Major-General James Harrison Wilson and staff This brilliant cavalryman's demonstration of 1865 against Selma and Tuscaloosa, Alabama, in aid of General Canby s operations against Mobile and the center of the State, was one of the greatest cavalry raids in the West. General Wilson was born in 1837, near Shawneetown, Illinois, and graduated at West Point in 1860. He was aide-de-Camp to General McClellan on the Peninsula, and served in the engineering corps in the West until after Vicksburg and Chattanooga, when he was made brigadier-general of volunteers in October, 1863. In February, 1864, he was put in charge of the cavalry bureau at Washington, and later commanded the Third Division of Sheridan's reorganized cavalry. October 5, 1864, he was brevetted major-general of volunteers for “gallant and meritorious services” during the war, and on the 24th of that month he was put in command of the cavalry corps of the Military Division of the Mississippi. He took part in the battles of Franklin and Nashville, and in March, 1865, made his famous Selma raid. In twenty-eight days Wilson had captured 288 guns and 6280 prisoners, including Jefferson Davis. Five large iron works, three factories, numerous mills and immense quantities of supplies had been destroyed. As a reward for these services, he was made major-general of volunteers on April 20, 1865. General Wilson later served with distinction in the Spanish American War, and was also in command of the British and American troops in the siege at Pekin, China.
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