John Sanford Mason was born at Steubenville, Ohio, August 21, 1824. After attending local schools he was appointed to the United States Military Academy in 1843. From his graduation in 1847 until he retired 41 years later at the statuary age of 64, he pursued exclusively a military career.
His service began with garrison duty in Tampico during Mexican War and ended with the Colonelcy of the 9th United States Infantry at Fort Whipple, Arizona. In the interval served in such widely separated posts as Fort Adams at Newport, Rhode Island, San Diego, California, and Fort Vancouver, Washington, D.C., where he was stationed when the Civil War broke out.
In October 1861 he was appointed Colonel of the 4th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, a regiment with which he fought in western Virginia during the fall and winter under command of General James Shields. In McClellan's Peninsular Campaign he served briefly at Harrison's Landing. Not mentioned in Official Records again until Fredericksburg, where he commanded a Brigade of Sedgewick's II Corps of “Right Grand Division.” He had been promoted to Brigadier General November 28, 1862, although listed at Fredericksburg as a Colonel, and in April 1863, was assigned to muster and recruit duty, first in Ohio, and for the last two years of the war in California and Nevada.
In 1865 he was breveted through grades to that of Brigadier General, United States Army. He was promoted to Major of the 17th United States Infantry in 1864, and stood duty in a number of posts on western frontier in the 1870's and the 1880's, receiving promotion to Lieutenant Colonel in 1873 and Colonel in 1883. His stations included the states and territories of Texas, New Mexico, Wyoming, Washington, D.C., Ohio, and Arizona.
After he retired in 1888, he resided in Washington, D.C. where he died November 29, 1897. He was buried with full military honors in Section 1, Grave 541, of Arlington National Cemetery.
DEATH OF COLONEL JOHN S. MASON
Veteran of the Mexican and Civil Wars Ends Long And Distinguished Career
WASHINGTON, November 20, 1897 – Colonel John S. Mason, USA, retires, died tonight at 10:25 at his residence, 1410 N Street, this city. He had suffered from general paralysis and his death was not unexpected. The body will be interred at Arlington and the arrangements will be completed after the arrival of his son, Captain Charles Mason, who is stationed at Fort Sheridan.
Colonel Mason leaves a widow and a daughter-in-law, Mrs. J. S. Mason, Jr., who is a daughter of General Ord. Captain J. S. Mason, Jr. perished at Pine Ridge from exposure in the line of duty. A stepdaughter is the wife of Mr. John F. Waggaman of this city.
Colonel Mason had a distinguished career in the Army. He was born seventy-three years ago and entered West Point in 1847 and saw service in the Mexican War. In the Civil War he was twice brevetted for bravery in action. The first time was at Fredericksburg, where he led the attack. The second time was at Antietam, where he was brevetted a Brigadier General.
He was Adjutant General of the Department of Texas and after the war was Provost of the Pacific coast.
Colonel Mason was a cousin of President Garfield’s wife and during the Garfield administration was Deputy Governor of the Soldiers Home at Washington.
He was a Colonel of the Ninth Infantry, USA, when he was retired in 1888. After his retirement Colonel Mason lived quietly in Washington. He was twice married.
Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard