★ ★  Dix, John A.

John Adams Dix


Born: July 24, 1798

Birthplace: Boscawen, New Hampshire

Father: Lt. Colonel Timothy Dix Jr. 1770 – 1813
(Buried: Military Cemetery, Sackets Harbor, New York)​

Mother: Abigail Wilkins 1772 – 1808
(Buried: Plains Cemetery, Boscawen, New Hampshire)​

Wife: Catherine Morgan 1802 – 1884
(Buried: Trinity Churchyard, Manhattan, New York)​



Morgan Dix 1827 – 1908​
(Buried: Trinity Church Cemetery and Mausoleum, Manhattan, New York)​
Baldwin Dix 1829 – 1852​
(Buried: Trinity Churchyard, Manhattan, New York)​
Colonel John Wilkins Dix 1832 – 1877​
(Buried: Trinity Church Cemetery and Mausoleum, Manhattan, New York)​
Charles Temple Dix 1838 – 1872​
(Buried: Trinity Church Cemetery and Mausoleum, Manhattan, New York)​
Annie Maria Dix 1847 – 1847​
(Buried: Trinity Churchyard, Manhattan, New York)​

Occupation before War:

1812 – 1828: Served in United States Army, rising to Captain​
Attorney in Cooperstown and Albany, New York
Dix 2.jpg
1831 – 1833: New York State Adjutant General​
1833 – 1839: New York State Secretary of State​
1842: Member of New York State Assembly​
1845 – 1849: United States Senator from New York​
1845 – 1847: Senate Chairman of the Committee on Pensions​
1845 – 1849: Senate Chairman of the Committee on Commerce​
1848: Unsuccessful Free – Soil Candidate for Governor of New York​
1853: United States Assistant Treasurer at New York​
1860 – 1861: United States Postmaster General​
1861: Secretary of U.S. Treasury Department​

Civil War Career:

1861: Major General of New York State Militia​
1861: Organizer of Union Defense Committee
Dix 1.jpg
1861 – 1865: Major General of Union Army, Volunteers​
1861: Union Army Commander of Department of Maryland​
1861: Arrested Six Members of the Maryland State Assembly​
1861: Union Army Commander of Department of Pennsylvania​
1861 – 1862: Commander of “Dix’s” Command, Army of the Potomac​
1862 – 1863: Union Army Commander, Department of Virginia​
1862: Concluded an exchange agreement with Daniel Harvey Hill​
1863 – 1865: Union Army Commander, Department of the East​
1863: Distinguished himself in Suppression of New York Draft Riots​

Occupation after War:

1866: Chairman of National Union Convention​
1866 – 1869: United States Minister to France​
1873 – 1874: Governor of New York​
1876: Unsuccessful Candidate for Mayor of New York City, New York​

April 21, 1879

Place of Death: New York City, New York

Cause of Death: Chronic Cystitis and uremia

Age at time of Death:
80 years old

Burial Place: Trinity Church Cemetery and Mausoleum, Manhattan, New York
Last edited by a moderator:
Sep 15, 2018
South Texas
One biography states that he filled the vacancy in the U.S. Senate caused by the resignation of Silas Wright, Jr. when he became governor. But a biography of Wright claims the vacancy was filled by a Henry A. Foster and Dix won the following election.


Dec 1, 2018
Dix gave Lincoln his first big case. As President of the Mississippi and Missouri Railroad he hired Lincoln to defend the railroad against the right to navigation claims of the steamboat companies against the Rock Island Bridge.
The case had national legal issues, and it made Lincoln the most important lawyer in Illinois. The bridge itself was big news - the first one across the Mississippi; and the "crash" of the Effie Acton was a sensation.
Lincoln lost the trial, and Congress took the position that the steamboat companies were right - bridges were a hazard to navigation. They left it to the federal courts to decide whether the bridge had to be removed. It will not surprise CivilWarTalk members to learn that, by the time the appeals made it to the Supreme Court in 1862, "the law" had decided that a railroad bridge was OK.
Sep 15, 2018
South Texas
I came across a similar act of litigation involving the Wheeling Suspension Bridge over the Ohio. I think the outcome was probably a precedent for the "Mississippi Bridge case" This was found while researching the biography of Charles Wells Russell Sr. He was one of defense attorneys along with Reverdy Johnson in a case brought on by Edwin Stanton and Robert Walker. It involved the height of the bridge and the height of smokestacks on steamboats.
Last edited:


Feb 19, 2011
Dix was the most senior Major General in the Volunteer army

Seniority was determined by
(1) Grade (for example Major General (MG) was senior to Brigadier General (BG))
(2) service (within same grade, Regular army always trumped Volunteers)
(3) date (earlier appointment date of same grade was senior)
(4) prior seniority (for same grade, service and date, seniority in prior service determined).

At the start of the war, Lincoln appointed 3 Major Generals of Volunteer with the same date - Dix, Banks and Butler. While a Lieutenant General or any Major Generals USA (Regulars) would be senior to those 3, no other Major Generals of volunteers would, since all had later dates.

Part way into the war Butler raised a stink about which of the 3 of them was senior, since the grade, service and date of appointment was all the same. The conclusion was based on item (4). Prior to the appointment, Butler had been a BG of state militia whereas Dix had been a MG of state militia and Banks while Governor had also been MG of the state militia, which meant Butler was last of the 3 and then the fact that way back, when Banks was just a baby, Dix had been a junior office in the regular army meant that he had seniority between the three of them.