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Wheeler, Joseph 1836-

Military officer; born in Augusta, Ga., Sept. 10, 1836; graduated at the United States Military Academy in 1859; was assigned to the cavalry and served till 1861, when he resigned to enter the Confederate army, in which he became major-general and senior commander of cavalry.

During the Civil War he was conspicuous as a raider. On Oct. 2, 1863, when Bragg's chief of cavalry, he crossed the Tennessee River at Bridgeport with about 4,000 mounted men, pushed up the Sequatchie Valley, and burned a National supply-train of nearly 1,000 wagons on its way to Chattanooga. Just as he had finished his destructive work, Col. E. M. McCook attacked him. The battle continued until night, when Wheeler, discomfited, moved off in the darkness and attacked another supply-train at McMinnville. This was captured and destroyed, and 600 men were made prisoners. Then, after the mischief was done, he was attacked (Oct. 4) by Gen. George Crook, with 2,000 cavalry. There was another sharp fight until dark, when Wheeler withdrew and pushed on towards Murfreesboro. He could do nothing, and turned southward, with his relentless pursuers at his heels, doing all the mischief in his

Joseph Wheeler.

power. At Farmington, below the Duck River, Crook struck him, cut his force in two, captured four of his guns and 1,000 small-arms, with 200 of his men, besides his wounded, and drove him in confusion into northern Alabama. Wheeler made his way back to Bragg's army, with a loss of 2,000 men, but had captured nearly as many and destroyed National property of the value, probably, of $3,000,000.

Towards the close of July, 1864, Hood, commanding the Confederates at Atlanta, sent Wheeler, with the greater part of his cavalry, to capture National supplies, burn bridges, and break up railways in Sherman's rear. He moved swiftly, with about 8,000 horsemen. He struck and broke the railway at Calhoun, captured 900 horses in that vicinity, and seriously menaced Sherman's depot of supplies at Allatoona, in the middle of August. This was at the time when Sherman was about to make his movement to flank Hood out of Atlanta. This movement brought Wheeler back. After the evacuation of Atlanta, Hood having crossed to the north side of the Chattahoochee, Wheeler swept around Allatoona, and, appearing before Dalton, demanded its surrender. The little garrison held out until Wheeler was driven away by General Steedman, who came down from Chattanooga. Then he [333] pushed into east Tennessee, made a circuit around Knoxville, by way of Strawberry Plains, crossed the Clinch River, went over the Cumberland Mountains, and appeared before McMinnville, Murfreesboro, and Lebanon. National cavalry, under Rousseau, Steedman, and Granger, was on the alert, and soon drove the raiders into northern Alabama, by way of Florence. Although Wheeler had destroyed much property, his damage to Sherman's communications was very slight.

After the war he engaged in law practice; was a Democratic Representative in Congress in 1881-99; commissioned major-general of volunteers, May 4, 1898; commanded the cavalry division of the Army of Santiago, taking part in the battles of Las Guasimas and San Juan; and was senior member of the commission which negotiated the surrender of the Spanish army and territory at Santiago. After a brief visit to the United States he was assigned to command the 1st Brigade, 2d Division of the Army in the Philippines, where he served from August, 1899, till Jan. 24, 1900. On the reorganization of the United States army he was appointed a brigadier-general (June 16, 1900), and was retired on Sept. 10 following.

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