Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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SCHOFIELD, John McAllister, soldier, born in Chautauqua county, New York, 29 September, 1831. He was graduated at the United States military academy in 1853, in the same class with Philip H. Sheridan, James B McPherson, and John B. Hood. He was assigned to the 1st regiment of artillery and served m garrison in South Carolina and Florida in 1853-'5, and as assistant professor of natural philosophy at the United States military academy in 1855-'60, being commissioned 1st lieutenant, 31 August, 1855, and captain, 14 May, 1861. On his departure from West Point in 1860 he obtained leave of absence and filled the chair of professor of physics at Washington university, St. Louis, Missouri, until April, 1861. At the opening of the civil war he entered the volunteer service as major of the 1st Missouri volunteers, 26 April, 1861, and was appointed chief of staff to Gem Nathaniel Lyon, with whom he served during his campaign in Missouri, including the battle of Wilson's Creek, in which Lyon was killed. He was appointed brigadier-general of volunteers, 21 November, 1861, and a few days later brigadier-general of Missouri militia, and he was in command of the latter from November, 1861, till November, 1862, and of the Army of the Frontier and the district of southwest Missouri from that date to April, 1863. He was appointed major-general of volunteers, 29 November, 1862, and from May, 1863, till February, 1864, was in command of the Department of the Missouri. He was then assigned to the command of the Department and Army of the Ohio, and in April, 1864, joined the forces that were collecting near Chattanooga under General William T. Sherman for the invasion of Georgia. He took part in the Atlanta campaign, being engaged at the battles of Resaca, Dallas, Kenesaw Mountain, and Atlanta. When Sherman left Atlanta on his march to the sea, Schofield, with the 23d army corps, was ordered back to Tennessee to form part of the army that was then being organized under General George H. Thomas to resist Hood's invasion of Tennessee. Schofield retreated skillfully before the superior forces of Hood, inflicted a severe check upon him in a sharp battle at Franklin, 30 November, 1864, and joined Thomas at Nashville, 1 December, 1864. For his services at the battle of Franklin he was made brigadier-general and brevet major-general in the regular army. He took part in the battle of Nashville and the subsequent pursuit of Hood's army. In January, 1865, he was detached from Thomas's command and sent with the 23d army corps by rail to Washington, and thence by transports to the mouth of Cape Fear river, the entire movement of 15,000 men with their artillery and baggage over a distance of 1,800 miles being accomplished in seventeen days. He was assigned to the command of the Department of North Carolina on 9 February, 1865, captured Wilmington on 22 February, was engaged in the battle of Kinston, 8-10 March, and joined Sherman at Goldsboro on 22 March. He was present at the surrender of Johnston's army on 26 April, and was charged with the execution of the details of the capitulation. In June, 1865, he was sent to Europe on a special mission from the state department in regard to the French intervention in Mexico, and he remained until May, 1866. In August he was assigned to the command of the Department of the Potomac, with headquarters at Richmond. He was in charge of the 1st military district (the state of Virginia) from March, 1867, till May, 1868. General Schofield succeeded Edwin M. Stanton as secretary of war, 2 June, 1868, and remained in that office until the close of Johnson's administration, and under Grant until 12 March, 1869, when he was appointed major-general in the United States army and ordered to the Department of the Missouri. He was in command of the Division of the Pacific from 1870 till 1876 and again in 1882 and 1883, superintendent of the United States military academy from 1876 till 1881, and in command of the Division of the Missouri from 1883 till 1886, when he took charge of the Division of the Atlantic. He is at present (1888) the senior major-general of the United States army, and, under existing laws, will be retired, on reaching the age of sixty-four, in 1895. He was president of the board that adopted the present tactics for the army (1870), went on a special mission to the Hawaiian islands in 1873, and was president of the board of inquiry on the case of Fitz-John Porter in 1878.
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