Edwin Franklin Townsend – Brigadier General, United States Army

Born at New York City, July 14, 1833. He graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, in 1854. He married Mary Jane Wadhams, February 8, 1858, and married a second time to Katherine Claire Durant, April 19, 1899.

He was breveted Second Lieutenant, 3rd U.S. Artillery, July 1, 1854 and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant January 31, 1855. He resigned from the service on March 14, 1856. At the outbreak of the Civil War he was commissioned a First Lieutenant, 14th U.S. Infantry, May 14, 1861. He transferred to the 25th U.S. Infantry, September 21, 1866. He was promoted to Major, 27th Infantry, June 22, 1868. He was transferred to the 9th U.S. Infantry, March 15, 1869 and was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, 11th U.S. Infantry, March 20, 1879, and to Colonel, 12th U.S. Infantry, October 13, 1886. He was retired at his own request, being over 62 years of age, October 1, 1895. He was advanced to Brigadier General, retired, by an Act of April 23, 1904.

He was breveted Major, April 7, 1862, for gallant and meritorious conduct in battle of Shiloh, and was breveted Lieutenant Colonel March 13, 1865, for continued and faithful service in the Ordnance Department. In the Civil War he served in the Department of the Cumberland, 1861-62, in the Tennessee and Mississippi Campaigns, commanding a battalion (Army of the Ohio), engaged in the march to Nashville, Pittsburgh Landing, battle of Shiloh, siege of Corinth, etc., and in command of ordnance depot at Nashville, Tennessee, 1862-65.

Afterward he served in various duties in the South and on the Western Frontier until his retirement. He made his home in Washington, D.C. where he died in 1909. He was buried with full military honors in Section 1 of Arlington National Cemetery.

His first wife, Mary Jane Wadhams Townsend, who died at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas on January 18, 1893, is buried with him.


WASHINGTON, August 16, 1909 – Brigadier General Edwin Franklin Townsend, USA, retired, died at his home in this city yesterday of apoplexy.  He was born in New York in 1835, and graduated from the West Point Military Academy in 1852 at the same class as Generals Hood, McPherson and Howard.  After serving as instructor at West Point for four years he resigned his commission and practiced law in Milwaukee until the outbreak of the Civil War.  He re-entered the Army as a Captain of the Sixteenth Infantry Regiment.  For the first year of the war he served in the Department of the Cumberland and later commanded a battalion of the Army of the Ohio.  He participated in the battle of Shiloh and in the siege of Corinth.  He retired from the Army in 1895 with the rank of Brigadier General. He will be buried tomorrow in Arlington Cemetery.

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