James Lorraine Geddes - Encyclopedia

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JAMES LORRAINE GEDDES (1827-1887), American soldier and writer, was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, on the 19th of March 1827. In his boyhood he was taken to Canada, but in 1843 he returned to Scotland; then studied at Calcutta in the military academy, entered the army, and after distinguishing himself in the Punjab campaign, returned to Canada, whence in 1857 he removed to Vinton, Iowa. In the American Civil War he served in the Federal army first as lieutenant-colonel and after February 1862 as colonel of volunteers, taking part in the fighting at Shiloh, Vicksburg and Corinth. He was captured at Shiloh and was imprisoned for a time at Madison, Ga., and in Libby prison, Richmond, Va., and in 1865 was brevetted brigadier-general of volunteers. He was principal of the College for the Blind at Vinton after the war, and until his death was connected with the Iowa College of Agriculture at Ames, being military instructor and cashier in 1870-1882, acting president in 1876-1877, librarian in 1877-1878, vicepresident and professor of military tactics in 1880-1882, and treasurer in 1884-1887. He died at Ames on the 21st of February 1887. He wrote a number of war songs, including "The Soldiers' Battle Prayer" and "The Stars and Stripes."

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