Rosecrans, William

Rosecrans, William (Starke)

(1819–98) soldier; born in Delaware County, Ohio. He graduated from West Point in 1842, endured a succession of routine assignments, and quit the army in 1854 to enter the business world. Returning to the service in June 1861, he rose rapidlly. His Army of the Cumberland withstood a savage Confederate attack at Stone's River in December 1862. After a brilliant campaign of maneuver, Rosecrans occupied Chattanooga in August 1863. A month later at Chickamauga, however, his army collapsed under a powerful Confederate assault, and he retreated into the Chattanooga defenses where the demoralized Rosecrans allowed himself to be besieged. Ulysses S. Grant relieved him in October 1863 and he never again commanded in battle. After the war, Rosecrans served as ambassador to Mexico from 1868 to 1869; he represented California as a Democrat in Congress from 1881 to 1885.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.