Howard, O. O. (Oliver Otis), 1830-1909

Alternative names
Birth 1830-11-08
Death 1909-10-26

Biographical notes:

U.S. Army officer, 1854-1894; commissioner, Freedman's Bureau, 1865-1872; first president, Howard University, 1869-1874.

From the description of Letter : Gov[ernor]'s I[slan]d, [N.Y.?], to Book Syndicate Press, [New York], N.Y., [18]90 Nov. 8. (Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library). WorldCat record id: 34089758

Union Army career officer; defeated at Chancellorsville and Gettysburg; b. in Leeds, Me.; retired in 1894 and afterwards became president of Howard University, Washington, D.C.; d. in Burlington, Vt.

From the description of Oliver Otis Howard pen and ink drawing of the Battle of Gettysburg, 1899. (Maine Historical Society Library). WorldCat record id: 300459246

Union Army general in the U.S. Civil War.

From the description of Letter, 1863 December 25. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 145407061

Howard was a U.S. Army officer, 1854-1894; commissioner of Freedmen's Bureau, 1865-1872; first president of Howard University, 1869-1874; and one of founders of Lincoln Memorial University, Harrogate, Tennessee.

From the description of Letter, November 30, 1907. (Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library). WorldCat record id: 122558049

Civil War general; founder of Howard University.

From the description of O. O. Howard letters to S. S. McClure [manuscript], 1890, 1893. (University of Virginia). WorldCat record id: 727948538

American army officer.

From the description of Autograph letter signed : Omaha, Neb., to J.M. Dalzell, 1883 03 06. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 269532736

From the description of Autograph letter signed : West Point, 1881 Jan. 27. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 269541067

From the description of Autograph letter signed : West Point, N.Y., to Wayne MacVeagh, 1881 Mar. 14. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 269541051

From the description of Autograph letter signed : Washington, to W.W. Belknap, 1872 July 1. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 269539504

From the description of Letter signed : Omaha, Nebraska, to J.M. Dalzell, 1885 Sept. 22. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 269553534

From the description of Autograph letter signed : Governor's Island, N.Y.C., to J.M. Dalzell, 1891 Feb. 26. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 269524962

Army officer.

From the description of Papers of O. O. Howard, 1865-1873. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 79451034

O. O. Howard, United States Army Officer, was born and educated in Maine. After graduating from West Point in 1855, he fought the Seminoles in Florida. During the Civil War, he rose to the rank of Brigadier General. When the war ended, he was appointed Commissioner of the newly created Freedmen's Bureau. After working to help the newly freed slaves, he became president of Howard University. He then became commander of the Department of the Columbia from 1874-81. Howard negotiated with the Nez Perce, but in 1876 he went to the field himself and escalated the army forces. In 1886 he became a major general and was assigned to command the Division of the East, where he remained until he retired in 1894.

From the description of O. O. Howard Correspondence, 1876-1878. (Spokane Public Library). WorldCat record id: 743076011

Commissioner of the Freedmen's Bureau, 1865-1872.

From the description of Papers, 1870. (Duke University Library). WorldCat record id: 41579867

Oliver Otis Howard was born in Leeds, Kennebec County, Maine, in 1830. A West Point graduate and U.S. Army officer; co-founder of Howard University, in Washington, D.C., and many others, including Lincoln Memorial University at Cumberland Gap, Tennessee. As head of the Freedmen's Bureau, he was a champion of the ex-slave. Engaged in two wars against American Indians: Nez Perce War (1877) and Piute and Bannock War (1878).

From the description of Papers, 1850-ca. 1925, (bulk 1890-1909). (Fisk University). WorldCat record id: 40195915

Army officer and educator; founder and president of Howard University; born in Maine; died in Vermont.

From the description of Oliver Otis Howard papers, 1850-1909. (Moorland-Spingarn Resource Center). WorldCat record id: 741811606

U.S. Army general.

From the description of Reports, 1863-1864. (Maine Historical Society Library). WorldCat record id: 70974649

Howard, Oliver Otis, 1830-1909

Rank : Maj. Gen.

Regiment : United States. Army--Corps, XI (1862-1865)

Oliver Otis Howard's war record is one of notoriously mixed success. A graduate of West Point with the class of 1854, Howard was teaching math at the Academy when he resigned his appointment to assume field command with the 3rd Maine Infantry in June, 1861. By September, he was promoted to Brigadier General, assuming command of the 2nd Division, II Corps during the Peninsular Campaign. Twice wounded at Fair Oaks, Howard lost his right arm, but continued in the service, and by November, 1862, he had been promoted to Major General commanding II Corps (January and February, 1863) and XI Corps (April-September, 1863).

