John G. Barnard

John G. Barnard

Infobox Military Person
name=John G. Barnard
born= birth date|1815|5|19
died= death date and age|1882|5|14|1815|5|19
placeofbirth=Sheffield, Massachusetts
placeofdeath=Detroit, Michigan
placeofburial=Barnard Cemetery, Sheffield, Massachusetts

caption=John G. Barnard
allegiance=United States of America
branch= United States Army
rank=Brevet Major General
commands=Chief Engineer, Army of the Potomac
battles= Mexican-American War American Civil War

John Gross Barnard (May 19, 1815 – May 14, 1882) was a career engineering officer in the U.S. Army, serving as the Superintendent of the United States Military Academy and then as a general in the Union Army during the American Civil War. He served as Chief Engineer of the Army of the Potomac, 1861 to 1862, Chief Engineer of the Department of Washington from 1861 to 1864, and as Chief Engineer of the armies in the field from 1864 to 1865.

Early life and career

John G. Barnard was born into a large and gifted family in Sheffield, Massachusetts. His brother, Frederick Augustus Porter Barnard was a longtime educator and president of Columbia University and namesake of Barnard College in New York City. Both John and Frederick as well as most members of his family suffered from hereditary form of deafness which intensified in later years. He graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, in 1833, second in a class of forty-three cadets. As one of the top graduating members of his class, he was posted as a Second Lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers, embarking on a 48-year career in that branch.

Throughout his career, he served on many garrison and fortification details, most notably participating in the construction for defenses at Fort Columbus/Fort Jay, Fort Hamilton and Fort Wadsworth in New York City, New Orleans, and Pensacola. During the Mexican-American War, he headed the construction of American defenses at the captured Mexican port of Tampico, ensuring that city's safety as a vital supply line for American forces advancing on Mexico City.

From 1855 through 1856, Barnard served as the Superintendent of the United States Military Academy, succeeding Robert E. Lee.

Civil War

With the outbreak of the Civil War, Gen. Winfield Scott, bearing in mind Barnard's success at defending his Tampico-based supply lines during the Mexican-American War, assigned Brigadier General Barnard to the Department of Washington, the organization in charge of defending the capital of the United States. On April 28, 1861, Col. Joseph K. Mansfield, the department commander, a former engineer himself, attached Barnard to his headquarters as chief engineer. [General Orders No. 11, Department Of Washington, April 28, 1861.]

When the Union Army moved into Northern Virginia on May 24, 1861, Barnard oversaw the erection of fortifications on the Arlington hills. He also accompanied the Army to Manassas in July 1861 and was present at the Union defeat in the First Battle of Bull Run. Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan assumed command of the troops around Washington, D.C. at the end of July. On August 17, all the troops in the vicinity of Washington became part of the Army of the Potomac and three days later, General Orders No. 1, Army of the Potomac, stipulated that Barnard was attached to the staff as chief engineer. As McClellan formulated his thoughts for fortifications around Washington, D.C., Barnard planned, designed and oversaw their construction.

In Barnard's "A Report on the Defenses of Washington", published after the Civil War, he commented on the complexity and everchanging nature of the project:

From a few isolated works covering bridges or commanding a few especially important points, was developed a connected system of fortification by which every prominent point, at intervals of 800 to 1,000 yards, was occupied by an inclosed field-fort every important approach or depression of ground, unseen from the forts, swept by a battery for field-guns, and the whole connected by rifle-trenches which were in fact lines of infantry parapet, furnishing emplacement for two ranks of men and affording covered communication along the line, while roads were opened wherever necessary, so that troops and artillery could be moved rapidly from one point of the immense periphery to another, or under cover, from point to point along the line. ["A Report on the Defenses of Washington," Barnard, John G. 1871]

In 1864, he was appointed Chief Engineer of the armies in the field, and was on the staff of General Ulysses S. Grant in the Richmond campaign. He was breveted as a major general at the end of the Civil War for "gallant and meritorious services in the field," and was promoted to Chief Engineer of the Regular Army on December 28, 1865.

Postbellum career

Although he was promoted to the rank of Colonel of Engineers (this rank being separate from his regular military rank) upon General Joseph Totten's death, he asked that his nomination for Chief of Engineers (US Army Corps of Engineers) be withdrawn. He served out his career as Chief Regular Army Engineer until his retirement in 1881.

Brevet Major General Barnard died in Detroit, Michigan, on May 14, 1882.

ee also

* List of American Civil War generals


External links

* [ National Park Service biography of Gen. Barnard]

NAME= Barnard, John G.
DATE OF BIRTH= May 19, 1815
PLACE OF BIRTH= Sheffield, Massachusetts
DATE OF DEATH= May 14, 1882
PLACE OF DEATH= Detroit, Michigan

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