A Civil War Biography

David Sloane Stanley

Stanley was born 1 June 1828 in Cedar Valley, Ohio. He was appointed to West Point on 1 July 1848 and graduated 9th in the class of 1852. Upon graduation he was brevetted 2nd lieutenant in the 2nd US Dragoons and assigned as quartermaster to the surveying party commanded by Lieutenant Amiel W. Whipple that charted the route for a railroad from Fort Smith, Arkansas to San Diego, California. Stanley was promoted to 2nd lieutenant on 6 September 1853 and in 1854 was ordered to Fort Chadbourne on the Texas frontier. On 3 March 1855 he was transferred to Troop D, 1st US Cavalry, then commanded by Captain George B. McClellan. Stanley was promoted to 1st lieutenant on 27 March 1855. In 1856 Stanley was sent, along with his regiment, to Kansas to suppress the disturbances between proslavery advocates and "free soilers." He next saw action against the Cheyenne Indians on the Great Plains. In one instance at a fight near Fort Kearny, Nebraska a future adversary, JEB Stuart, is credited with saving his life. In 1860 Stanley was assigned to Fort Smith. He was promoted to captain on 16 March 1861.

When the war began Stanley, a slave-owner, was offered the command of a Confederate Arkansas regiment with the rank of colonel. He declined and headed to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He was transferred to the 4th US Cavalry on 3 August then was appointed brigadier general of volunteers on 28 September 1861 shortly after taking part in the battle at Wilson's Creek. He commanded a division for the remainder of the 1862 Missouri campaign seeing action at New Madrid, Island Number Ten, and Corinth. He was promoted to major general of volunteers on 29 November 1862 and appointed chief of cavalry of the Army of the Cumberland. He was brevetted lieutenant colonel on 31 December 1862 for "gallantry and meritorious service" at Stone's River. He was posted to the 5th US Cavalry as a major in regular army on 1 December 1863. He commanded the 1st division/ IV Corps during the Atlanta campaign and was brevetted colonel on 15 May 1864 for his role at Resaca, Georgia. He commanded the IV Corps at Spring Hill and Franklin, Tennessee where he was severely wounded on 30 November 1864. He was brevetted brigadier general in the regular army for his action at Ruff's Station, Georgia and major general in the regular army for his "distinguished bravery" at Franklin on 13 March 1865.

Even though the civil war had ended Stanley, recovered from his wounds, remained in command of the IV Corps. He led the IV Corps into Texas in June 1865 to counter the growing French involvement in Mexican internal affairs and the threat posed by Maximilian. Stanley established his headquarters at Victoria, Texas then moved his command to San Antonio, Texas in October 1865. He remained in San Antonio supervising as the IV Corp's regiment were mustered out of service. While at San Antonio Stanley ending the army's camel corps experiment when he ordered the remaining camels sold. Stanley was mustered out of the volunteer service on 1 February 1866. He remained in the regular army and was promoted to colonel and assigned command of the 22nd US infantry on 28 July 1866 and assigned along the Indian frontier. In 1873 he was involved in the Yellowstone expedition then from 1879 through 1882 he was involved in suppressing various Indian uprisings in Texas. He was promoted to to brigadier general on 24 March 1884 and assigned to command the Department of Texas. He retired from the army on 1 June 1892. On 29 March 1893 Stanley was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions at Franklin. The citation reads, "At a critical moment rode to the front of one of his brigades, reestablished its lines, and gallantly led it in a successful assault." Stanley was governor of the Soldier's Home in Washington DC from 13 September 1893 until 15 April 1898. He died on 13 March 1902 in Washington and was buried in the Soldiers Home cemetery. His autobiography, " Personal Memoirs of Major-General D. S. Stanley, U.S.A.," was published in 1917.

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