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For the English footballer of the same name, see Freddie Steele (footballer).
Frederick Steele
Personal Information
Born: January 14, 1819(1819-01-14)
Place of Birth: {{{place of birth}}}
Died: January 19, 1868 (aged 49)
Place of Death: {{{place of death}}}
Nickname: {{{nickname}}}
Birth Name: {{{birth name}}}
Other Information
Allegiance: United States of America
Participation(s): {{{participations}}}
Branch: United States Army
Union Army
Service Years: {{{service years}}}
Rank: Major General
Service number : {{{servicenumber}}}
Battles: Mexican-American War
American Civil War
Other work: {{{otherwork}}}

Frederick Steele (January 14, 1819 – January 19, 1868) was a career military officer in the United States Army, serving as a major general in the Union Army during the American Civil War. He was most noted for his successful campaign to retake much of secessionist Arkansas for the Union cause.

Early life[]

Steele was born in Delhi, New York. He was an 1843 graduate of West Point, and later served in the Mexican-American War, where he participated in many engagements. Steele was meritoriously mentioned for distinguished bravery, and was promoted to first lieutenant in June 1848. He served in California until 1853, and then principally in Minnesota Territory, Kansas Territory, and Nebraska Territory until the Civil War, receiving his captain's commission on February 5, 1855.

Civil War[]

On May 14, 1861, Steele was appointed major in the 11th U.S. Infantry and fought at the Battle of Wilson's Creek. On September 23, 1861, he became colonel of the 8th Iowa Infantry. On January 29, 1862, Steele was appointed brigadier general of U.S. volunteers. He commanded the District of Southeast Missouri, but following the Union victory at the Battle of Pea Ridge he took command of the 1st Division in the Army of the Southwest and briefly commanded the army from August 29 to October 7, 1862. In April 1863 he was promoted to major general of volunteers, effective November 29, 1862.

Steele's division was transferred to the Army of the Tennessee becoming the 11th Division in the XIII Corps. He fought at the Battle of Chickasaw Bayou in December 1862 and in the Battle of Arkansas Post in January 1863. His division was renamed the 1st Division in Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman's XV Corps during the Siege of Vicksburg.

On August 26, 1863, after the fall of Vicksburg, Steele received a brevet promotion to colonel in the U.S. Army. On July 27, 1863, he was placed in command of the Army of Arkansas. His army successfully captured Confederate-held Little Rock in September 1863 and subsequently pushed official Union boundaries south through the state. He was assigned command of VII Corps in the Department of Arkansas in the Trans-Mississippi Theater, holding command from January 6, 1864, to December 22, 1864. On March 23, 1864, Steele began his march with eight thousand soldiers from Little Rock south to Arkadelphia, where he was joined by John M. Thayer, who commanded another four thousand troops.[1] Steele then led the ill-fated Camden Expedition in the spring of 1864, considered by many in the War Department as the greatest Federal military disaster of the Civil War in Arkansas.

Steele led a force of African American soldiers, officially designated the "Column from Pensacola", in Maj. Gen. Edward Canby's Army of West Mississippi. His troops fought at the battles of Spanish Fort and Fort Blakely. At the close of the war, he received the brevet rank of brigadier general, regular army, for services in the capture of Little Rock, and that of major general for services during the war.

Postbellum career[]

Steele was transferred to Texas in June 1865 and placed in command of United States forces along the Rio Grande. He subsequently commanded the Department of the Columbia from December 1865 until November 1867, when he took a leave of absence for health reasons. He died two months later in San Mateo, California.

A monument to Steele stands on the Vicksburg National Military Park.

See also[]

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32x28px United States Army portal
32x28px American Civil War portal


  1. John D. Winters, The Civil War in Louisiana, Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1963, ISBN 0-8071-0834-0, pp. 325, 334, 336
  • Template:Appletons

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