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Creating Two New Civil War Military Departments
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EDWARD DAVIS TOWNSEND. [CIVIL WAR]. Printed Document Signed, “General Orders No. 34.” War Department, Adjutant General’s Office, Washington, D.C., April 4, 1862. 1 p., 5 x 7½ in.

Inventory #22956       Price: $450


“ I.. That portion of Virginia and Maryland lying between the Mountain Department and the Blue Ridge, shall constitute a Military Department to be called the Department of the Shenandoah, and will be under the command of Major General Banks...”

II.. That portion of Virginia east of the Blue Ridge and west of the Potomac, and the Fredericksburg and Richmond Railroad, including the District of Columbia and the country between the Potomac and Patuxent, shall be a Military District to be called the Department of the Rappahannock, and be under the command of Major General McDowell.”

Historical Background

Edward Davis Townsend (1817-1893) was a Union officer from Massachusetts. He graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1837. In 1861, he was promoted to the rank of colonel and appointed chief of staff to Lieutenant General Winfield Scott. Townsend became assistant adjutant general of the army and served in that position until the end of the war. He was brevetted brigadier general in September 1864 and major general in March 1865 for “meritorious, faithful and distinguished services in the adjutant generals department during the rebellion.”

During the war, Townsend was the principal executive officer of the War Department and was more intimate with Abraham Lincoln and Secretary Stanton than any other military official. He originated the plan of a U.S. military prison, and established the prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Townsend was appointed Adjutant General of the U.S. Army in 1869 and served in that capacity until he retired in 1880.

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