BMG  ★  Averell, William Woods

William Woods Averell


Born: November 5, 1832

Birthplace: Cameron, New York

Father: Hiram Averell 1795 – 1887

Mother: Huldah Hemenway 1809 – 1881


1855: Graduated from West Point Military Academy – (26th​ in class)​

Occupation before War:

1855: Brevet 2nd​ Lt. United States Army, Mounted Riflemen​
1855 – 1856: Garrison Duty at Jefferson Barracks in Missouri​
1855 – 1861: 2nd​ Lt. United States Army, Mounted Riflemen​
1856 – 1857: Attended Cavalry School of Practice in Carlisle, Pennsylvania​
1857: Frontier Duty in Command Escorting General Dept. of New Mexico​
1857: Frontier Duty at Fort Craig, New Mexico​
1857: Engaged against Kiowa Indians in skirmish near Fort Craig​
1857 – 1858: Frontier Duty at Fort Craig, New Mexico​
1858: Scout for United States Army​
1858: Frontier Duty at Fort Defiance, New Mexico​
1858: Served in the Navajo Expedition​
1858: Wounded during the night attack on Puerco of the West​
1859: Frontier Duty at Fort Craig, New Mexico​
1859 – 1861: On Sick leave from United States Army​
1861: Declined 1st​ Lt. United States Army, 3rd​ Cavalry​
1861: 1st​ Lt. United States Army, Mounted Riflemen​
1861: Bearer of Dispatches to Colonel Emory at Fort Arbuckle​
1861 – 1862: 1st​ Lt. United States Army, 3rd​ Cavalry Regiment​

Civil War Career:

1861: Mustering Duty at Elmira, New York​
1861: Acting Assistant General to General Porter​
1861: Participated in the First Battle of Bull Run, Virginia​
1861: Provost Duty in Washington, D.C.​
1861 – 1862: Colonel of 3rd​ Pennsylvania Cavalry Regiment​
1861 – 1862: Commander, Cavalry Brigade, Washington, D.C. Defenses​
1862: Served in the Advance on Manassas, Virginia​
1862: Served in the Virginia Peninsula Campaign​
1862 – 1865: Captain, United States Army, 3rd Cavalry Regiment​
1862: Served in the Battle of White Oak Swamp, Virginia​
1862 – 1865: Brigadier General, Union Army, Volunteers​
1862: Scouted on the Upper Potomac River​
1862: Served in the Battle of Fredericksburg, Virginia​
1863: Union Army Commander, 2nd​ Division, Cavalry, Army of Potomac​
1863: Brevetted Major for Gallantry at Battle of Kelly’s Ford​
1863: Served in Stoneman’s Raid near Richmond, Virginia​
1863: Brevetted Lt. Colonel for Gallantry at Droop Mountain, Virginia​
1863: Commander in the Salem Raid to Tennessee Railroad​
1863: Brevetted Colonel for Gallantry in Salem Expedition​
1864 – 1865: Commander of 2nd Division of Cavalry
Averell 1.jpg
1864: Union Army Commander in Battle of Cove Mountain, Virginia​
1864: Commander in Destruction of Tennessee Railroad​
1864: Commander in March across the Alleghany Mountains​
1864: Defeated Ramseur’s Division at Carter’s Farm​
1864: In Pursuit of McCausland’s Raiders​
1864: Served in the Battle of Fisher’s Hill​
1865: Brevetted Brig. General for his service in the War​
1865: Brevetted Major General for Gallantry at Battle of Moorfield​
1865: Resigned from Union, and United States Army on May 18th

Occupation after War:

1866 – 1869: United States Counsel to British North America​
1869 – 1888: Civil Engineer, Inventor, and Entrepreneur​
1888: Captain, United States Army, retiring on August 31st
1888 – 1898: Inspector General of Soldier’s Home​
1898 – 1900: Suffered from paresis​

Died: February 3, 1900

Place of Death: Bath, New York

Cause of Death: Cerebral hyperemia

Age at time of Death: 67 years old

Burial Place: Grove Cemetery, Bath, New York
Last edited by a moderator:


Sep 15, 2018
South Texas
Credited with having won the first sizable action against the Confederate cavalry (Kelly's Ford?), but was also later relieved from duty by Sheridan for lack of aggressiveness at 3rd Winchester and Fisher's Hill. He was earlier relieved from duty by Hooker at Chancellorsville for that same lack of fighting spirit.


Jun 27, 2017
Southeast Missouri
Averell was also an inventor, and is credited inventing asphalt pavement Averell worked in the fields of coal, steel and eventually paving materials. His businesses and his inventions of practical devices provided him with a handsome income. Among his inventions were methods for manufacturing steel castings and insulated electrical cable, but he is best known for his work with asphalt pavement. Although there were problems at first He eventually developed improved techniques of laying pavement, which led to a patent in 1878 for "Improvement in Asphaltic Pavement."

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