Emerging Civil War has decided to give you a little more information about the cover photos (often called “banners”) we post on our Facebook page. We hope everyone is following us on Facebook!
Our latest Facebook cover photo is a colorized image showing Union Gen. Edwin V. “Bull” Sumner with his staff in 1862.
Sumner was born in Boston in 1797 and joined the U.S. Army as a second lieutenant in 1819. His career saw him fight in the Blackhawk War, the Mexican-American War, and the pre-Civil War Indian conflicts in the West. During the 1856 “Bleeding Kansas” crisis, Sumner was the commander of Fort Leavenworth in Kansas Territory.
During the Civil War, Sumner was the oldest man on either side to command an army corps in battle. He had just turned 64 years old when the war began in April 1861 and commanded a Union division in the Army of the Potomac’s Second Corps during the Peninsular Campaign and at the battle of Antietam. When General Ambrose Burnside took command of the Army of the Potomac and grouped the army’s corps into “grand divisions,” he appointed Sumner to command of the Right Grand Division. Sumner commanded this unit at Fredericksburg, where it took heavy casualties.
In early 1863, Sumner requested to be relieved of command due to his age, health, and frustration with the Union army’s bureaucracy. He went to Syracuse, New York in March 1863 to visit his daughter and died there on March 21 of that year.