The Civil War, Day by Day

Gen. Oliver Howard

General Oliver Howard, USA, Dies

Howard had kept one division in reserve on the high ground a half mile south of town known as Cemetery Hill, because the town burial ground was located there. Howard fortified the hill with artillery and rifle pits, occupied by his reserve division, as a rallying point for Union troops if they were driven back - a foresighted action for which Howard later received the official Thanks of Congress. It remains unrecorded whether Howard or anyone else appreciated the sign on the cemetery gate: “All persons found using firearms in these grounds will be prosecuted with the utmost rigor of the law.”

At the end of the war, Howard was named head of the newly established Freedmen’s Bureau, where he proved a dedicated administrator. During his term of office he founded the first college for African-Americans, which was named Howard University in his honor. General Howard subsequently served as superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy and as commander of the Military Department of the East, retiring in 1894. A year before he stepped down, he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his services at the Battle of Fair Oaks in 1862. Oliver Howard died at his home in Burlington, Vermont, on October 26, 1909.

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All illustrations by Mort Künstler. Text by Michael Aubrecht, Dee Brown, Henry Steele Commager, Rod Gragg, Mort Künstler, Edward Lengel, James McPherson, and James I. Robertson, Jr. - Copyright © 2001-2019. All Rights Reserved. No part of the contents of this web site may be reproduced or utilized in any form by any means without written consent of the artist.