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[288] for a time in Cuba as Commander of the District of Havana, and was made brigadier-general in the regular army, where he served with distinction until he was retired.


General Joseph Wheeler

One of the most versatile soldiers of the Civil War was Joseph Wheeler, Lieutenant-General, C. S. A., Brigadier-General, U. S. A., and in the opinion of General R. E. Lee one of “the two ablest cavalry officers which the war developed.”

President Davis said that General Wheeler displayed “a dash and activity, vigilance and consummate skill, which justly entitled him to a prominent place on the roll of great cavalry leaders. By his indomitable energy he was able to keep the Government and commanders of our troops advised of the enemy's movements and by preventing foraging parties from leaving the main body, he saved from spoliation all but a narrow tract of country, and from the torch millions worth of property which would otherwise have certainly been consumed.”

One of his biographers (Rev. E. S. Buford) states that: “General Wheeler has commanded in more than a hundred battles, many of which, considering the numbers engaged, were the most severe recorded in the history of cavalry. Always in the front of battle, he was wounded three times, sixteen horses were shot under him, eight of his staff-officers were killed and thirty-two wounded.”

At the outbreak of the war with Spain, Wheeler was appointed a major-general, U. S. V., and during the short but sharp campaign in Cuba, displayed the same energy and ability which had distinguished him in a greater conflict. In 1899 he was ordered to the Philippines, serving there until June, 1900, when he was commissioned brigadier-general, U. S. A., and in September of the same year was retired from active service. His old opponent, General Sherman, paid this tribute to his worth: “In the event of war with a foreign country, ‘Joe’ Wheeler is the man to command the cavalry of our army.”

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