James Winning McMillan was born at Clark County, Kentucky, April 28, 1825. A wanderer, who was never in one place for long. He fought in Mexican War as a Sergeant of the 4th Illinois Infantry and later as a Private in a battalion of Louisiana Volunteers; he was honorably discharged in 1848, went to Indiana and engaged in business at various and sundry places.
In 1861 the 21st Indiana Volunteer Infantry was organized at Indianapolis and he was made its Colonel. In February 1863 this regiment was named the 1st Indiana Heavy Artillery. The following spring the regiment took part in Benjamin F. Butler's occupation of New Orleans and on August 5, 1862, it sustained 126 casualties while aiding in defense of Baton Rouge against the attack by John C. Breckinridge. His command was next stationed at Berwick Bay until February 1863; on April 4, 1863, he was promoted to Brigadier General to rank from November 29, 1862. From March to May 1864, he commanded a Brigade, and at times the 1st Division, of Emory's XIX Corps, in Nathan P. Banks' ill-fated Red River Expedition. During the expedition he fought gallantly at Mansfield, Pleasant Hill, and Monett's Ferry; at the battle of Mansfield (Sabine Cross-Roads) the 1st Division did much to stem the panicky Federal retreat from the battlefield.
In July 1864, the XIX Corps was ordered to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia to serve under Philip Sheridan; now in permanent command of the Division, McMillan fought well at Winchester and at Cedar Creek, and his greatest day when the savage assault of Jubal Early's Confederates threatened for a time to rout Sheridan's whole army. The lightly regarded XIX Corps was driven from its camp, but he deployed his Division so as to give the troops in the rear an opportunity to form a front. Following this campaign he commanded the 1st Division of the Department of West Virginia with headquarters at Grafton until the end of war.
In March 1865 McMillan was breveted Major General and he resigned his commission in May. After war he resided for a time in Kansas, but in 1875 was appointed a Member of a Board of Review in the Pension Office in Washington, D.C. He held this position until his death on March 9, 1903.
He was buried with full military honors in Section 3, Grave 1409, of Arlington National Cemetery. His wife, Minerva A. McMillian (1828-1916) is buried with him.
MCMILLAN, JAMES W
COL 1 INDIANA HEAVY ART
- DATE OF DEATH: 03/09/1903
- BURIED AT: SECTION SOU D SITE 1409
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
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