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Joseph Wheeler
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Military Personnel
    (September 10, 1836-January 25, 1906)
    Born in Augusta, Georgia
    Senior cavalry general in the Confederate Army of Tennessee during the US Civil War
    US Representative from Alabama (1881-83,1885-1900)
    Major general of volunteers during the Spanish-American War (1898) and Philippine-American War (1898-1900)
    Commissioned as a brigadier general in the regular US Army (1900)
    He graduated from West Point a less than impressive 19th in a class of 22.
    During the Civil War, he had a running feud with fellow cavalry leader Nathan Bedford Forrest.
    In a post-Civil War speech, he claimed the North was responsible for slavery: 'When the people of the South settled on the shores of Maryland, Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia, they had no intention of encouraging or even tolerating the institution of slavery. The thrifty New England seamen, solely with the view of profit, urged slavery upon all the Colonies.' (Never mind the minor detail that the settlers of Jamestown, Virginia, imported their first slaves a year before the first New England colony was founded.)
    During the Battle of Las Guasimas in the Spanish-American War, he tried to rally the troops by shouting, 'Let's go, boys! We've got the damn Yankees on the run!'
    His manual 'Cavalry Tactics' became the standard for the Confederate army.
    During the Civil War, he was wounded three times and had 16 horses shot from under him.
    He was the only Confederate general to later attain the same rank in the US Army.
    He fell seriously ill while in Cuba during the Spanish-American War, but left his sickbed to lead his division during the Battle of San Juan Hill.
    His youngest son Thomas, while serving as a midshipman, drowned trying to rescue a fellow sailor (1898).

Credit: C. Fishel


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