Stevens, Isaac Ingalls, 1818-1862

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1818-03-25
Death 1862-09-01
English

Biographical notes:

Graduate of West Point who served in Mexican War. Indian agent, Governor and delegate to Congress for Washington Territory. Chairman of the National Democratic Executive Committee in 1860. Major General in Union Army and killed at Chantilly, Va. in 1862.

From the description of Letter, Aug. 9, 1860. (Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library). WorldCat record id: 55662318

Born 1818 in Andover, Mass.; graduate of West Point; served in Mexican War, 1846-47; Indian agent for Washington Territory; chief of Northern Pacific Railroad survey; governor of Washington Territory, 1853; territorial delegate to Congress, 1857; major general in Union Army; killed at Chantilly, Va. in 1862.

From the description of Isaac I. Stevens letters, 1853-1858. (Eugene Public Library). WorldCat record id: 44674600

Isaac Stevens was born in Andover, MA. He graduated form West Point and received a commission in the army engineers in 1839. Stevens served in the Mexican War, 1846-1847. He was appointed Indian agent for Washington Territory, chief of the Northern Pacific Railroad survey, and governor of Washington Territory, 1853. As governor, Stevens negotiated a series of seven treaties with the Indians of eastern and western Washington. In 1857 he was elected territorial delegate to Congress. During the Civil War he became a major general in the Union army and was killed at the battle of Chantilly, VA in 1862.

From the guide to the Isaac I. Stevens Papers, 1835-1908, (Eastern Washington State Historical Society/Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture Joel E. Ferris Research Library and Archives)

General Isaac Ingalls Stevens graduated from West Point and served in the Engineer Corps of the Army until 1853. He resigned to become governor of Washington Territory and also served as superintendent of Indian affairs until 1857. Stevens was appointed director of the survey of a northern route for a Pacific railroad.

From the description of Isaac Ingalls Stevens papers, 1848-1859. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 702126629

Gov. of Washington; Union general.

From the description of Autograph letter signed : "Str. North Star," to Hon. Robert McClelland, Sec'y of the Interior, 1854 Sept. 23. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270575352

Isaac Ingalls Stevens (1818-62) was the first governor of the Washington Territory (1853-57) and represented the territory in Congress from 1857-61. He was an enthusiastic proponent of westward expansion and an early booster of the commercial potential of the Pacific Northwest. He served with distinction with the U.S. Corps of Engineers under General Winfield Scott in the Mexican War in 1847. As superintendent of the government survey of a northern route for a transcontinental railroad in 1853 and as the first governor of Washington, he played an important part in promoting the settlement of the Pacific Northwest. His handling of Indian affairs in the territory, particularly the Indian War of 1855, was controversial even at the time and earned him a reprimand from President Franklin Pierce. The treaties he signed resulted in the rapid removal of the Indian population to reservations. They also established Native American fishing rights and became the basis of subsequent negotiations between the state and the Native American population. He married Margaret Lyman Hazard of Newport on September 8, 1841. They had five children: Hazard, Virginia, Kate, Maude, and Susan. After Stevens was named the first governor of Washington Territory, he arrived in Olympia WA to begin his term as governor on November 25, 1853. From 1857 to 1861, Stevens represented the Washington Territory in Congress and worked for ratification of the Indian treaties he had brokered there. When the Civil War began, Stevens entered the Union Army as colonel of the 79th Regiment of New York Volunteers, known as the Highlanders. His success in bringing discipline to the mutinous regiment contributed to his commission as brigadier general from Washington Territory in September 1861. He commanded a division at the Second Battle of Bull Run and the Battle of Chantilly, where he was killed on September 1, 1862. Stevens is buried in Newport, Rhode Island.

From the description of Isaac Ingalls Stevens papers, 1835-1972 1835-1862. (Washington State Library, Office of Secretary of State). WorldCat record id: 262845931

Army officer, surveyor, member of Congress, and first governor of Washington Territory.

Isaac I. Stevens was born in Andover, Massachusetts, in 1818. After graduating from West Point in 1839, he was commissioned as second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Stevens married Margaret Hazard in 1841 and served under General Winfield Scott in the Mexican War in 1847. President Franklin Pierce appointed Isaac Stevens the first governor of Washington Territory (1853-1857). Stevens's handling of Indian affairs in the territory, particularly the Indian War of 1855, was controversial. The treaties he signed resulted in the rapid removal of the Indian population to reservations. They also established Native American fishing rights and became the basis of later negotiations between the state and the Native American population. Stevens, an enthusiastic proponent of westward expansion and a commercial booster of the Pacific Northwest, also represented the territory as a member of Congress from 1857-1861. During the Civil War, he served under General Thomas W. Sherman and was killed during the Battle of Chantilly on September 1, 1862.

