Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Donaldson, James Lowry

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DONALDSON, James Lowry, soldier, b. in Baltimore, Md., 17 March, 1814; d. there, 4 Nov., 1885. He was graduated at the U. S. military academy in 1836, and became 2d lieutenant in the 3d artillery, serving in that capacity during the Florida war in 1836-'8. He was transferred to the 1st artillery in May, 1837, and became 1st lieutenant in July, 1838. Subsequently he was on garrison duty until 1846, when he was stationed at Fort Brown during the military occupation of Texas. During the Mexican war he participated in the battles of Monterey and Buena Vista, receiving the brevets of captain and major. He was appointed assistant quartermaster, with the rank of captain, in March, 1847, and was on duty as such in Coahuila, Mexico. Subsequent to the war he continued as quartermaster at various posts until he became chief quartermaster of the Department of New Mexico in 1858-'62. During the civil war he held a like office in Pittsburgh, Pa., with the 8th army corps in Baltimore, Md., and in the Department of the Cumberland. He was chief quartermaster of the military division of the Tennessee in June, 1865, and of the military division of the Missouri until 1869, when he was retired. Meanwhile he had attained the rank of colonel on the staff, and had received the brevet of major-general of volunteers. He resigned on 1 Jan., 1874. During his administration of the quartermaster's department of the division of the Tennessee, he became a favorite with Gen. George H. Thomas, to whom he suggested the creation of cemeteries for the scattered remains of soldiers who had fallen in battle, from which has resulted the annual Decoration day. Gen. Donaldson published “Sergeant Atkins” (Philadelphia, 1871), a tale of adventure founded on events that took place during the Florida war.