Frederick Tracy Dent – Brigadier General, United States Army


Frederick Tracy Dent was born on a family farm near St Louis, Missouri, Dec 17, 1820.

He entered the United States Military Academy at the age of 19 and graduated 33th in class of 1843. Of the class’ 39 members, 27 were living in 1861, 15 of whom became General Officers of full rank in Union or Confederate armies. One was U.S. Grant, whom Dent introduced to his sister who later became Mrs Grant.

His army career at various frontier posts was credible, and in course of Mexican War he received two brevets for gallant and meritorious conduct, being badly wounded at Molino del Rey.

At the outbreak of the Civil War, he was Captain of the 9th Infantry, stationed in San Francisco, where he remained until March 1863, when was promoted to Major of the 4th Infantry and ordered to duty in the East. He was stationed in New York City and served on a military commission to try prisoners of state until spring of 1864, when Grant, then a Lieutenant General, appointed him “Aide-de-Camp to the  General-in-Chief,” with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. At close of war served briefly as military governor of Richmond and was made Brigadier General of Volunteers to rank from April 5, 1865, as well as a Brigadier General by brevet in the Regular Army.

As a Colonel of staff he served as President Grant’s military secretary until 1873, when he was assigned to the command of Fort Trumball, New London, Connecticut with rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He ret, as Colonel of the 3rd Artillery, December 1, 1883, “upon his own application, having served over 40 years.”

He then established his residence in Washington, DC, but five years later moved to Denver, Colorado, where one of sons was practicing law. He died there December 23, 1892.

The inscription on his grave marker reciting his Regular Army rank of “Colonel, US Army,” and ignoring his Volunteer rank he also held. Because of the many Volunteer commissions issued from 1861 to 1865, many “old Army” officers prized their regular commissions above their temporary commissions of higher grade in the volunter service. (Note: Frederick Rogers Dent, Jr., USMA 1929, AirCorps, WWII).

He was buried with full military honors in Section 2, Grave 3844-WS, Arlington Nattional Cemetery.

His son-in-law, Lafayette E. Campbell, Colonel, United States Army, is also buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

A second son-in-law, Courtland Nixon, Colonel, United States Army, is also buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Frederick Tracy Dent, soldier, born in White Haven, St. Louis County, Missouri, 17 December 1820. He was graduated at the U. S. military academy in 1843, made brevet 2d lieutenant, and served on frontier duty and in garrison prior to the Mexican war, which he entered in 1847. He was engaged in the siege of Vera Cruz, the capture of San Antonio, and the battles of Churubuseo, where he was severely wounded, and Molino del Rey, receiving for gallant and meritorious conduct the brevets of 1st lieutenant and captain. He served thereafter on the Pacific railroad survey, on frontier duty in Idaho, in removing the Seminole Indians, and at various points in Texas, Virginia, and Washington territory, until he joined the Yakima expedition in 1856. He participated in the Spokane expedition in Washington territory, being engaged in the combat of “Four Lakes” in 1858, in that of Spokane Plain in the same year, and in the skirmish on that river. After frontier duty at Fort Walla Walla he became a member of the Snake River, Oregon, expedition, to rescue the survivors of the massacre of Sahnon Fall (1860), at which time, 1863, he was promoted to the rank of major, and was in command of a regiment in the Army of the Potomac in 1863, in New York City called to suppress anticipated riots, from September 1863, till January 1864, serving as a member of the military commission for the trial of state prisoners from January till March 1864, becoming then a staff officer with Lieutenant General Grant, having the rank of lieutenant colonel.

Aide-de-camp during Grant’s whole time as lieutenant general, he was present in the battles and military operations of the Richmond campaign, and as military commander of the City of Richmond, and of the garrison of Washington, D. C., in 1865, and on the staff of the general-in-chief at Washington after 1866, as colonel, aide-de-camp, and secretary to President Grant during his first term. For his gallant and meritorious services in the field during the civil war he was brevetted brigadier general U. S. A. and brigadier general of volunteers. He was transferred to the 14th infantry in 1866, was made lieutenant colonel of the 32d infantry in 1867, colonel of the 1st artillery in 1881, and at his own request, after forty years of service, was retired in December 1883.


WASHINGTON, December 24, 1892 – General Frederick T. Dent, a distinguished Union soldier and brother-in-law of General U. S. Grant, died yesterday at Denver, Colorado.

General Dent was born in Missouri in 1820.  He was appointed to West Point from that State in 1839.  He was graduated in the class of ’43, and was made Second Lieutenant of the Sixth Infantry.  He served on the frontier until the breaking out of the Mexican War.  He was engaged in the siege of Vera Cruz and the capture of San Antonio in the year 1847.  He was made a First Lieutenant August 20, 1847 for gallant and meritorious conduct on the fields of Contreras and Churubusco in Mexico.  On September 8 of the same year he was severely wounded at the battle of Molino del Rey.  For gallantry that day he was brevetted Captain.

General Dent was engaged in active service with the Ninth Infantry during the Indian outbreaks from 1856 to 1861.  He served during the late war with valor.  He was promoted to the post of Major of the Fourth Infantry March 9, 1863.  From September 10, 1863 to January 17, 1864 he was in this city with his command to suppress anticipated riots.

On March 29, 1864 he was Aide de Camp, with the title of Lieutenant Colonel on the staff of General Grant.  He was present at the battles and military operations of the Richmond campaign.  He was military commander of the city of Richmond in 1864 and 1865.  Since the close of the war General Dent has been assigned to posts in Connecticut and Florida.  He was retired from active service upon his own application December 1, 1883, having served over forty years.

General Dent was known as a cool and brave soldier.  During his Mexican campaigns he was known to his comrades as “Jerry Dent,” and was much beloved and respected.

For the past four years he has lived a retired life in Denver, Colorado.  At the time of his death he was seventy-two years of age.  The remains will be interred in the military cemetery at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.


  • DATE OF DEATH: 12/23/1892

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