Apolline Alexander Blair

Wife of Union General and Senator Francis P. Blair, Jr. Francis Preston Blair, Jr. was born on February 19, 1821, in Lexington, Kentucky, into a prominent political family. His parents were Eliza Gist Blair and Francis Preston Blair Sr., who was a member of President Andrew Jackson’s Kitchen Cabinet and advisor to several presidents. Young Frank was raised in Kentucky until nine years of age (1830), when the family moved to Washington, DC, where his father had been invited to edit The Congressional Globe. Apolline Alexander Blair Trained by his father for a public career, Frank Blair attended schools in Washington, DC. He was a bright but difficult student, who was expelled from several private schools. As a college student,…

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Mary Ann Montgomery Forrest

Wife of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest Mary Ann Montgomery was born October 2, 1826, daughter of Elizabeth Cowan Montgomery and William Montgomery, a Presbyterian minister. Nathan Bedford Forrest and his twin sister Frances or Fanny were born on July 13, 1821 – the second and third oldest of twelve children born to William and Miriam (Beck) Forrest – in Bedford County, Tennessee. William supported his family as a blacksmith who had been part of the westward expansion across Tennessee, moving from one village to another as opportunity presented itself. Image: Nathan and Mary Ann Hernando, Mississippi, August 1845 John Paul Strain, Artist In 1834, Nathan’s father packed the family up and moved to a small farm in northern Mississippi….

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Frances Gibbon

Wife of Union General John Gibbon Frances North Moale Gibbon, called Fannie by family and friends, was the Darling Mama of General John Gibbon’s Civil War letters. From Gettysburg he wrote: “God has been good in protecting me from so many dangers. Both [General John] Reynolds and Stephen Weed were killed, the latter yesterday.” Image: General John Gibbon Husband of Frances Gibbon John Oliver Gibbon was born on April 20, 1827, in the Holmesburg section of Philadelphia, the third son and the fourth of seven children of Dr. John Heysham Gibbon and Catherine (Lardner) Gibbon. Although the family name was originally “Gibbons,” the doctor dropped the s, so that by the time Doctor Gibbon had married and graduated from the…

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Martha Duke Buford

Wife of General John Buford Martha (Pattie) McDowell Duke was born June 25,1830, in Georgetown, Scott County, Kentucky, to James and Mary Duke. She was the first cousin of the famed Confederate raider, CSA General Basil Duke, with whom she was raised, and a second cousin of USA General Irvin McDowell. Martha was also the granddaughter of the youngest sister of Chief Justice John Marshall. This means she was closely related to Thomas Jefferson and all the Virginia Randolphs. Her maternal grandfather was Colonel Abraham Buford, a Revolutionary War hero. Image: General John Buford John Buford, Jr. was born in Woodford County, Kentucky, March 4, 1826, the first child of his father’s second marriage to Anne Bannister. John’s family had…

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Eliza Johnston

Wife of Confederate General Albert Sidney Johnston Eliza Griffin Johnston, the second wife of General Albert Sidney Johnston, was educated at a prestigious school in Philadelphia. In addition to learning social graces, she became an accomplished artist and musician. As a wife and mother Mrs. Johnston painted watercolors of birds and flowers in her free time. Eliza Griffin was born in Fair Oaks, Virginia, on December 26, 1821, to a well-to-do family. She was the youngest child and the only daughter of John and Mary (Hancock) Griffin. Eliza’s parents died when she was four years old, and she was raised by her grandmother, Margaret Strother Hancock. After her grandmother’s death in 1830, she moved to Kentucky to live with her…

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Elizabeth Howard

Wife of Union General Oliver Otis Howard Oliver Otis Howard met Elizabeth Ann Waite, daughter of Alexander B. Waite of Portland, Maine, in the summer of 1846. Engrossed with his schoolwork, he was taken by the beauty of the young girl, and fell madly in love with her. She would be his only sweetheart. Image: General Oliver O. Howard Oliver Otis Howard was born November 8, 1830, in Leeds, Maine. His father, Rowland Bailey Howard, died when Oliver was 9 years old. After studying at some local schools, Oliver entered Bowdoin College in 1846. When he fell in love with Elizabeth Waite he was sixteen; she was fifteen. He even quit cigar smoking for her. (He would be unable to…

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Margaretta Sergeant Meade

Wife of Union General George Gordon Meade In letters home to Margaretta Meade during the Civil War, General George Meade commented frankly on every facet of the war. Two days after the Battle of Gettysburg in July 1863, he wrote: “The army are in the highest spirits, and of course I am a great man. The most difficult part of my work is acting without correct information on which to predicate action.” Early Years Margaretta Sergeant, born June 26, 1815, was the daughter of Margaretta Watmough Sergeant and the Honorable John Sergeant, Henry Clay’s running mate in the 1832 presidential election.George Gordon Meade was born on December 31, 1815, in Cadiz, Spain, where his father, Richard Worsam Meade, was serving…

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Margaret Buell

Wife of Union General Don Carlos Buell Don Carlos Buell, named for an uncle, was born on March 23, 1818, near Marietta, Ohio. He was the first son of Salmon D. Buell and Eliza Buell, born on the farm of his grandfather, Judge Salmon Buell. He was named after his uncle, Don Carlos Buell, who was a lawyer in Ithaca, New York. His father died in 1825, and Buell grew up with his uncle in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, where he attended public schools, and proved himself a fair student. In 1837, Buell received an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point, and graduated in 1841, ranking 32 in a class of 52 graduates. Buell served in the military,…

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Irene Sheridan

Wife of Union General Philip Sheridan While a bridesmaid at a wedding in Chicago in 1874, Irene Rucker met General Philip Sheridan, who made his headquarters there. For the next few months, he courted her steadily, and contemporaries recalled the hero of the Civil War and “Miss Rucker riding down Wabash avenue in an open carriage.” Irene Sheridan was the daughter of Brigadier General Daniel H. Rucker, Quartermaster General of the US Army, and she spent all her life connected to the military. General Rucker’s first wife, Flora McDonald Coodey, was the daughter of Joseph Coodey, a half-blood Cherokee, and granddaughter of Jane Ross, a sister of the celebrated Cherokee Chief John Ross. Joseph Coodey was a well to do…

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Mrs. Almira Russell Hancock, circa 1860s

Almira Hancock

Wife of Union General Winfield Scott Hancock While stationed in southern California just prior to the Civil War, Almira and her husband, future Union General Winfield Scott Hancock, threw a party for the many friends they had made there. Almira Hancock later stated that six of the future Confederates who attended that party were killed by Hancock’s troops at the Battle of Gettysburg. Childhood and Early Years Almira (Allie) Russell was the daughter of a prominent merchant in St. Louis, Missouri, where Winfield Scott Hancock was stationed after the Mexican-American War. West Point classmate Don Carlos Buell introduced Hancock to Almira, and after a short courtship, they were married in 1850 and had two children. A career soldier, Major General…

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