Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Bomford, George

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BOMFORD, George, military officer, b. in New York in 1780 : d. in Boston, Mass., 25 March. 1848. He entered West Point from New York, was graduated in 1805, and became lieutenant in the corps of engineers. He served as assistant engineer on the fortifications of New York harbor in 1805-'8, then on the defences of Chesapeake bay from 1808 till 1810, and as superintending engineer of the works on Governor's island from 1810 till 1812. During the war of 1812-'5 with Great Britain he served in the ordnance department, with the rank of major on the staff, was appointed assistant commissary-general of ordnance, 18 June, 1812, and attached to the corps of engineers, 6 July, 1812. He introduced bomb cannons, made on a pattern of his own invention, which were called columbiads, a form of heavy gun combining the qualities of gun, howitzer, and mortar. He was promoted lieutenant-colonel, 9 Feb., 1815, and was continued on ordnance duty, though attached to the artillery after the reorganization of the army in 1821. On the organization of the ordnance corps he was promoted colonel, and appointed chief of ordnance, 30 May, 1832. He was in command of the ordnance corps and bureau at Washington until 1 Feb., 1842, when he became inspector of arsenals, ordnance, arms, and munitions of war, in which duty he continued until his death. The cannons invented by him were further developed by Dahlgren, but were superseded by the Rodman type about the beginning of the civil war. In July, 1841, he conducted experiments to ascertain the expansive force of powder in a gun by firing bullets through tubes inserted in the sides. — His son, James Y., b. on Governor's island. New York harbor, 5 Oct., 1811 ; d. in Elizabeth, N. J., 6 Jan., 1892, was graduated at West Point in 1832, and served as first lieutenant in Texas, and as captain in the war with Mexico. He was engaged in the battles of Palo Alto, Resaca de la Palma, and Monterey, the siege of Vera Cruz, the battle of Cerro Gordo, the capture of San Antonio, and the battle of Churubusco, receiving the brevet of major, 20 Aug., 1847, for gallantry at Contreras and Churubusco. He was brevetted lieutenant-colonel for gallant and meritorious conduct at the battle of Molino del Rey, distinguished himself at the storming of Chapultepec, and was present at the capture of Mexico. Serving on frontier duty in Texas at the beginning of the civil war, he was promoted major, 17 Oct., 1860, and was prisoner of war from 9 May, 1861, till 9 April, 1862, On 10 Jan., 1862, he was made a lieutenant-colonel, and, after his return to his regiment, was engaged in the movements of Gen. Buell's army in Alabama and Kentucky. At the battle of Perryville he served as chief of staff to Gen. McCook," and received the brevet of colonel for meritorious services in that action. He was retii-ed from active service 8 June, 1872.