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Washington Lafayette Elliott (March 31, 1825 – June 29, 1888) was a Brigadier General in the Union Army during the American Civil War. He led a division of IV Corps at the Battle of Nashville in 1864. In 1866, he was awarded the honorary grade of brevet major general, U.S. Army.

Washington Lafayette Elliott
W L Elliott BGen ACW.jpg
Washington Lafayette Elliott
Born(1825-03-31)March 31, 1825
Carlisle, Pennsylvania
DiedJune 29, 1888(1888-06-29) (aged 63)
San Francisco, California
Place of burial
The Presidio in San Francisco
AllegianceUnited States of America
Union
Service/branchUnited States Army
Union Army
Years of service1846–1879
RankUnion Army brigadier general rank insignia.svg Brigadier General
Union Army major general rank insignia.svg Brevet Major General
Commands held2nd Iowa Volunteer Cavalry
3rd Cavalry Regiment
Battles/warsMexican–American War
American Civil War

Contents

Early life and careerEdit

Elliott was born on March 31, 1825, at Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He was a son of U.S. Navy Commodore Jesse Elliott. Washington accompanied his father on some voyages. After attending Dickinson College, he entered the United States Military Academy on July 1, 1841. He left in 1844 to study medicine but was commissioned a second lieutenant in 1846 for the Mexican–American War. He fell ill during the Siege of Veracruz and spent the rest of the war on recruiting duty. He remained in the army as a first lieutenant (1847), serving as a quartermaster. Elliott was promoted to the rank of captain in 1854.[1]

In 1858 Elliott married Valeria Biddle Blaney (1828–1900), who was a first cousin of Spencer Fullerton Baird of the Smithsonian Institution. Baird and Girard named a species of snake after her, Virginia valeriae.[2]

Civil War serviceEdit

After the outbreak of the American Civil War, Elliott served in Missouri, fighting at the Battle of Wilson's Creek. He was promoted to major of the 3rd U.S. Cavalry on August 3, 1861. Commissioned colonel of the 2nd Iowa Cavalry on September 14, 1861, Elliott served under Maj. Gen. John Pope in the Battle of Island Number Ten. He led a brigade in the Siege of Corinth. Elliott became a brigadier general on June 11, 1862, after leading a raid on the Mobile and Ohio Railroad. Elliott served on Maj. Gen. John Pope's staff in the Army of the Mississippi.

Elliott transferred East with Pope and served as chief of cavalry in the Army of Virginia. He was wounded at the Second Battle of Bull Run on August 30, 1862. He served for a time in the Department of the Northwest, as commander of the District of Wisconsin and commander of the department, before returning east in 1863. During the first half of 1863, Elliott was a brigade commander in the Middle Department, and led a brigade during the Second Battle of Winchester in mid-June. Then Elliott took command of a new division that joined III Corps, Army of the Potomac, as its third division shortly after the Battle of Gettysburg.

Elliott went west again and led the first division of the cavalry corps of the Army of the Cumberland during the relief of the Siege of Knoxville. He served as commander of that army's cavalry corps in the Atlanta Campaign. He was transferred to the infantry in late 1864, leading a division of IV Corps at the Battle of Nashville. Then Elliott commanded the District of Kansas in the Department of the Missouri before being mustered out of the volunteer service on March 1, 1866.[3] On June 17, 1866, President Andrew Johnson nominated Elliott for the award of the honorary grade of brevet major general, U.S.A., to rank from March 13, 1865, and the U. S. Senate confirmed the award on July 23, 1866.[3][4]

PostbellumEdit

 
Elliott in later life

After the war, Washington Elliott remained in the Regular Army (United States) as a major in the 1st Cavalry. he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel and, in 1878, became colonel of the 3rd Cavalry. Elliott retired in 1879 and became a banker in San Francisco, California. He died in that city in 1888, and was buried at the San Francisco Presidio.

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ "Washington Lafayette Elliot". Dickenson Encyclopedia. Dickenson College. Retrieved 2009-11-04.
  2. ^ Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael; Grayson, Michael (2011). The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiii + 296 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. (Valeria Biddle Blaney, p. 271).
  3. ^ a b Eicher, John H., and David J. Eicher. Civil War High Commands. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2001. ISBN 0-8047-3641-3. p. 707
  4. ^ Warner, Ezra J., Generals in Blue: Lives of the Union Commanders, Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2006. ISBN 0-8071-3149-0. pp. 141–142

ReferencesEdit

  • Eicher, John H., and David J. Eicher. Civil War High Commands. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2001. ISBN 0-8047-3641-3.
  • Warner, Ezra J., Generals in Blue: Lives of the Union Commanders, Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2006. ISBN 0-8071-3149-0.