From the description of Isaac I. Stevens papers, 1831-1892 (bulk 1831-1862). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 50406395

Isaac Ingalls Stevens was appointed Indian Agent for Washington Territory, chief of the Northern Pacific railroad survey, and Governor of Washington Territory in 1853.

John Mix Stanley was a painter and landscape draftsman who was the official artist on numerous United States government expeditions, including the government-sponsored railroad survey to the Pacific in 1853-54.

From the description of Isaac Ingalls Stevens letters to John Mix Stanley, 1853 May 29-Jun 2. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 81674753

Isaac Ingalls Stevens was appointed Indian Agent for Washington Territory, chief of the Northern Pacific railroad survey, and Governor of Washington Territory in 1853.

John Mix Stanley was a painter and landscape draftsman who was the official artist on numerous United States government expeditions, including the government-sponsored railroad survey to the Pacific in 1853-54.

From the description of Isaac Ingalls Stevens letters to John Mix Stanley, 1853 May 29-Jun 2. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 702150660

Isaac Ingalls Stevens (1818-62) was the first governor of the Washington Territory (1853-57) and represented the territory in Congress from 1857-61. He was an enthusiastic proponent of westward expansion and an early booster of the commercial potential of the Pacific Northwest. He served with distinction with the U.S. Corps of Engineers under General Winfield Scott in the Mexican War in 1847. As superintendent of the government survey of a northern route for a transcontinental railroad in 1853 and as the first governor of Washington, he played an important part in promoting the settlement of the Pacific Northwest. His handling of Indian affairs in the territory, particularly the Indian War of 1855, was controversial even at the time and earned him a reprimand from President Franklin Pierce. The treaties he signed resulted in the rapid removal of the Indian population to reservations. They also established Native American fishing rights and became the basis of subsequent negotiations between the state and the Native American population.

Isaac Stevens was born on March 28, 1818, in North Andover, Massachusetts. He attended Phillips Academy in Andover and graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1839, the first in his class. In 1840 he was commissioned second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Between 1840 and 1853, he worked on coastal defenses in Newport, Rhode Island, New Bedford, Massachusetts, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and Portland and Bucksport, Maine. He married Margaret Lyman Hazard of Newport on September 8, 1841. They had five children: Hazard, Virginia, Kate, Maude, and Susan.

Stevens spent most of 1847 with the engineer corps in General Winfield Scott’s Mexico campaign. After the siege of Vera Cruz, he was made adjutant to Major John L. Smith, commander of the engineer corps attached to Scott’s army. The nine-member engineer corps selected sites for fortifications, constructed field works, and provided information about unfamiliar terrain and enemy positions. The contributions of corps members Robert E. Lee, P.G.T. Beauregard, and George B. McClellan to the success of the Mexican campaign are well known, but Stevens’s contributions have received less attention. Stevens saw action at Cerro Gordo, Contreras, Churubusco, and Chapultepec, where he was seriously wounded on September 13. He was promoted to brevet captain for gallant and meritorious conduct at the Battles of Contreras and Churubusco and brevet major for the wound he took at Chapultepec.

After the war, Stevens returned to Bucksport, Maine, where he continued supervising construction of Fort Knox. In 1849, he moved to Washington, D.C., to become assistant in charge of the U.S. Coast Survey under survey director Alexander Bache, a fellow army engineer. As Bache’s assistant, Stevens ran the Washington office of the survey from 1849 to 1853. He reorganized the office into eight divisions, increased staff and improved efficiency, and served as the liaison between the survey and Congress and the public.

While he was living in Washington, Stevens also lobbied Congress on behalf of the army and the Army Corps of Engineers. In this capacity, he oversaw passage of the Fourteen Year Bill, which sped promotions for young officers. In 1851, he subsidized publication of 1,000 copies of a short book, Campaigns of the Rio Grande and Mexico, a defense of General Scott’s role in the war.

Frustrated with his prospects for advancement in the army during peacetime, Stevens decided to seek his future in politics and the West. He campaigned for Democratic presidential nominee Franklin Pierce in 1852, writing a series of letters to the Boston Post and a pamphlet defending Pierce’s war record. He also stumped for Pierce during the final weeks of the campaign. In return, Pierce named Stevens governor of the Washington Territory on March 17, 1853. Stevens also lobbied for the job of organizing and leading a government survey party to explore a northern route for a transcontinental railroad. Secretary of War Jefferson Davis appointed Stevens superintendent of the survey in March 1853. Stevens spent the next three months organizing the expedition, which set out from St. Paul in June. The party traveled west through the Dakotas, Montana, and Idaho and arrived at Ft. Vancouver on November 19, 1853. The survey identified the first rail route from St. Paul to the Puget Sound and gathered information about the region’s topography, geography, flora, and fauna, identifying several previously unknown species. Survey artists John Mix Stanley and Gustavus Sohon created a pictorial record of the expedition that included some of the first graphic representations of the regions explored. The survey report was published in 1859.

