One-tank road trips: Arlington National Cemetery – Part 3
George R. Crook was a career U.S. Army soldier who led a division of the IX Corps in the Maryland Campaign and other battles. He also is remembered for his 1876 defeat at the hands of Crazy Horse’s Sioux at the Battle of the Rosebud just prior to the debacle at Little Bighorn. Born near Dayton, Ohio, Crook was a West Point graduate and had been wounded by Indians in California in 1857. He married a Virginia girl. At the start of the Civil ar, he was colonel of the 36th Ohio and was later a brigade commander. Among his subordinates was future President Rutherford B. Hayes. Confederate partisans captured Crook in a daring raid in 1865 and held him as a prisoner-of-war. He finished the war commanding a cavalry division in the Army of the Potomac. After the war, he fought the Snakes in Oregon, the Apaches in Arizona, and the Sioux in Montana. He later served in Nebraska and again in Arizona before dying while on duty in Chicago.
John W. Davidson was a Virginian who remained loyal to the Union. The West Point graduate fought in the Mexican War and then led the 1st Cavalry in a stunning defeat at the hands of the Apaches that resulted in a court of inquiry for the young lieutenant. He was exonerated and praised by the court for his actions. He commanded a fort in California when the Civil War began, but soon came east to lead a brigade in the Army of the Potomac. He fought in the Peninsula Campaign and then was transferred west to command the District of St. Louis. He later led a division in the Army of Arkansas and then the cavalry of the Gulf Coast region. After the war he was the lieutenant colonel of the 10th U.S. Cavalry, a “Buffalo Soldier” regiment. He then served in Montana before dying in St. Paul, Minnesota, of serious injuries suffered during an inspection tour.
John Gibbon was yet another Civil War general who gained quite a reputation fighting Indians out west after the war. Born in greater Philadelphia in 1827, he spent his teenage years in North Carolina after his father accepted a job as chief assayer of the U.S. Mint in Charlotte. He graduated from West Point, served in the Mexican War, and then fought Seminoles in Florida before returning to West Point as an artillery instructor. He was serving in Utah when the Civil War started. Despite his father’s slaveholding and other family members’ loyalty to the Confederacy (including first cousin J. Johnston Pettigrew) Gibbon remained loyal. The artillerist took command of what became famed under his leadership as the Iron Brigade of the West. He then commanded a division at Fredericksburg and Gettysburg, where his men played a large role in repulsing Pickett’s Charge. After the war he fought the Sioux, and it was Gibbon’s column that rescued Major Marcus Reno and Captain Frederick W. Benteen and the survivors of Custer’s 7th Cavalry following the Battle of Little Bighorn.
John Schofield, now largely forgotten by the general public, in his time was one of the most important Union generals in the entire Western Theater of the Civil War and received the Medal of Honor for gallantry. After the war, he was the U.S. Secretary of War; before it he was a professor at West Point and Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. He won the Medal of Honor for his valor at the Battle of Wilson’s Creek in 1862. He led a brigade and then a division in the Army of the Cumberland. In 1864, he took command of the Army of the Ohio and played a prominent role in several battles in the Atlanta Campaign. He and his men were transferred to Tennessee where they helped crush a major Confederate thrust by John Bell Hood’s Army of Tennessee, essentially ending the war in that region. He rejoined William T. Sherman for the Carolinas Campaign in 1865. After the war he was an envoy to France and then the military Governor of Virginia. From 1868-69, he was President Andrew Johnson’s Secretary of War. He later recommended that the Navy establish a base in Pearl Harbor during an inspection tour of Hawaii. He then supervised West Point, and was the commanding general of all of the armies of the United States from 1888 until his retirement in 1895. Schofield died in Florida. Schofield Barracks in Pearl Harbor is named in his honor.