Davidson, John Wynn

Rank: Colonel (5th Colonel of the Regiment)

Unit: 2d Cavalry

Commissioned: United States Military Academy class of 1845 in Appointed at Large

Date of birth: 18 Aug 1824

Hometown: Virginia

Married: Clara B. McGunnegle Davidson

Campaign: Plains Indian War (post Civil War)

Died: 26 June 1881

Age at death: 58

Cause of death: Fall from horse

Location of fatality: Saint Paul, Minnesota

Place of interment: Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia

Notes: 5th Colonel of the Regiment. Civil War Union Brigadier General. Born at Fairfax County, Virginia, he came from a military family, as his grandfather had been a General in the Revolutionary War, and his father, a graduate of the United States Military Academy in 1815, died in the service of his country in 1840. He graduated from West Point in 1845, placing 27th in a class of 41 that included future Union Generals Fitz John Porter, Gordon Granger and David Russell, as well as future Confederate Generals William Whiting, Edmund Kirby Smith and Bernard E. Bee. He was posted to the Dragoons and was wounded in a fight with a band of Apaches at Cienequilla, New Mexico, on March 30, 1854. At the outbreak of the Civil War he was serving in California and remained with the Union when his state seceded. Heading east, he took command of a brigade near Washington D.C. He was promoted to Brigadier General, US Volunteers in February 1862, and led his brigade in the Army of the Potomac’s IV and later in the VI Corps during the Spring 1862 Peninsular Campaign. During the June Battle of the Seven Days he earned Regular Army brevets for the Battles of Gaines’ Mill and Golding’s Farm. Transferred to Missouri that summer, he commanded the District of St. Louis. He participated in the operations that resulted in the capture of Little Rock, Arkansas and received a brevet of Brigadier General, US Regular Army. He finished the war in charge at Natchez, Mississippi, and was brevetted Major General in both the Regular and Volunteer services for his war record. Mustered out of the volunteers on January 15, 1866, he remained on active duty, being commissioned Lieutenant Colonel and assigned to the 10th United States Cavalry. Since the regiment consisted of black buffalo soldiers, he soon acquired the nickname “Black Jack.” From 1868 until 1871, he was a professor of military science-tactics at the Kansas Agricultural College. With the outbreak of the Red River War, he was called into action in the Texas Panhandle in search of Indians. Despite suffering several hardships during the two month pursuit, he and his subordinates destroyed several Indian camps and captured nearly 400 Indians and over 2,000 of their horses before returning to Fort Sill. In March 1875 he relinquished regimental command, and was transferred to Fort Griffin in Shackelford County, Texas. In December 1876 he became commander at Fort Richardson until its abandonment in 1878, then once more at Fort Sill. In January 1879 he was sent to command the garrison at Fort Elliott. Promoted to Colonel of the 2nd United States Cavalry on June 25, he took command of the regiment at Fort Custer, Montana. On February 8, 1881, he was seriously injured during an inspection tour when his horse slipped on ice and fell on top of him. He died at St. Paul, Minnesota, on June 26, 1881. He was originally buried in the Bellefontaine Cemetery in St. Louis, Missouri, however his remains were reinterred in Arlington in 1911.
27th in his class of 41 graduated cadets. 5th Colonel of the Regiment. Bvt. Second Lieut., 1st Dragoons, July 1, 1845. Served: on frontier duty at Ft. Leavenworth, Kan., 1845‑46, and Ft. Crawford, Wis., 1846; in the War with Mexico, 1846‑48, with the (Second Lieut., 1st Dragoons, Apr. 21, 1846) “Army of the West,” being engaged in the Combat of San Pasqual, Cal., December. 6, 1846, Passage of the San Gabriel River, Jan. 8, 1847, and Skirmish on the Plains of Mesa, Jan. 9, 1847; on frontier duty at Los Angeles, Cal., 1848‑49, Sonoma, Cal., 1849‑50, and Scouting, 1850, (First Lieut., 1st Dragoons, Jan. 8, 1848) being engaged in the Action at Clear Lake, May 15, 1850, on Russian River, Cal., 1850, and on Sacramento River, Cal., 1850; on Recruiting service, 1850; as Quartermaster, 1st Dragoons, December. 