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Elias Smith Dennis
Personal Information
Born: December 4, 1812(1812-12-04)
Place of Birth: {{{place of birth}}}
Died: December 17, 1894 (aged 82)
Place of Death: {{{place of death}}}
Nickname: {{{nickname}}}
Birth Name: {{{birth name}}}
Other Information
Allegiance: United States of America
Participation(s): {{{participations}}}
Branch: Union Army
Service Years: {{{service years}}}
Rank: Brigadier General
Service number : {{{servicenumber}}}
Unit: {{{unit}}}
Commands: District of Northeastern Louisiana
Battles: American Civil War
Awards: {{{awards}}}
Other work: {{{otherwork}}}

Elias Smith Dennis (December 4, 1812 – December 17, 1894) was a lawyer, politician, and soldier from the state of Illinois who served as a general in the Union Army during the American Civil War.

Early life and career[]

Dennis was born in Newburgh, New York, and grew up on Long Island. He moved to Carlyle, Illinois, in 1836. He married the Mary Kain Slade, the widow of Charles Slade, a U.S. Representative from Illinois.[1] One of his stepsons was future gunfighter Jack Slade.

Dennis served in the Illinois House of Representatives from 1842 to 1844 and was an Illinois State Senator from 1846 to 1848. In 1857, President James Buchanan appointed Dennis as U.S. Marshal of Kansas. He remained in office until the outbreak of the Civil War.

Civil War service[]

When the war began, Dennis was selected as the lieutenant colonel of the 30th Illinois Infantry. He participated in the capture of Fort Donelson, Tennessee. He was promoted to colonel in May 1862 and to brigadier general in November 1862, commanding a brigade of infantry in the Army of the Tennessee.

During the 1863 Vicksburg Campaign, he was accused of selling army provisions to the Confederates near Vicksburg while his own men were underfed.[2] In April 1863, he fought in the Battle of Port Gibson and in May 1863, at the Battle of Raymond. Later in May, he was placed in command of the District of Northeast Louisiana when guerillas were causing problems on the leased plantations there. Troops from his command participated in the Battle of Milliken's Bend in June, one of the first battles to involve United States Colored Troops.

He served as the commanding officer of the Union militia in Louisiana until the end of the war. Dennis was brevetted as a major general of U.S. Volunteers in March 1865.

Postbellum career[]

He was a parish judge and sheriff in Louisiana after the war. His estranged wife died in 1873, and two years later Dennis married a widow in Madison Parish who owned a plantation.[3] Dennis moved back to Carlyle, Illinois, in March 1887 and lived on a small farm with his son.

He died from pneumonia in Carlyle in 1894 and was buried in the City Cemetery.[1]

A bronze bust of Dennis was erected in 1915 on the Vicksburg National Military Park.[4]

See also[]

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32x28px United States Army portal
32x28px American Civil War portal


  1. 1.0 1.1 Elias Smith Dennis at Find a Grave Retrieved 2008-11-04.
  2. University of North Carolina library Retrieved 2008-11-04.
  3. Dennis biography at Retrieved 2008-11-04.
  4. Dennis statue Retrieved 2008-11-04.

Further reading[]

  • Wickliffe, Helen Sharp, Brigadier General Elias S. Dennis is Carlyle's Forgotten Hero of Civil War.