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Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century biographies contain errors and bias. We rely on volunteers to edit the historic biographies on a continual basis. If you would like to edit this biography please submit a rewritten biography in text form . If acceptable, the new biography will be published above the 19th Century Appleton's Cyclopedia Biography citing the volunteer editor





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Alexander Macomb

MACOMB, Alexander, merchant, born in Belfast, Ireland, 27 July, 1748; died in Georgetown, D. C., in 1832. He emigrated to the United States in his youth, became a fur-merchant in Detroit, and was associated with John Jacob Astor, Elias Kane, and others. He subsequently removed to New York, and was engaged in shipping and speculations in landed estate, buying large tracts in Georgia, Kentucky, and North Carolina. In 1791 he bought of the state of New York 3,670,715 acres at about one shilling (one eighth of a dollar) an acre, on St. Lawrence river, including all the Thousand Islands that belonged to New York. This tract is known as "Macomb's purchase."--His son, Alexander, soldier, born in Detroit, Michigan, 3 April, 1782; died in Washington, D. C., 25 June, 1841, entered the army as a cornet of cavalry in 1799, was retained in the service after the partial disbanding of troops in 1802, became captain in 1805 and major in 1808, and at the beginning of the war of 1812 held the rank of lieutenant-colonel of engineers, and adjutant-general of the army. Finding his position unlikely to bring" him into active service, he was transferred to the artillery, and in 1813, as colonel of the 3d regiment of artillery, did effective service at Niagara and at Fort George. He was promoted brigadier-general in 1814, and placed in command of the northern frontier, bordering on Lake Champlain. At Plattsburg on 11 September of this year, while in command of 1,500 regular troops and some detachments of militia, he sustained the attack of a greatly superior British force under Sir George Provost, which, after the defeat of the British squadron on Lake Champlain on the same day, retreated to Canada. General Ma-comb was pro-rooted major-general for his conduct on this occasion, and received the thanks of congress and a gold medal. He was subsequently retained in the service as colonel of engineers, and, after the death of General Jacob Brown in 1835, succeeded to the office of commander-in-chief of the army. During the Florida war in 1835 he took the field for a short time. He was buried with military honors in the congressional cemetery in Washington, and his tomb is marked by a handsome monument. He published "A Treatise on Martial Law and Court-Martials as practised in the United States" (Charleston, 1809), and "A Treatise on the Practice of Court-Martials" (New York, 1840), and supervised Adjutant Samuel Cooper's "Tactics and Regulations for the Militia" (Philadelphia. 1836). See " Memoir of Alexander Macomb," by George H. Richards (New York, 1833).--His son, William Henry, naval officer, born in Detroit, Michigan, 16 June, 1818; died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 12 August, 1872, entered the navy as midshipman in 1834, and was commissioned lieutenant in 1847, commander in 1862, captain in 1866, and commodore in 1870. He commanded the sloop "Portsmouth," of the East India squadron, in 1856-'8, with which he was engaged in the capture of the barrier forts at Can-Con, China, under Commander Andrew H. Foote, on 16-22 November, 1856. He had charge of the "Metacomet" in the Paraguay expedition in 1859, and the steamer "Genesee" in 1862-'3, attempting the passage of the Confederate batteries at Port Hudson on 14 March of the latter year, and was in frequent actions in April and June, 1863. He commanded the "Shamrock." of the North Atlantic blockading squadron, in 1864-'5, and the naval force in the capture of Plymouth, North Carolina, on 30 October, 1864, and was advanced ten numbers in his grade for gallantry in this action and for that on Roanoke river, near Poplar Point, North Carolina. He was assigned to the steam sloop " Plymouth" of the European squadron, in 1869. His last service was that of lighthouse-inspector.

Edited Appletons Encyclopedia, Copyright © 2001 StanKlos.comTM
MACOMB, Alexander, - Appleton's Biography Edited by Stanley L. Klos

MACOMB, Alexander, merchant, born in Belfast, Ireland, 27 July, 1748; died in Georgetown, D. C., in 1832. He emigrated to the United States in his youth, became a fur-merchant in Detroit, and was associated with John Jacob Astor, Elias Kane, and others. He subsequently removed to New York, and was engaged in shipping and speculations in landed estate, buying large tracts in Georgia, Kentucky, and North Carolina.

 

In 1791 he bought of the state of New York 3,670,715 acres at about one shilling (one eighth of a dollar) an acre, on St. Lawrence River, including all the Thousand Islands that belonged to New York. This tract is known as "Macomb's purchase."

 

--His son, Alexander Macomb, soldier, born in Detroit, Michigan, 3 April, 1782; died in Washington, D. C., 25 June, 1841, entered the army as a cornet of cavalry in 1799, was retained in the service after the partial disbanding of troops in 1802, became captain in 1805 and major in 1808, and at the beginning of the war of 1812 held the rank of lieutenant-colonel of engineers, and adjutant-general of the army.

 

Finding his position unlikely to bring him into active service, he was transferred to the artillery, and in 1813, as colonel of the 3d regiment of artillery, did effective service at Niagara and at Fort George.

 

He was promoted brigadier-general in 1814, and placed in command of the northern frontier, bordering on Lake Champlain. At Plattsburgh on 11 September of this year, while in command of 1,500 regular troops and some detachments of militia, he sustained the attack of a greatly superior British force under Sir George Provost, which, after the defeat of the British squadron on Lake Champlain on the same day, retreated to Canada. General Macomb was promoted major-general for his conduct on this occasion, and received the thanks of congress and a gold medal.

 

He was subsequently retained in the service as colonel of engineers, and, after the death of General Jacob Brown in 1835, succeeded to the office of commander-in-chief of the army. During the Florida war in 1835 he took the field for a short time. He was buried with military honors in the congressional cemetery in Washington, and his tomb is marked by a handsome monument.

 

He published "A Treatise on Martial Law and Court-Martials as practiced in the United States" (Charleston, 1809), and "A Treatise on the Practice of Court-Martials" (New York, 1840), and supervised Adjutant Samuel Cooper's "Tactics and Regulations for the Militia" (Philadelphia. 1836). See "Memoir of Alexander Macomb," by George H. Richards (New York, 1833).

 

--His son, William Henry Macomb, naval officer, born in Detroit, Michigan, 16 June, 1818; died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 12 August, 1872, entered the navy as midshipman in 1834, and was commissioned lieutenant in 1847, commander in 1862, captain in 1866, and commodore in 1870. He commanded the sloop "Portsmouth," of the East India squadron, in 1856-'8, with which he was engaged in the capture of the barrier forts at Canton, China, under Commander Andrew H. Foote, on 16-22 November, 1856. He had charge of the "Metacomet" in the Paraguay expedition in 1859, and the steamer "Genesee" in 1862-'3, attempting the passage of the Confederate batteries at Port Hudson on 14 March of the latter year, and was in frequent actions in April and June, 1863.

 

He commanded the "Shamrock." of the North Atlantic blockading squadron, in 1864-'5, and the naval force in the capture of Plymouth, North Carolina, on 30 October, 1864, and was advanced ten numbers in his grade for gallantry in this action and for that on Roanoke river, near Poplar Point, North Carolina. He was assigned to the steam sloop "Plymouth" of the European squadron, in 1869. His last service was that of lighthouse-inspector.

 

 

Edited Appleton's Encyclopedia, by John Looby Copyright © 2001 StanKlos.comTM


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