Withers A. Burress

Lieutenant General Withers Alexander Burress (November 24, 1894 – June 13, 1977) was United States Army officer who was a graduate and commandant of the Virginia Military Institute as well as a combat commander in World War I and World War II.

Withers A. Burress
General Withers A Burress 1944.jpg
Born(1894-11-24)November 24, 1894
Richmond, Virginia
DiedJune 13, 1977(1977-06-13) (aged 82)
Arlington, Virginia
AllegianceUnited States
Service/branchUnited States Army
Years of service1916–1954
RankLieutenant General
Commands heldFirst United States Army
VII Corps
United States Army Infantry School
VI Corps
United States Constabulary
100th Infantry Division
Virginia Military Institute
Battles/warsWorld War I
World War II
AwardsArmy Distinguished Service Medal
Silver Star
Legion of Merit
Bronze Star Medal (2)

Early life and military careerEdit

Born in Richmond, Virginia on November 24, 1894, Burress attended and graduated from the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) in 1914. On November 30, 1916, he was commissioned a second lieutenant into the Infantry Branch of the United States Army. The American entry into World War I on April 6, 1917 saw him posted to the 23rd Infantry Regiment, which later became part of the newly created 2nd Infantry Division.

Burress saw combat on the Western Front with the regiment as a regimental operations officer, serving in nearly all of the division's major engagements. On November 2, 1919, a year after the war ended on November 11, 1918, he returned to the United States with the permanent rank of captain.

Between the warsEdit

Burress attended the United States Army Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia, the United States Army Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas and the United States Army War College at Washington Barracks in Washington, D.C.

From 1935 to 1940, Burress was a professor of military science and served as commandant of the Virginia Military Institute. In 1940, he was assigned to the War Department General Staff in Washington, D.C.

World War IIEdit

In 1941, with the United States entrance into World War II, Burress had returned to Fort Benning as Assistant Commandant of the United States Army Infantry School. In early 1942, he assigned to the Puerto Rican Department. He was given command of the 100th Infantry Division upon its mobilization at Fort Jackson, South Carolina in November 1942.

Burress continued in his command, taking the division to France in October 1944. As part of the Seventh United States Army's VI Corps, the division went into combat in the Vosges Mountains of northeastern France then through the Rhineland, Ardennes, and Central European campaigns until November, 1945, making Burress one of eleven generals to command one of the United States Army's 90 divisions from mobilization to the end of the war. On September 22, 1945, he was promoted to command of the VI Corps then served as Inspector General for European Command (EURCOM).


In May 1947, Burress was one of three commanders of the United States Constabulary, the post-war occupation police force in West Germany. In 1949, he returned to EURCOM as its intelligence director, then later took command of VII Corps. He then was the Commandant of the United States Army Infantry School.

In 1952, Burress's final posting was as commander of the First United States Army at Fort Jay at Governors Island in New York City, New York. In November 1954, he retired from the United States Army after 38 years of active duty. That same month, on November 19, 1954, he received a ticker-tape parade down the Canyon of Heroes on Broadway in Manhattan, New York.

Burress died in an Arlington, Virginia nursing home on June 13, 1977, aged 82, and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.[1]


  1. ^ Arlington National Cemetery [1] Accessed November 12, 2017


  • Hofmann, George F. (2007), "Cold War Mounted Warriors: U.S. Constabulary in Occupied Germany", Armor: Professional Journal of Mounted Warfare (published September–October 2007)
  • "Maj. Gen. W. A. Burress to Succeed Crittenberger as First Army Chief", New York Times, New York (published October 11, 1952), p. 1, 1952, retrieved 2008-02-24
  • "Gen. Withers A. Burress, Head Of First Army During 1950s", The Washington Post, Washington, D.C. (published June 14, 1977), pp. C6, 1977

External linksEdit

Military offices
Preceded by
William Morris
Commanding General VI Corps
Post deactivated
Preceded by
Ernest N. Harmon
United States Constabulary
Succeeded by
Louis Craig
Preceded by
John W. O'Daniel
Commandant of the United States Army Infantry School
Succeeded by
John H. Church
New command Commanding General VII Corps
Succeeded by
James M. Gavin
Preceded by
Willis D. Crittenberger
Commanding General First Army
Succeeded by
Thomas W. Herren