Public Men of To-day: Being Biographies of the President and Vice President of the United States, each member of the Cabinet, the United States Senators and the members of the House of Representatives of the Forty-Seventh Congress, the Chief Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States and the governors of the several states

by Phineas Camp Headley

S. S. Scranton & Company, 1882, 799 pages

 available on GoogleBooks at   Public Men of To-day

I believe this is a 'vanity press' publication and therefore General or his family gave the information so it should be read with that in mind.  Enjoy but beware - - - Polly

pages 550-554  General William S. Rosecrans



William Starke Rosecrans, of San Francisco, who represents the First Congressional District of California in the Congress of the United States, was born in Berkshire Township (should be Kingston), Delaware County, Ohio, on the 6th of September, 1819.  His paternal ancestry was of Dutch origin.  The Hudson Rover Rosecrans family, from which he sprang, emigrated from Holland about the year 1746, and settled in the province of New Netherlands.  Many of their descendants are to be found to this day in Columbia, Duchess, Orange and adjacent counties of New York.  The General's grandfather, Daniel Rosecrans, removed at the age if twenty one from New York to Luzerne County, Pennsylvania.  Here he married Thankful Wilcox who was of the old Wilcox and Crandall families of Connecticut and Rhode Island.   The lands chosen lay in Sunbury and Berkshire Townships, Delaware County, and thither the colonists migrated in the year 1808.
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Crandall Rosecrans, son of Daniel, was born at Wilkesbarre, Pennsylvania, in 1794, and at the age of fourteen removed with his parents to Ohio. When only nineteen years old he served as Adjutant of the Columbus Light Horse Battalion, under General Harrison, in the war of 1812.  In 1816 he married Jemima Hopkins, who was also a native of Wilkesbarre. Miss Hopkin's mother, the General's maternal grandmother was a Nesbit;  her husband was of New England origin and served as a Lieutenant in the Pennsylvania line of the Continental army, winning distinction as a brave soldier.  Mrs. Hopkins was one of the few adults who survived the celebrated Wyoming massacre.  A friendly Tory gave two hours' warning, and, with her two children, she fled on foot sixty miles through the wilderness to Easton, Pennsylvania. Lt. Hopkins died sometime after the close of the was, and his widow, with her family of nine children formed a part of the Pennsylvania colony which went to Ohio in 1808.  Crandall Rosecrans, the General's father was for many years a successful merchant and manufacturer of potash at Homer, Licking County, Ohio near which place he died in  August 1849.  He bore the title of captain, having for a long time commanded the volunteer militia company.  He was a man of great energy and highly respected for sterling integrity and unostentatious but effective charity.  His widow survived him 11 years dying near Sigourney, Iowa in July 1861.  She was the mother if five sons, of whom the eldest died in infancy; the second, is the subject of this sketch; the third, Charles, was for years a farmer in Iowa, and died during the period of the Civil War;  the fourth, Henry C., is engaged in farming and general business near Sigourney, Iowa; and  the fifth and youngest, Sylvester H., who died in 1878, attained high rank in the Catholic priesthood, and a reputation as an accomplished scholar.  He was President of St. Mary's College, Ohio, and afterwards Bishop of the Diocese of Columbus, Ohio and coadjutor of Archbishop Purcell of Cincinnati.                           Return to Menu

A patriotic sentiment, which has always characterized the Rosecrans family, led Crandall Rosecrans to honor General John Starke, of Revolutionary fame, in giving a name to his second son.  William Starke Rosecrans was early trained to habits if industry and impressed with the necessity of strict fidelity to truth and the avoidance of bad associations.  His primary education was acquired in the district schools of Homer, Licking CO., Ohio which , in those days, were in session only during a term of three winter months in the year.  Here he acquired the English rudiments and a smattering of Latin and algebra.  He early manifested a remarkable mathematical and philosophical turn of mind.  His father intended him to follow the mercantile pursuits, and so obtained for  him employment as a clerk in the store of a merchant in Utica, Ohio.  But young Rosecrans had higher aspirations.  He yearned or a military education,  procuring the co-operation of his father in attaining his ambition, and the recommendation of Senator William Allen and other influential men, he made application for a cadetship at West Point.  Discerning in the youth the promise of honorable service to his country, General Lewis Cass, the Secretary of War, granted the coveted appointment, and at the age if 18 young Rosecrans became a member of the class entering West Point in June 1838.                                                   

