A Civil War Biography

Mortimer Dormer Leggett

Leggett was born 19 April 1821 near Ithaca, New York. As a teenager, he moved to Geauga County, Ohio with his family. He was educated at a teacher's academy in Kirtland, Ohio graduating at the top of his class then attended Western Reserve College and Willoughby Medical School studying both law and medicine. He was admitted to the bar and moved to Akron, Ohio where he worked as a school superintendent before starting a law practice in 1850. In 1856 he joined the faculty of the Ohio Law College.

When the Civil War started he joined the staff of his friend George B. McClellan, serving as the aide-de-camp during the western Virginia campaign of 1861. Leggett helped raise the 78th Ohio Infantry regiment and became the regiment's colonel in January 1862. The 78th Ohio became part of the 3rd Brigade/ 3rd Division/ Army of the Tennessee and fought at Fort Donelson, Corinth and Shiloh. Leggett was promoted to brigadier general to rank from 29 November 1862. He commanded the 2nd Brigade/ 3rd Division/ XVII Corps during the Vicksburg campaign. He commanded 3rd Division/ XVII Corps during the Atlanta campaign. He led a victorious charge on Bald Hill which became known as Leggett Hill and was brevetted major general of volunteers on 1 September 1864 for the effort. He remained with William T. Sherman's Army during the March to the Sea and as it moved through the Carolinas. Leggett was promoted to major general in August 1865. He resigned a month later and returned to practice law in Zanesville, Ohio and was involved in manufacturing.

President Ulysses S. Grant appointed Leggett Commissioner of Patents in January 1871, a post he held until 1874. He was a co-founder of the Brush Electric Company a forerunner of General Electric. Leggett died 6 January 1896 in Cleveland, Ohio.

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