General Oliver Howard was a writer and an educator, then a fighter and a soldier. The life of Oliver Howard was one education and military conflict.
The two sciences would serve him well and lead to the enrichment of both African-American slaves and the “mountain folk ” of the remote regions of America. At the start of the Civil War, Howard fought bravely with Union forces at the Battle of Bull Run.
Surviving the bloody battle, General Howard found himself at the head of a brigade of troops during the Peninsular Campaign, a victory of sorts for the Union army.
At the Battle of Seven Pines, the Union general was wounded not once but twice and survived each to fight and lead once more. The brave and gallant general lost his right arm in that battle and recovered quickly enough to retain his leadership role in the Union army.
A major blow to his reputation as a competent leader came at the battle of Chancellorsville. Confederate troops under the command of Stonewall Jackson were able to out flank and route Howard’s troops. Again during the battle of Gettysburg Howard and his men were run off the field after his men were outflanked by General Ewell on the first day of battle.
General Oliver Howard during the Civil War
Born on a farm in Leeds, Maine in 1830, the future leader of Union troops was educated at Bowdoin College in Maine. After graduating from the prestigious school, Howard went on to graduate from the U.S Military Academy in 1854. At 24 years of age, Howard was one of the youngest leaders to fight in the Seminole Wars against the Seminole tribe in Florida. Showing bravery and honor in the conflict, Howard then was transferred to West Point where he began his teaching career.
General Oliver Howard in 1908
Having graduated from two educational institutions and also keeping his military record in tact, the general would set his sights on bigger and better things. One of the first items on his to-do list was the Civil War. General Howard knew all to well, the horrors that the war was bringing to both sides of the conflict.
He decided to use his sword and pen to fight the South and did so with a unique approach. By befriending both slaves and white mountain people of the South,
Howard lent credence to his sincerity at both ends of the sword. A great mostly African-American, school in existence today is Howard University.
Seen as one of the most prestigious universities for African-American education in the entire United States, the school was the brainchild of Howard himself. As president and founder of the school, Howard set in stone his legacy for decades if not forever in the hearts and minds of the free black people of America.
The great educator and general of the Union army was laid to rest in Burlington, Vermont in 1909. Forever known as the man who defeated the Confederates in battle, and then reached out his hand to assist them after their defeat. This was the mark of an educated and decent type of man.