The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Howard, Oliver Otis
HOWARD, Oliver Otis, an American soldier, born at Leeds, Maine, Nov. 8, 1830. He graduated at Bowdoin college in 1850, and at West Point in 1854, and became instructor in mathematics there in 1857. He resigned his commission as first lieutenant June 4, 1861, to take command of a regiment of Maine volunteers. At the battle of Bull Run he commanded a brigade, and was made brigadier general of volunteers, Sept. 3. He was assigned to a brigade in the army of the Potomac, and in the battle of Fair Oaks, June 1, 1862, lost his right arm. After the battle of Antietam he took command of a division of the 2d corps, and at the battle of Chancellorsville he commanded the 11th corps. At Gettysburg, after the death of Reynolds, he commanded during the first day of the battle. He afterward received a commission as major general of volunteers, dating from Nov. 29, 1862. He was engaged at Lookout Valley, Oct. 29, 1863, at Chattanooga, Nov. 23-25, and in the operations for the relief of Knoxville in December. On July 27, 1864, he took command of the army of the Tennessee. He was in most of the battles of the Georgia campaign ending in the capture of Atlanta, and commanded the right wing of Sherman's army in its march to the sea and through the Carolinas. He was appointed a brigadier general in the regular army, his commission to date from Dec. 21, 1864; and brevet major general March 13, 1865. On May 12, 1865, he was appointed commissioner of the freedmen's bureau, and held that office until the closing of the bureau by law, June 30, 1872. He was made a trustee of Howard university March 19, 1867, president of that institution April 6, 1869, and resigned in 1873. He was appointed special commissioner to the Indians March 6, 1872, and spent eight months on that duty in New Mexico and Arizona. In March, 1874, he was tried by court martial on charges of pecuniary dishonesty in the management of the freedmen's bureau, and was acquitted.