James G. Blunt
[[Image:File:JasGBlunt.jpg|center|200px|border]]Brig. Gen. James G. Blunt
ca. 1862
Personal Information
Born: July 21, 1826(1826-07-21)
Place of Birth: {{{place of birth}}}
Died: July 27, 1881 (aged 55)
Place of Death: {{{place of death}}}
Nickname: {{{nickname}}}
Birth Name: {{{birth name}}}
Other Information
Allegiance: United States of America
Union
Participation(s): {{{participations}}}
Branch: United States Army
Union Army
Service Years: {{{service years}}}
Rank: Major General
Service number : {{{servicenumber}}}
Unit: {{{unit}}}
Commands: Army of Kansas
Army of the Frontier
District of the Frontier
Battles: American Civil War
Awards: {{{awards}}}
Relations: {{{relations}}}
Other work: {{{otherwork}}}


James Gillpatrick[1] (or Gilpatrick)[2] Blunt (July 21, 1826 – July 27, 1881) was a physician and abolitionist who rose to Union major general during the American Civil War.

Early life & career[edit | edit source]

Blunt was born in Trenton, Maine to John Blunt and Sally Gilpatrick Blunt[2] Blunt stayed on the farm until he was 14. He may have spent some time at the Ellsworth Military Academy in Ellsworth, Maine.[3] He became a sailor on a merchant vessel when he was 15, and attained the rank of captain at 20.

In 1845 he moved to Columbus, Ohio, and enrolled in Starling Medical College. His uncle, Dr. Rufus Gilpatrick was one of the instructors. Graduating in February, 1849, he moved to New Madison, Ohio and on January 15, 1850 married Nancy G. Putman. He practiced medicine and took an active role in county politics as a member of the Republican Party.[4]

In 1856 Blunt relocated to Anderson County, Kansas, following his uncle who had moved there several years earlier. He soon became involved in the conflict known as Bleeding Kansas. During a confrontation with the pro-slavery territorial government in 1857, Blunt joined a force including Jim Lane and abolitionist John Brown.[5]

Blunt was a key member of the Wyandotte constitutional convention that framed the Kansas state constitution in 1859, and served as chair of the committee on militia.[6]

Civil War[edit | edit source]

At the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, Blunt was appointed lieutenant colonel of the 2nd Kansas Volunteer regiment, a part of James Lane's Kansas Brigade. In April 1862, Blunt was appointed brigadier general of volunteers and given command of the Department and Army of Kansas. He ordered Colonel William Weer to lead the "Indian Expedition" in 1861 which succeeded in occupying Fort Gibson and arming three regiments of Native Americans. Blunt's forces were defeated in the First Battle of Newtonia, and the Army of Kansas was incorporated into the Army of the Frontier as the 1st Division. Blunt led his division of Cherokee and Kansas volunteers to victory at the Battle of Old Fort Wayne. In December 1862, Blunt's division was joined by the 2nd Division under Francis J. Herron. The combined forces met Confederates under Thomas C. Hindman at the Battle of Prairie Grove. While tactically a draw, the battle was a strategic victory for the Union.

Blunt was appointed major general of volunteers on March 16, 1863.[7] He was the only officer from Kansas to achieve that rank during the war.[8] He established Fort Baxter in May, 1863.

Blunt was appointed to command the District of the Frontier. He campaigned for control of the Indian Territory and won a victory at the Battle of Honey Springs, bringing much of the Indian Territory into Union control. In October 1863, while moving his headquarters from Fort Scott to Fort Smith a Confederate force under William C. Quantrill approached. Quantrill's Raiders routed and killed over 80 of Blunt's 100 escorts, including his adjutant Major Henry Curtis, son of Major General Samuel Curtis. These actions led to his removal from command of the District of the Frontier. In 1864, Blunt was able to redeem himself. Confederate Maj. Gen. Sterling Price began an invasion of Missouri and Blunt took command of the 1st Division of Army of the Border. He and the cavalry under Alfred Pleasonton fought delaying actions until Samuel R. Curtis brought the full strength of the army together and inflicted a defeat on Price at the Battle of Westport. Blunt's division inflicted the final defeat to Price at the Second Battle of Newtonia. Blunt commanded the District of South Kansas when the war ended.

Post war life & death[edit | edit source]

File:James G. Blunt - Brady-Handy.jpg

James G. Blunt in a post-war portrait

After the war, he settled in Leavenworth, Kansas and resumed his medical practice, but he also was admitted to the Kansas bar as a lawyer. He moved to Washington, D.C. in 1869 where he practiced his new profession.[9]

Blunt's behaviour became erratic in 1879 and he was committed to an asylum. He died two years later with the cause of death given as "softening of the brain." His body was returned to Leavenworth and is buried in the Mount Muncie Cemetery.[10]

In Culture[edit | edit source]

James Blunt appears briefly in Rifles for Watie, a novel by Harold Keith about a young Union soldier from Kansas fighting the Civil War in Indian Territory and the surrounding states. It includes a description of the Battle of Prairie Grove.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. General Blunt's Account of His Civil War Experiences
  2. 2.0 2.1 Collins, Robert, General James G. Blunt: Tarnished Glory, Pelican Publishing, 2005, page 15
  3. Collins, Robert, General James G. Blunt: Tarnished Glory, Pelican Publishing, 2005, page 16
  4. Collins, Robert, General James G. Blunt: Tarnished Glory, Pelican Publishing, 2005, page 17
  5. Collins, Robert, General James G. Blunt: Tarnished Glory, Pelican Publishing, 2005, pages 19-21
  6. Collins, Robert, General James G. Blunt: Tarnished Glory, Pelican Publishing, 2005, pages 25, 26
  7. Warner, Ezra, Generals in Blue, LSU Press, 2002, page 38
  8. Collins, Robert, General James G. Blunt: Tarnished Glory, Pelican Publishing, 2005, page 11
  9. Collins, Robert, General James G. Blunt: Tarnished Glory, Pelican Publishing, 2005, page 218
  10. Collins, Robert, General James G. Blunt: Tarnished Glory, Pelican Publishing, 2005, page 220-222

General Blunt's Account of His Civil War Experiences at the Kansas Historical Quarterly online, May, 1932 (Vol. 1, No. 3), pages 211 to 265 (accessed October 27, 2007)

External links[edit | edit source]

Template:Start box |- ! colspan="3" style="background: #CF9C65;" | Military offices

|- style="text-align: center;" |- style="text-align:center;" |width="30%" align="center" rowspan="1"|Preceded by
John Schofield |width="40%" style="text-align: center;" rowspan="1"|Commander of the Army of the Frontier
1863 |width="30%" align="center" rowspan="1"| Succeeded by
Francis Herron |- |}

de:James G. Blunt

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