Brigadier General Julius White (USV)

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Brigadier General Julius White (USV)


Julius White was born in Cazenovia, New York on 23 September 1816. Before the Civil War, he moved to Illinois and practiced law. On 19 September 1861, he was commissioned colonel of the 37th Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment. He led the regiment during the southwest Missouri campaign of John C. Fremont in late 1861. At the Battle of Pea Ridge on 7 March 1862, his brigade of two Illinois regiments blunted the attack of Louis Hebert’s Confederates. On 8 March, his troops participated in the final attack defeating the rebel army.

On 9 June, White was promoted to brigadier general and led the “Railroad” Brigade, VIII Corps. During the Second Battle of Bull Run, his brigade was posted in Martinsburg, West Virginia, on the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. As Robert E. Lee invaded Maryland, White retreated into Harper’s Ferry and joined Colonel Dixon S. Miles. Outranking Miles, White nonetheless followed military protocol by putting himself under the officer commanding on the scene in a crisis. Unfortunately, Miles proved incapable of mounting an effective defense and the Battle of Harpers Ferry, 12-15 September, was fought from a highly disadvantageous position compounded by Miles’s strategic mistakes. As he ran up the white flag, Miles was mortally wounded. White carried out the formal surrender.

During the Knoxville Campaign in 1863, White commanded the 2nd Division of XXIII Corps. In July 1864, White returned to the Eastern Theater commanding a division in the IX Corps. He briefly served as Ambrose Burnside’s chief of staff during the Battle of the Crater. At the Battle of Globe Tavern he commanded the 1st Division, IX Corps. Without a command at the end of the summer, White resigned his commission on 19 November 1864. He was breveted major general for his war service.

From November 1873 to March 1874, he served as U.S. Minister to Argentina. He died in Evanston, Illinois on 12 May 1890.

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