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John Milton Brannan
[[Image:150px|center|200px|border]]John M. Brannan
Personal Information
Born: July 1, 1819(1819-07-01)
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Died: Template:Death date
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Other Information
Allegiance: United States of America
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Branch: United States Army
Union Army
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Rank: Colonel, Regular Army
Brevet Major General, Union Army
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Battles: Mexican-American War
  • Battle of Cerro Gordo
  • Battle of Contreras
  • Battle of Churubusco
  • Battle of Mexico City

American Civil War

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John Milton Brannan (July 1, 1819 – December 16, 1892) was a career American Army officer who served in the Mexican-American War and as a Union general in the American Civil Warin command of the Department of Key West in Florida and assigned to Fort Zachary Taylor. His first wife was the daughter of Colonel Ichabod Crane; she mysteriously disappeared after taking a ferry from Staten Island to lower Manhattan and was presumed to have been murdered.

Early life and Mexico[]

Brannan was born in Washington, D.C., and was a messenger in the United States House of Representatives when he received his appointment to the United States Military Academy from Ratliff Boon, the U.S. Representative from Indiana in 1837. His appointment was supported by 114 other Congressmen. He finished West Point in 1841, ranking 23rd of 52 cadets, and was assigned to the 1st U.S. Artillery Regiment.[1] After graduation, Brannan served at Plattsburgh, New York during the border dispute with Canada.

During the Mexican-American War, Brannan was in the battles of Vera Cruz, Cerro Gordo, La Hoya, Contreras and Churubusco. He was brevetted to captain for gallantry for Contreras and Churubusco. He was severely wounded during the battle for Mexico City.

After the war with Mexico, Brannan fought against the Seminoles. Brannan then remained in the Southeast at various posts until the beginning of the Civil War.

Civil War service[]

At the outbreak of the Civil War, Brannan was appointed a brigadier general of volunteers and placed in command of the Department of Key West. In October 1862, he fought in the Battle of Saint John's Bluff where he led infantry troops in the expedition on the St. Johns River against Confederate positions for control of Jacksonville, Florida. Also in the same month, Brannan was placed in command of the Department of the South after Ormsby Mitchel's death. He was brevetted a lieutenant colonel for his service during the battle for Jacksonville, Florida. He served as Department commander until January 1863.

In 1863 he led an infantry division under William Rosecrans in the Tullahoma Campaign where he fought at Hoover's Gap. Brannan then fought under George Henry Thomas during the Chickamauga Campaign in XIV Corps. At Chicakamauga, Brannan lost 38 per cent of his command. Nevertheless, Brannan was awarded the brevet to colonel for meritorious service. When Rosecrans was relieved by Ulysses S. Grant, Brannan was reassigned from infantry back to artillery. He was promoted to the rank of major in the Regular army in August 1863.

From October 1863, until June 1865, Brannan was chief of artillery of the Department of the Cumberland, where he oversaw the defenses at Chattanooga. He was in the Battle of Missionary Ridge and in the Atlanta Campaign where he participated in the Battle of Resaca, Battle of Dallas, and the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain. He was also at the siege and surrender of Atlanta. He was appointed a brevet major general in both the Regular Army and in the volunteer forces.

Postbellum and death[]

After the Civil War, Brannan mustered out of the volunteer forces and reverted to the Regular Army rank of major with the 1st U.S. Artillery Regiment. He was assigned to artillery duties at Fort Trumbull, Connecticut, Fort Wadsworth, New York, and Ogdensburg, New York. While at Ogdensburg, he helped prevent the Fenian raids into Canada. In 1877, Brannan was in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he helped put down the railroad riots.

Brannan transferred to the 4th U.S. Artillery Regiment in 1877. He retired from the Army with the rank of colonel on April 19, 1882. He the moved to New York City.[1]

Brannan died on December 16, 1892, in New York and was buried at Woodlawn Cemetery. He was reinterred at the West Point Cemetery.[1]

Battery Brannan at Fort Worden, Washington was named in his honor.

See also[]

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32x28px American Civil War portal


  • Eicher, John H., and Eicher, David J., Civil War High Commands, Stanford University Press, 2001, ISBN 0-8047-3641-3.
  • Hubbell, John T., and James W. Geary (editors). Biographical Dictionary of the Union: Northern Leaders of the Civil War. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1995. ISBN 0-313-20920-0.
  • Johnson, Rossiter (editor). The Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans. Boston: The Biographical Society, 1904.
  • Warner, Ezra J. Generals in Blue: Lives of the Union Commanders. Louisiana State University Press, 1964.
  • Wilson, James Grant, and John Fiske (editors). Appleton's Cyclopædia of American Biography. New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1888.

External links[]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Eicher, p. 142.