During the period of Howard's command, and particularly while in Virginia, XI Corps was widely considered one of the least reliable and least effective Corps in the Army of the Potomac. Whether this reputation is deserved or not, at Chancellorsville, Howard was widely accused of having failed to capitalize on Lee's famous decision to split his forces and at Gettysburg, the collapse of XI Corps on the first day of fighting at Cemetery Hill resulted in over 4,000 men being captured, with many more straggling. In September, Howard's Corps was ordered to join the Army of the Cumberland, and remained under Sherman's command through the victorious Atlanta Campaign and the March to the Sea and March through the Carolina's.

Howard is as well remembered for his post-war activities as he is for his war-time exploits. Following work with the Freedmen's Bureau, he assisted in the founding of Howard University and became its president for five years. He later returned to active duty with the regular army, where he took part in suppressing Indian resistance in the plains states and southwest.

From the guide to the Oliver Otis Howard reports, Howard, Oliver Otis, 1863-1864, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)

  • 1830: Born in Leeds, Maine.
  • 1850: Graduated from Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine.
  • 1850 - 54 : Cadet at West Point, New York.
  • 1855: Married Elizabeth Ann Waite.
  • In command of Kennebec Arsenal, Maine.
  • 1856: Fought against Seminoles in Florida.
  • 1857 - 1861 : Ordered to West Point as Professor of Mathematics.
  • 1861: Colonel of 3rd Maine Volunteer Regiment in the War of Rebellion.
  • Promoted to Brigadier General of Volunteers.
  • 1862: Lost his right arm at Battle of Fair Oaks, Virginia.
  • 1863: Assigned by President to command 11th Corps, Army of the Potomac.
  • 1864: Assigned to command 4th Army Crops, Army of the Cumberland.
  • Assigned by President to the command of the Army and Department of the Tennessee.
  • 1865: Breveted Major-General in the regular Army for the Battle of Ezra Church, Atlanta, Georgia. Assigned to duty in War Department as Commissioner of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands.
  • 1869: Third President of Howard University.
  • 1870: Subjected to an investigation by members of the House of Representatives on charges of mishandling of funds of the Freedmen's Bureau, was acquitted by the House.
  • 1872: Chosen and sent by President Grant as Special Indian Commissioner to make peace with the Apache Indians of New Mexico and Arizona.
  • 1873: Resigned as President of Howard University.
  • 1874: Assigned to command the Department of the Columbia, part of the military district of the Pacific, including Oregon, Washington, Idaho and extended areas of Montana.
  • 1877 - 1878 : Engaged in two wars with Indians called the Nez Perce War and Piute and Bennock War in Oregon, Washington territory, Idaho and Montana.
  • 1879: Engaged in war with a tribe of Indians called the "Sheepeaters" Salmon River, Idaho.
  • 1880 - 81 : Assigned to West Point, N.Y., as Superintendent of U.S. Military Academy.
  • 1882: Assigned to command the Department of the Platte, headquarters at Omaha, Nebraska.
  • 1884: Received the decoration of "Chevalier" of the Legion of Honor from the President of the French Republic.
  • 1886: Promoted to Major-General in regular Army and passed into the military division of the Pacific, which includes the Department of the Columbia of California and Arizona.
  • 1888: Transferred to command the Military Division of the Atlantic.
  • Commanded the Department of the East, Governor's Island, N.Y.C.
  • 1894: Retired from the Army.
  • 1894 - 95 : Organized the Lincoln Memorial University at Harrogate, Tennessee.
  • Wrote memoirs in Portland, Oregon.
  • 1909: Died at Burlington, Vermont.

From the guide to the Oliver Otis Howard Collection, 1850-1906, (Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, Howard University)


Loading Relationships


Ark ID:


  • Missionary Ridge, Battle of, Tenn., 1863
  • Indians of North America
  • Lookout Mountain, Battle of, Tenn., 1863
  • Wauhatchie, Battle of, Wauhatchie, Tenn., 1863
  • Bannock Indians--Wars, 1878
  • Reconstruction (U.S. history, 1865-1877)
  • United States. Army--Corps, XI
  • Chattanooga, Battle of, Chattanooga, Tenn., 1863
  • Nez Perce Indians--Wars, 1877
  • Gettysburg, Battle of, Gettysburg, Pa., 1863
  • Chancellorsville, Battle of, Chancellorsville, Va., 1863
  • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Campaigns
  • Gettysburg, Battle of, Gettysburg, Pa., 1863--Drawings
  • Nez Perce Indians--Wars, 1877--Sources
  • Gettysburg Campaign, 1863


  • Army officers
  • Generals--United States


  • United States (as recorded)
  • Southwest, New (as recorded)
  • Pennsylvania (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Northwest, Pacific (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Knoxville (Tenn.) (as recorded)
  • West (U.S.) (as recorded)