William Starke Rosecrans - Encyclopedia

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WILLIAM STARKE ROSECRANS (1819-1898), American soldier, was born in Kingston, Ohio, on the 6th of September 1819, and graduated in 1842 from the U.S. Military Academy, being appointed to the engineers. After serving (1843-47) as assistant professor at West Point, and in fort construction, he resigned (April 1854) from the army and went into business in Cincinnati. On the outbreak of the Civil War Rosecrans volunteered for service under McClellan and helped raise the Ohio "Home Guards," with which he served in the West Virginian operations of 1861 in the rank of brigadier-general. He was second in command to McClellan during this campaign, and succeeded to the command when that officer was called to Washington. In the latter part of 1861 Rosecrans conducted further operations in the same region with great skill and success, and early in 1862 he was transferred to the West as a major-general of volunteers. He took part in the operations against Corinth, and when General John Pope was ordered to Virginia, Rosecrans took over command of the Army of the Mississippi with which he fought the successful battles of Iuka and Corinth. Soon afterwards he was ordered to replace D. C. Buell in command of the forces, renamed the Army of the Cumberland about the same time.

In December he advanced against General Braxton Bragg, and on the 31st of December to the 3rd of January was fought the bloody and indecisive battle of Stone River (Murfreesboro), after which Bragg withdrew his army to the southward. 1863 Rosecrans, refusing to advance until the isolation of Vicksburg (farther west) was assured, did not take the offensive until late in June. The operations thus begun were most skilfully conducted, and Bragg was forced back to Chattanooga, whence he had to retire on being once more outmanoeuvred. But Rosecrans sustained a great defeat at the battle of Chickamauga (q.v.), and was soon besieged in Chattanooga. He was then relieved from his command. Later he did good service in Missouri, and in March 1865 he was made brevet majorgeneral U.S.A. He resigned in 1867, and in the following year became minister to Mexico. Subsequently he was engaged in many railway and industrial enterprises in that country, as also in California. He was a representative in Congress from California, 1881-85, and register of the treasury, 1885-93. Under an act of Congress he was on the 2nd of March 1889 restored to the rank of brigadier-general, and retired. He died near Redondo, Cal., on the 11th of March 1898. On the 17th of May 1902 his body was reinterred with military honours in the National Cemetery at Arlington, in the presence of President Roosevelt, members of the cabinet and many of his campaigning comrades.

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