James B. McPherson 1828–1864
Born near Clyde, Ohio
A West Point–trained engineer, James B. McPherson began his Civil War service overseeing harbor fortifications in Boston. By the autumn of 1861, however, he had secured field duty in Missouri as an aide-de-camp and assistant engineer to General Henry W. Halleck. The following February, McPherson came under General Ulysses S. Grant’s command. He served ably as Grant’s chief engineer during the campaign against Forts Henry and Donelson, at the Battle of Shiloh, and in action at Corinth, Mississippi. Promoted rapidly to the rank of major general, McPherson became one of the youngest corps commanders in the Union army when Grant gave him charge of the Seventeenth Corps in January 1863. After distinguishing himself at Vicksburg and later assuming command of the Army of Tennessee, McPherson lost his life in a skirmish on July 22, 1864, while supporting General William T. Sherman’s army in the Battle of Atlanta.