December 06, 2012 07:00 PM EST Cincinnati


General James H. Wilson CDV

Three quarter length portrait with a Brady/Anthony backmark, penciled on verso Gen. J.H. Wilson who captured Jeff Davis

James H. Wilson (1837-1925) was a versatile soldier who rose from a topographical engineer early in the war to the inner circle of Grant’s staff, culminating as one of the outstanding cavalry commanders of the Civil War.

As an engineer, Wilson managed the Port Royal expedition and the reduction of Fort Pulaski before joining McClellan's staff in time for the Maryland campaign later in 1862. Promoted to Lt. Colonel in November 1862, Wilson was sent west to join Grant’s staff as chief engineer and oversaw the siege of Vicksburg while acting as inspector general of the Army of Tennessee. For outstanding service he was rewarded with a star in October 1863.

In February 1864, Wilson was assigned to Washington as chief of the cavalry bureau and quickly earned accolades for his organizational skills as well as command of division in Sheridan’s corps upon his mentor Grant’s return to the east. Wilson fought with distinction in the Shenandoah and was soon posted to command the cavalry in Sherman’s army in preparation for the crucial Atlanta campaign. Wilson gained further acclaim in 1864 with the destruction of Hood’s army before Nashville and for finally defeating the fabled Forrest at Selma that spring. Wilson then led the greatest “independent cavalry movement of the Civil War” that culminated at Macon, Georgia on April 20, 1865, and led the group of cavalrymen who captured fugitive Confederate President Jefferson Davis in May 1865. He was promoted to Major General on June 1865 and brevetted the same.

Post-war, Wilson was posted to the 35th US Infantry, and he later served in the Spanish-American War as a volunteer Major General. He participated in the Boxer Rebellion in 1901 before retiring as a regular Brigadier General by special act of Congress. The indomitable Wilson lived until 1925.
Estimate: $600 - $800
Price Realized Including Buyer's Premium


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