Black River, Ohio. His father was a staunch supporter of President John Quincy Adams, and named his son Quincy Adams Gillmore. He spent his youth working on his father's farm and attended school only during the winter months. By the age of seventeen, Gillmore was teaching school. He began to study medicine in his free time until he received an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1845. He ranked first in his class when he graduated in 1849.

In 1849, Gillmore joined the Corps of Engineers and helped plan the fortifications of Hampton Roads, Virginia. In 1852, he returned to West Point as an instructor of practical military engineering. At West Point, Gillmore conducted research on the effects of cannon projectiles on masonry forts. His research assisted him during the American Civil War. In 1856, he was transferred to New York City, where he was the army's chief engineer in the region. He held this position until the beginning of the Civil War.

In August 1861, Gillmore sought a battlefield position. Salmon Chase recommended that Ohio Governor William Dennison offer Gillmore command of one of Ohio's volunteer infantry regiments. Dennison agreed, but Gillmore refused the offer. Later that year, Gillmore was assigned to accompany General Thomas W. Sherman's expedition against the coastal regions of South Carolina. Gillmore was responsible for constructing defenses for the territory that Union forces seized. Sherman then sailed for Savannah, which was guarded by Fort Pulaski. Sherman asked Gillmore to develop a plan to capture the fort. Gillmore proposed bombarding Fort Pulaski from a nearby island - roughly three thousand yards away. Current military practice contended that only a bombardment from less than one thousand yards could succeed. After Gillmore opened his bombardment of Fort Pulaski on April 9, 1862, the Confederates inside surrendered in less than three days.

During the campaign against Savannah, Gillmore contracted malaria and took a leave of absence. Upon recovering his health, Gillmore was assigned to help the governor of New York recruit and train new volunteers for the Union army. In September 1862, Gillmore went to Cincinnati, Ohio, and took command of forces sent to drive Confederate soldiers under General Kirby Smith from Kentucky. Gillmore's time in Kentucky was relatively quiet. He remained in the area until early 1863, when he was assigned to plan and carry out an attack on Fort Sumter and Charleston, South Carolina. Gillmore succeeded in capturing or destroying numerous fortifications defending Charleston during July, August, and September 1863. Northern soldiers failed to capture the city but they did succeed in creating a virtual blockade of the water approaches to the city. For his successes in this campaign, Gillmore was promoted to major general.

In 1864, Gillmore was transferred to the command of General Benjamin Butler at Fortress Monroe, Virginia. Gillmore and Butler had a falling out, and General Ulysses S. Grant intervened, transferring Gillmore to Washington, DC. At Washington, Gillmore played a vital role in stopping Confederate General Jubal Early's advance on that city. He finished the war overseeing Northern troops in Georgia and South Carolina. Gillmore remained in the military following the war. He died on April 7, 1888, in New York.

See Also


  1. Dee, Christine, ed. Ohio's War: The Civil War in Documents. Athens: Ohio University Press, 2007.  
  2. Gillmore, Quincy Adams. Engineer and Artillery Operations Against the Defences of Charleston Harbor in 1863. New York, NY: Van Nostrand, 1865.
  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.