Edwin V. Sumner
Edwin V. Sumner
Born in Boston, Sumner enlisted in the Regular Army in 1819 as a 2d lieutenant of infantry. He served in the Black Hawk War, became captain of the 2d Dragoons in 1833, and was employed on the Western Frontier. In 1838 he was placed in command of the school of cavalry practice at Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Sumner was promoted to major in 1846 and served in the Mexican War. In 1855 he was promoted to colonel of the 1st Cavalry. Three years later he was in command of the Department of the West. With the outbreak of the Civil War, Sumner was appointed a brigadier general in the Regular Army and sent to command the Department of the Pacific. He was recalled in 1862 to take command of the I Corps, Army of the Potomac. His command participated in the Peninsula Campaign during the summer of 1862, and he was wounded twice. After being appointed major general of volunteers, Sumner entered the Maryland Campaign in command of a wing consisting of the II and XII Corps. At the Battle of Antietam on 17 September, Sumner personally led a division of the II Corps into battle; it was driven off the field and Sumner was wounded. At the Battle of Fredericksburg on 13 December, Sumner commanded the Right Grand Division, containing the II and IX Corps. Although Sumner was ordered to remain at his headquarters during the battle, his command participated in the unsuccessful attacks against the Confederate defense on Marye's Heights. Upon the accession of Hooker to command of the Army of the Potomac in January 1863, Sumner requested a transfer to the Western Theater. On the way to take command of the Department of the Missouri, he died in New York of natural causes.
The U.S. Army Center of Military History