The class numbered 112 members if whom 56 were graduated.  Among his classmates were several who afterwards became famous men namely:  Major-General Newton, General B.S. Alexander and Confederate Generals Gustavus W. Smith, and Alexander P. Stuart.  Among his contemporaries at West Point were the youths subsequently known to history as Generals Hancock, Thomas, Wright Whipple, McClellan, W.F. ("Baldy") Smith, Frits-John Porter and W. B. Franklin.                                                                                   

Rosecrans name always appeared on the class register among  "the first five."  He was distinguished in Mathematics, physics, chemistry, geology, mineralogy, and military art and science, and was appointed "Cadet Professor" of mathematics.  On being graduated with the highest honors, he was recommended for promotion in all corps and chose that of the United States Engineers, which he enters as Brevet Second Lieutenant in July 1842.  His first year's service was under Colonel R. E. DeRussy at Fortress Monroe, Virginia.                     Return to Menu

 On the 34th of August 1843, he was married at St. John's Episcopal Chapel, New York, to Ann Eliza Hegeman, daughter if Judge Hegeman, deceased.  The Hegeman family was of ancient and honorable Knickerbocker lineage.                                                    Return to Menu

 Soon afterwards he was ordered to West Point as Acting Assistant-Professor of Military and Civil Engineering.  In 1844-45 he was detailed to assist in the Department of Natural and Experimental Philosophy.  In 1845-47 he served as Assistant Professor of Civil and Military Engineering, and during the last -names year, in addition to this duty, was charged with the construction of the new Cadet barracks, and the duties of Acting Post Commissary and Quartermaster.  In all the qualities which go to make up an instructor, Lieutenant Rosecrans was conspicuously valuable.  In 1847 he was placed in charge of the fortifications and engineering works at Newport, R.I.  During the five years spent at this post. he invented and submitted to the chief of Engineering Corps, and had approved by the board of engineering officers, consisting of Colonel DeRussy, Major R., Delafield, and Captain (afterwards Confederate Commander-in-Chief) Robert E. Lee, a new system of permanent quarters, the leading principles of which have since been adopted throughout the quartermaster service.  In April 1852, we was ordered to Washington to report ot the Secretary of Navy for special duty.  He was assigned as Civil and Constructing Engineer at the Washington Navy Yard, where he remained  until impaired health compelled him to relinquish that service.  He left Washington on "sick leave" and repaired to Cincinnati, whence he resigned his commission as an officer of the army.  When sufficiently restored to health, he engaged in works of civil engineering and architecture until 1858, when he established a coal-oil refinery, and was a successful pioneer in refining of petroleum.     
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With a wife and four children, and a business just entering on a career of prosperity, he felt impelled by stern duty, on the breaking out of the civil war, in April 1861, to offer his services to his country, and relinquishing his occupation, he assisted in organizing the Home Guards of Cincinnati, and laid out Camp Dennison while acting merely in the capacity of a private citizen.  About this time the Legislature of Ohio created the office of Chief Engineer of the State, with the rank of Colonel and the emoluments of Colonel of Engineers, U. S. A.  Governor Dennision tendered the lucrative commission to Rosecrans, but, to his surprise, the unselfish reply came:

I thank you , Governor; it would be very gratifying to me to stay at home with my family, but our people must go to the front with or without leaders, and fight and die for the country.  I cannot stay at home and see this.  Duty demands that I should offer my military acquirements to aid in diminishing the loss of life.  I must go with our people to the front.

Ten days later the Governor sent to Rosecrans the commission of Colonel of the Twenty-third Ohio volunteer infantry.  Colonel Rosecrans repaired to Columbus, where his regiment was assembled, names the ground of its encampment after his illustrious friend Secretary Chase, and was busily engages in organizing and instructing his command, having for Lieutenant-Colonel Stanley Mathews, and for Major, Rutherford B. Hayes, when a commission arrived from the War Department, appointing him a Brigadier-General in the regular army, to which he had been recommended by General Winfield Scott, General J, G, Totten - his old Chief of the Engineering Corps -- Secretary Chase and others.  The day after its acceptance General Rosecrans was ordered by General McClellan to report for duty in Cincinnati, and thence he went with McClellan to west Virginia, where he was placed in command of a provisional brigade.

