Born at Ferrisburg, Vermont, July 21, 1815. He was appointed to West Point at the age of 21 and graduated in 1840, 9th in his class. He served in the Artillery until 1847, when he became Captain in the Quartermaster Corps. In the Mexican War, he was present at Monterrey and Vera Cruz. He was then in charge of building posts on the Oregon Trail in the late 1840s and 1850s and aided in fitting out the Utah Expedition of 1857.
At the outbreak of the Civil War, he was stationed at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He was promoted to Major in August 1861 and acted as Chief Quartermaster of the Army of the Potomac from August 20 to July 10, 1862, when he was relieved at his own request.
He had been appointed Brigadier General of Volunteers on September 23, 1861, but the commission expired on July 17, 1862, a week after his relief.
For the remainder of the war he was on duty in New York City furnishing transportation and supplies. In October 1864 he was brevetted through all ranks to Brigadier General, U.S. Army, and in 1865 was brevetted Major General, U.S. Army, to rank from March 13, and brevetted Major General from that same date.
He then served as Deputy Quartermaster General with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 1866 and Assistant Quartermaster General, with the rank of Colonel six years later. Meanwhile he had served as Chief Quartermaster of various military departments and divisions until his retirement for age in 1881.
He remained in retirement in Washington, D.C. where he died on March 28, 1901He was buried in Section 2 of Arlington National Cemetery. His wife, Sarah J. Van Vliet, who died on May 17, 1917, is buried with him.
NOTE: His son, Robert Campbell Van Vliet, Brigadier General, United States Army, and his grandson, Robert Campbell Van Vliet, Jr., Colonel, United States Army, are also buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
VAN VLIET, SARAH J W/O STEWART
- DATE OF DEATH: 05/07/1917
- BURIED AT: SECTION E (NS SITE 1009
- ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
- WIFE OF STEWART VAN VLIET, MAJ GEN US ARMY RETD
VAN VLIET, STEWART
- MAJ GEN US ARMY RETD
- DATE OF DEATH: 03/28/1901
- BURIED AT: SECTION E SS SITE 1009
- ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
Washington – General Stewart Van Vliet, one of the oldest of the retired officers of the United States Army and a member of the famous class of 1840 of the Military Academy at West Point, died at his residence in this city to-day. His death removes a unique figure from Washington, for there was hardly a resident of the capital who did not know him by sight. He was a man of considerable wealth, and since his retirement, under the age limit, had been a liberal entertainer. He accumulated a remarkable collection of pictures and objects of art. He was a member of a number of military and patriotic organizations.
General Van Vliet was born in Vermont Jan 21, 1815. He was First Captain of Cadets when General Grant was a “plebe,” and General Grant used to say in later years that he was at the time in doubt as to whether Napoleon or Capt. Van Vliet was the greater man. Gen. Van Vliet graduated ninth in his class. he saw service in the Seminole war, and then went through the Mexican war with the Third United States Artillery. He was in command of the company which led the charge that won the day at Monterey and received the sword of Gen. Ampuclos. He participated in the battle of Blue Water, when General Harney finally defeated the Sioux Indians. He fitted out General Albert Sidney Johnston's expedition against the Mormons, who were in open revolt against the United States, and after it started was ordered to go on ahead and communicate with Brigham Young. He made a wonderfully rapid 1,000-mile drive from Leavenworth to Salt Lake City, traveling with his escort of thirty soldiers, in light wagons. On approaching Utah several travelers urged him to turn back, as the Mormons had threatened his life. He was so much impressed by these warnings that he left his little force 150 miles from Salt Lake City, in order not to endanger their lives, and rode into the Mormon stronghold alone. He was treated courteously, and the trouble was settled without bloodshed.
Gen. Van Vliet was Chief Quartermaster of the Army of the Potomac during the civil war. His last service was as a member of the Retiring Board at Washington in 1879. He received four brevets in the course of his career.
Source: New York Times, Mar 29, 1901
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