Stevens arrived in Olympia to begin his term as governor on November 25, 1853. As governor, he convened a territorial legislature, settled claims to the territory by the Hudson Bay Company, petitioned Congress for funds to purchase land for a university, and established a territorial library. As superintendent of Indian affairs in the territory he oversaw the implementation of U.S. government policy toward Native Americans, which resulted in their removal to small reservations. When an Indian war erupted east of the Cascades in 1855, Stevens authorized a strong military response. West of the mountains, he instigated attacks on the Hudson Bay Company settlers, who had intermarried with the native population. In April 1856, after removing settlers whom he believed to be aiding the enemy and placing them in the military's custody, Stevens declared martial law in Pierce County to ensure a military trial. A declaration for Thurston County soon followed. However, only the territorial legislature possesed the authority to declare martial law, and a bitter political and legal battle ensued. Stevens was forced to repeal the declaration and fight subsequent calls for his removal.

From 1857 to 1861, Stevens represented the Washington Territory in Congress and worked for ratification of the Indian treaties he had brokered there. He was active in the presidential campaign of 1860 and a delegate to the Democratic national conventions in Charleston in April and Baltimore in June. He supported the candidacy of John Breckinridge and was appointed chairman of the Democratic National Party Executive Committee in Baltimore.

When the Civil War began, Stevens entered the Union Army as colonel of the 79th Regiment of New York Volunteers, known as the Highlanders. His success in bringing discipline to the mutinous regiment contributed to his commission as brigadier general from Washington Territory in September 1861. Assigned to the command of General Thomas W. Sherman, Stevens spent the first year of the war in coastal South Carolina and took part in the bombardment of Port Royal, near Charleston, in November 1861. On June 16, 1862, he commanded the main assult force in the Battle of Secessionville, fought on St. James Island. In August 1862, he joined General John Pope's forces at Culpeper Courthouse, Virginia, passing through Newport News and Fredericksburg on his way. He commanded a division at the Second Battle of Bull Run and the Battle of Chantilly, where he was killed on September 1, 1862. Stevens is buried in Newport, Rhode Island.

From the guide to the Isaac I. Stevens Papers, 1831-1892, 1831-1862, (University of Washington Libraries Special Collections)

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Subjects:

  • Indians of North America--Government relations
  • Generals--Correspondence
  • Expeditions and Adventure
  • Pacific railroads--Explorations and surveys
  • Railroads--Surveying
  • Government and Politics
  • Pacific Northwest History
  • Railroads--Washington (State)
  • Soldiers--United States--Social conditions--19th century
  • Railroads--Surveys
  • Railroads--Washington (State)--History
  • Yakama Indians--Wars, 1855-1859
  • Mexican War, 1846-1848--Personal narratives
  • Soldiers--Social conditions--19th century
  • Territorial Government
  • Indians of North America--Treaties
  • Indians of North America--Washington (State)--Treaties
  • Indians of North America
  • Indian reservations--Maps
  • Miltary
  • Railroads--History
  • Pioneers
  • Mexican War, 1846-1848--United States
  • Salish Indians
  • Governors--Archives
  • Pacific railroads--Exploration and surveys
  • Railroads
  • Governor--Correspondence
  • Military
  • Governors--Washington (State)--Archives
  • Dakota Indians--Government relations
  • Artists
  • Military education--United States
  • Rogue River Indian War, 1855-1856
  • Pacific Coast Indians, Wars with, 1847-1865
  • Indians of North America--Wars--1815-1875
  • Indians of North America--Northwest, Pacific
  • International relations
  • Indians of North America--Idaho
  • Diaries
  • Native Americans
  • Transportation
  • Washington (State)
  • Indians of North America--Washington (State)

Occupations:

  • Public officers--Washington (State)
  • Soldiers--Washington (State)
  • Soldiers--United States
  • Lawyers--Washington (State)
  • Politicians--Washington (State)
  • Governors--Washington (State)
  • Indian agents--Washington (State)
  • Artists--19th century.--United States

Places:

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  • Washington Territory (as recorded)
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  • West Point (N.Y.) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Washington Territory (as recorded)
  • Washington (State) (as recorded)
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  • Washington (State) (as recorded)
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  • Minnesota (as recorded)
  • Washington Territory (as recorded)
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  • Northwest, Pacific (as recorded)
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  • Nisqually Indian Tribe of the Nisqually Reservation, Washington (as recorded)
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  • Northwest, Pacific (as recorded)
  • New York (State) (as recorded)