From our Fort to the Civil War front

first_imgo “Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!”o Pickett’s Charge.o The death of Abraham Lincoln.They represent some Civil War milestones influenced by soldiers from Fort Vancouver.Some of them fought for the Union, some fought for the Confederacy. Sometimes they fought on opposing sides in the same battle. Former Fort Vancouver soldiers who became Union generals include George McClellan, Joseph Barnes and John Reynolds.Gabriel Rains, George Pickett and William Wing Loring resigned their commissions to join the Confederate army.George McClellanMcClellan graduated from West Point in 1846, second in his class. He was sent to Fort Vancouver in 1853 to find the best route for a railroad from the East. He left the military in 1857 to become a railroad executive, then went back into the Army during the Civil War.McClellan was named commander of the Union Army in 1861. Criticized for his caution and lack of leadership, McClellan was relieved of command in November 1862.The Democratic Party nominated McClellan to run for president in 1864, but Lincoln swept to a second term. (McClellan was the first candidate in what turned out to be three straight presidential elections featuring former Fort Vancouver soldiers, with Ulysses S. Grant winning in 1868 and 1872).After the war, McClellan had better electoral luck when he successfully ran for governor of New Jersey in 1877.McClellan left a lasting — but somewhat niche — military legacy, designing a saddle that still is being used.McClellan Road at Vancouver Barracks also bears his name.Gabriel RainsWhile serving against the Seminole Indians in Florida in 1840, Rains became noted for tinkering around with explosives and booby traps. In the 1850s, he was assigned to Fort Vancouver.An Army blockhouse on the north shore of the Columbia River, near the present site of Bonneville Dam, built in 1855 during the Northwest Indian Wars was named Fort Rains.last_img

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