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Army and Department of the Gulf

        Constituted February 23, 1862, comprising, in a general way, the territory of the Gulf States occupied by the Federal troops. Major-General Benjamin F. Butler was the first commander. He was followed by Major-Generals N. P. Banks, S. A. Hurlbut, and E. R. S. Canby, who commanded after the close of the war. There were, at first, many separate bodies of troops scattered over the department. One of these, the Nineteenth Army Corps, was organized in January, 1863, and was discontinued as a corps in this department November 7, 1864. The Thirteenth Army Corps joined that of the Tennessee in August, 1863, and remained until June, 1864. A detachment of the Sixteenth Corps, also from the Army of the Tennessee, joined for the Red River expedition, in March, 1864. On May 7, 1864, the Department of the Gulf was merged in the Military Division of West Mississippi, but retained a separate existence.
        Major-General Nathaniel Prentiss Banks was born in Waltham, Massachusetts, January 30, 1816. He received a common-school education practiced law, and was a prominent member of Congress from 1853 to 1857. He was governor of Massachusetts from 1858 until 1861, and when the Civil War broke out he was president of the Illinois Central Railroad Company, but immediately offered his services to the Government. He was made major-general of volunteers, and was appointed to the command of the Department of Annapolis, and then to the Department of the Shenandoah. In the organization of the Army of the Potomac in March, 1862, he was assigned to the Fifth Corps, but his force was detached April 4, 1862, and remained in the Shenandoah Valley, where Banks had command until that corps was merged in the Army of Virginia, June 26, 1862. After the Army of Virginia was discontinued, Banks was at the head of the Military District of Washington until October 27, 1862. He succeeded Major-General B. F. Butler in command of the Department of the Gulf, and was actively engaged along the lower Mississippi and Red rivers. He resigned his commission after the disastrous Red River expedition of 1864, and was reelected to Congress. In 1890, owing to an increasing mental disorder, he was obliged to retire from public life. He died at his home in Waltham, September 1, 1894.
        Major-General Edward Richard Sprigg Canby (U. S. M. A. 1889) was born in Kentucky in 1819. Entering the army, he served in the Seminole and Mexican wars. When the Civil War broke out, he served first as colonel in New Mexico, held that territory for the Union, and prevented a Confederate invasion of California. Then, for some time, he was on special duty in the North and East. In May, 1864, with the rank of major-general of volunteers, he assumed command of the Military Division of West Mississippi. He captured Mobile, April 12, 1865, and the following month arranged for the surrender of the Confederate forces in the Trans-Mississippi Department. June 3, 1865, he succeeded to the command of the Army and Department of the Gulf. After the close of the war he was made brigadier-general in the regular army, and was put in command of the Department of the Columbia. While engaged in attempting to settle difficulties between the Government and the Modoc Indians, he was treacherously murdered by their chief, April II, 1873.
        Major-General Gordon Granger (U. S. M. A. 1845) was born in New York city in 1821, and served in the Mexican War and on the Southwestern frontier. When the Civil War broke out, he was made captain and rose through successive grades until his appointment of major-general of volunteers was dated September 17, 1862. He fought at Wilson's Creek, and later commanded the cavalry and had a brigade in the Army of the Mississippi. Then he had charge of the so-called Army of Kentucky, from August to October, 1862, and served in the Department of the Ohio until put in charge of the newly organized Reserve Corps of the Army of the Cumberland. At Chickamauga, he rendered most timely assistance to Thomas and won a brevet of lieutenant-colonel in the regular army. He was the first commander of the new Fourth Corps until April, 1864, when he was sent to command the district of South Alabama, the troops of which were merged in the Reserve Corps, Department of the Gulf (afterward called New Thirteenth Army Granger took command in January, 1865. He commanded the land forces at the fall of Forts Morgan and Gaines (August, 1864), and in the operations around Mobile that resulted in its capture, April, 1865. After the war, Major-General Granger was mustered out of the volunteer service and received the commission of colonel in the regular army. He was brevetted major-general in March, 1865. He died in Santa Fe, New Mexico, January 10,1876.
Source: "Photographic History of the Civil War"

This Page last updated 03/21/04


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