1, 1850, to Jan. 4, 1851, and Adjutant, Jan. 4 to Sep. 30, 1851; in garrison at Jefferson Barracks, Mo., 1851; and on frontier duty at Ft. Leavenworth, Kan., 1851, Ft. Snelling, Min., 1851‑53, Cantonment Burgwin, N. M., 1853‑54, Scouting, 1854, being in command against Jicarilla Apache Indians, in the Action of Cieneguilla, N. M., Mar. 30, 1854, where he was wounded, Cantonment Burgwin, N. M., 1854, Scouting, 1854, being engaged in the Skirmish of Fisher’s Peak, N. M., June 5, 1854, Rayado, N. M., 1854, Santa Fé, N. M., 1854, Ft. Thorn, N. M., Ft. Fillmore, N. M., 1855, Ft. Stanton, N. M., 1855, Ft. Fillmore, N. M., 1855‑56, Ft. Stanton, N. M., 1856, in command of (Captain, 1st Dragoons, Jan. 20, 1855) Expedition to open route from Ft. Stanton, N. M., to Pecos River, Tex., 1856, Ft. Buchanan, N. M., 1857, Scouting, 1857‑58, March to Ft. Tejon, Cal., 1858‑59, in command of Expedition to explore Owen Lake and River, 1859, Ft. Tejon, Cal., 1859, 1859‑60, conducting Recruits to California, 1860‑61, and Ft. Tejon, Cal., 1861. Served during the Rebellion of the Seceding States, 1861‑66: in the Defenses of Washington, D. C., Jan., 1861, to February., 1862; in the Virginia (Major, 2d Cavalry, Nov. 14, 1861) (Brig.‑General, U. S. Volunteers, February. 3, 1862) Peninsular Campaign (Army of the Potomac), Mar. to July, 1862, being engaged in the Action of Lee’s Mills, Apr. 5, 1862, Action of Mechanicsville, May 24, 1862, Battle of Gaines’s Mill, June 27, 1862, (Bvt. Lieut.‑Col., June 27, 1862, for Gallant and Meritorious Services at the Battle of Gaines’s Mill, Va.) Action of Golding’s Farm, June 28, 1862, Battle of Savage Station, (Bvt. Colonel, June 28, 1862, for Gallant and Meritorious Services at the Battle of Golding’s Farm, Va.) June 29, 1862, and Battle of Glendale, June 30, 1862; in command of St. Louis District of Missouri, Aug. 6 to Nov. 13, 1862, of the Army of Southeast Missouri, destined to move against Little Rock, Nov. 13, 1862, to February. 23, 1863, of the St. Louis District of Missouri, February. 23 to June 6, 1863, and directing the movements of the troops of the District at Pilot Knob, Fredericktown, and Cape Girardeau, and pursuit of the enemy during Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Marmaduke’s raid into Missouri, Apr., 1863; in movement upon Little Rock, Ark., in command of Cavalry Division, June 6 to Sep. 10, 1863, being engaged in the Action of Brownsville, Ark. (in command), Aug. 25, 1863, Assault and Capture of Bayou Metre, Ark. (in command), Aug. 27, 1863, Action of Ashley’s Mills, Ark. (in command), Aug. 29, 1863, and Action of Little Rock, Ark. Sep. 10, 1863; in charge of the West Division Cavalry Bureau, Mar. 11 to June, 1864; as Chief of Cavalry, Military Division of West Mississippi, June 26, 1864, being in command of Cavalry Expedition from Baton Rouge to Pascagoula, Nov. 24, 1864; in command of 2d (Bvt. Brig.‑General, U. S. Army, Mar. 13, 1865, for Gallant and Meritorious Services at the Capture of Little Rock, Ark.) (Bvt. Maj.‑General, U. S. Volunteers, Mar. 13, 1865, for Gallant and Meritorious Services during the Rebellion) (Bvt. Maj.‑General, U. S. Army, Mar. 13, 1865, for Gallant and Meritorious Services in the Field during the Rebellion) Cavalry, Mar. 6 to June 1, 1866, at Ft. Riley, Kan.; on tour of inspection (Mustered out of Volunteer Service, Jan. 15, 1866) in the Department of Missouri, June 1 to Sep. 2, 1866; and in command of 2d Cavalry, Sep. 2 to Nov. 1, 1866, at Ft. Riley, Kan. Lieut.‑Colonel, 10th Cavalry, December. 1, 1866. Served: as Acting Inspector-General of the Department of the Missouri, Nov. 1, 1866, to December. 28, 1867; as Professor of Military Science and Tactics at the State Agricultural College of Kansas, Jan., 1868, to Jan. 1, 1871; in command of Camp Supply, I. T., February. 5, 1871, to February. 10, 1873, of regiment and Ft. Gibson, I. T., February. 19 to Apr. 21, 1873, of Ft. Sill, I. T., May 4, 1873, to Mar. 27, 1875, of Expedition in the field, Sep. 10 to Oct. 19, 1874, and of Ft. Griffin, Tex., Apr. 7 to p232 Aug. 5, 1875; on leave of absence, Aug. 5, 1875, to December. 6, 1876; in command of Ft. Richardson, Tex., December. 20, 1876, to Jan. 19, 1878, of the District of Upper Brazos, May 12, 1877, to Jan. 19, 1878, of Ft. Sill, I. T., Jan. 27, 1878, to February. 27, 1879, and Ft. Elliott, Tex., (Colonel, 2d Cavalry, Mar. 20, 1879) to June 26, 1879; before Court Martial and on Court Martial duty to December. 3, 1879; in command of regiment, District of the Yellowstone, and post of Ft. Custer, Mon., to May 21, 1881; and sick and on leave due to horse falling on him during inspection of his regiment, to June 26, 1881.


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