It was in the field of West Virginia that General Rosecrans gave a foretaste if those shining qualities, that fertile invention, that readiness in resource, that promptness and dash at the moment for action, which, in subsequent years, wrought such splendid results.

In West Virginia Gen. Rosecrans won the battle of Rich Mountain, which established the supremacy of the Union throughout that region.  In 1861-2 he was in command of the Department of the Ohio, embracing the States if Ohio Michigan, Indiana and West Virginia, during which time west Virginia was established as a State and relieved of guerilla warfare, for which the States of Ohio and West Virginia, through their Legislatures, tendered him their unanimous vote of thanks.  He was then appointed to succeed General Pope in command of the small army of the Mississippi, and was victor of the battle of Iuka, September 19, 1862.  In August prior to that battle he was commissioned Major-General of Volunteers, which commission was subsequently ante-dated "March 19, 1862."  On the 3d and 4th of October, 1862, he gained the battle of Corinth, and pursued the enemy until recalled by General Grant, who was at Jackson, Tenn., seventy-five miles distant.  October 19th, of the same year, he was relieved of the command of that district and ordered to Cincinnati, and on the 27th of that month was placed in command of the Fourteenth Army Corps., and also of the Department of the Cumberland, where he reorganized that command, repaired the Louisville & Nashville railroad, fortified Nashville as a primary depot, and won the battle of Stone River, on December 30, 1862, and January 1, 1863, He fortified Murfreesboro as a secondary depot; Made the campaign of Tullahoma from June 23rd to July 4th of that year, driving the Confederate army of the Mississippi out of its strongly-entrenched camps across the Tennessee river into Georgia;  rebuilt railroads and bridges; crossed the Cumberland Mountains, fought the battle of Chickamauga, September 19 and 20, 1863, and took and help Chattanooga.  October 19th, following, he was ordered to Cincinnati to await orders.  Shortly after his arrival there he presided over the Great Western Sanitary Fair, which netted $325,000 for the benefit of the Union cause.  On January 28, 1864, he took command of the Department of Missouri, repelled the invasion of  General Price, and secured order and a fair election.
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In the summer of 1864 leading members of the Republican National Convention held in Baltimore, through the medium of James Garfield made a tender to Rosecrans of the Vice-Presidential nomination on the ticket headed by Abraham Lincoln.  After mature consideration, Rosecrans telegraphed the following reply:

To General Garfield, Baltimore:
    Nothing but the conviction that it was a high public duty could induce me to become a candidate for any political office.  In this case I have no grounds upon which to base a conviction.  The Convention must therefore discharge its high and responsible duties, in view of the exigencies of the Nation, according to its judgment and conscience, leaving me to the exercise of mine when I shall know its decision.
                                                                                                         W. S. Rosecrans

The message was intercepted by Secretary Stanton after passing the Pittsburg relay, and never reached its destination.  At the close of the Presidential campaign Rosecrans was relieved of his command, and returned to Cincinnati, awaiting orders.  Thus ended his active share in the suppression of the rebellion.                                                                      Return to Menu

In 1867 he resigned his commission and went to California.  In 1867 he was offered the Directorship of the Branch Mint at San Francisco, but declined to accept it.  In the same  year her was tendered the nomination for Governor of California by the Democratic party if that State, but for urgent reasons declined the honor.  The only civil office he has ever held prior to entering Congress was that of the Minister to Mexico, conferred upon him, wholly unsolicited, by President Johnson in 1868. 

His service in Mexico covered the period from November, 1868, to July, 1869.  In 1869, immediately after his return from Mexico, the democracy of Ohio unanimously tendered him the nomination for Governor of that State, which despite his long absence, was still proud to claim him as a citizen.                                                                                          Return to Menu               

General Rosecrans during the same year went back once more to the East for the purpose of joining his family and bringing them to the new place of residence he had chosen.  He was absent about eighteen months, and upon his return entered actively upon the mercantile and industrial pursuits in which he is at present engaged.

General Rosecrans was elected to the Forty-seventh Congress, as a Democrat, by a vote of 21,005 against 19,496 for his Republican opponent.

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