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Maj. Gen. John A. Dix
7th Regiment
New York State Militia
Civil War

John A. Dix John A. Dix-back view
Front view Back view

John Adams Dix
Residence was not listed; 62 years old.
Enlisted on 5/16/1861 as a Major General.
On 5/16/1861 he was commissioned into
US Volunteers General Staff
He Resigned on 11/30/1865
(Prior service in US Army from 05/10/1813 until 12/31/1828)
Other Information:
born 7/27/1798 in Boscawen, NH
died 4/21/1879 in New York City, NY
Buried: Trinity Church Cemetery, New York City, NY
Sources used by Historical Data Systems, Inc.:
- Dyer: A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion
- Heitman: Register of United States Army 1789-1903
- The Union Army
- Generals in Blue, Lives of the Union Commanders
- The Civil War Dictionary
- Research by Mark Davis
- Photo from Library of Congress collection
(c) Historical Data Systems, Inc. @

Dix, John A., major-general, was born in Boscawen, N. H.,
July 24, 1798, and received his early education at the academy
at Salisbury, at the Phillips Exeter academy, and the College
of Montreal. As a boy of fourteen he entered the war of 1812
as a cadet in his father's regiment the 14th U. S. infantry,
stationed at Baltimore, Md., where he also studied at St.
Mary's college. He was made ensign in 1813, took part in the
operations on the Canadian frontier, served subsequently as
adjutant to Col. Walback, and in 1819 was appointed aide-de-
camp to Gen. Jacob Brown, then in command of the northern
military department of the United States and stationed at
Brownsville, where he studied law. He was later prepared for
the bar in Washington, under William West, but did not
practice there, and in 1826 was sent as special messenger to
the court of Denmark. On his return he was stationed at Fort
Monroe, but ill health led him to practice law in Cooperstown,
N. Y., and he subsequently held various important positions in
that state. He was adjutant-general of the State of New York,
secretary of state and superintendent of public schools, a
prominent member of the "Albany Regency," and then, going out
of office in 1840 by the defeat of the Democratic party,
devoted himself to literary pursuits, being editor-in-chief
from 1841 to 1843 of "The Northern Light." He was elected
member of the state assembly in 1841, spent two years abroad,
was United States senator from New York from 1845 to 1849, and
in 1848, was the candidate on the Free-Soil Democratic ticket
for governor of New York, but was overwhelmingly defeated by
Hamilton Fish. He was appointed assistant treasurer at New
York by President Pierce, and was the choice of the president
as minister to France, but was never nominated, owing to
political opposition. He earnestly supported Buchanan and
Breckenridge in the canvass of 1856, and opposed the election
of Lincoln in 1860, voting for Breckenridge and Lane. He was
appointed by President Buchanan postmaster of New York to
succeed Isaac V. Fowler, defaulter, declined the portfolio of
war in that president's cabinet, and on Jan. 9, 1861, accepted
the place of secretary of the treasury. It was while in this
office that he sent the historic message to Lieut. Caldwell at
New Orleans, to arrest the commander of the revenue cutter,
adding to the message: "If anyone attempts to haul down the
American flag, shoot him on the spot." At the opening of the
Civil war he rendered effective service as president of the
Union defense committee in New York, from its formation in
1861, and on April 24 of that year presided over the great
meeting in Union Square which determined the attitude of the
metropolis and of the entire North in reference to supporting
the new administration. On the president's call for troops he
organized and sent to the front seventeen regiments, and was
appointed by Gov. Morgan one of the four major-generals of
state troops. In the following June he was commissioned by
President Lincoln major-general of volunteers, and was ordered
to Washington by Gen. Scott to take command of the Arlington
and Alexandria department. He was ousted from this post by
political intrigue and given command of the Department of
Maryland, which was then considered of comparatively minor
importance, but which became later the center and key of the
national position, and it was through Gen. Dix's energetic and
judicious measures that the city and state were prevented from
espousing the Confederate cause. He was sent from Baltimore
to Fortress Monroe in May, 1862, and in June, 1863, was in
command of a force of 10,000 men, in the movement up the York
river to the White House, where he succeeded in cutting off
Lee's line of communication with the Confederate capital, and
in destroying bridges capturing Confederate troops, including
Gen. W. H. F. Lee, and obtaining control of the whole country
between the Pamunkey and Rappahannock rivers. Then, when the
city of Richmond was almost within his grasp, he was ordered
to fall back and send all his available troops to the defense
of Washington and the Pennsylvania border, then threatened by
the combined Confederate forces. After the trouble connected
with the draft riots in New York, he was transferred to New
York, in command of the Department of the East, superseding
Gen. Wool, and he held this post until the close of the war,
his energetic action preventing further trouble in the
metropolis and restoring business confidence. He was the
first president of the Union Pacific railroad company, and in
1866 was appointed U. S. naval officer of New York, and in the
same year, minister to France. He returned to America on the
accession of President Grant in 1869, was elected governor of
New York in 1872, but in 1874, owing to political intrigue in
the Republican party, was defeated of reelection. He became
president of the Erie railroad company in 1872. Gen. Dix died
in New York city, April 21, 1879.

Source: The Union Army, vol. 8

New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs: Military History
Last modified: September 4, 2014

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