Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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CULLUM, George W., soldier, born in New York City, 25 February 1809. He was graduated at the U. S. military academy in 1833, entered the engineer corps, was promoted captain on 7 July 1838, superintended the construction of fortifications and other public works at New London, Connecticut, and in Boston harbor, organized ponton-trains for the army in Mexico, was engaged in 1847-'8 in preparing a "Memoir on Military Bridges with India-Rubber Pontons," and from 1848 till 1855 was instructor of practical military engineering at the military academy, except two years, during which he traveled abroad on sick-leave. In 1853-'4 he constructed for the treasury department the assay-office in New York City, after which he was employed for five years on fortifications and harbor improvements at Charleston, South Carolina, and superintended works at New Bedford, Newport, New London, and the eastern entrance to New York harbor. On 9 April 1861, he was appointed aide-de-camp to the commander-in-chief of the army. He was promoted major of engineers on 6 August 1861, commissioned brigadier-general of volunteers on 1 November appointed chief engineer of the Department of the Missouri, was chief of staff to General Halleck while commanding the Departments of the Missouri and the Mississippi, and general-in-chief of the armies, directed engineer operations on the western rivers, was for some time in command at Cairo, was engaged as chief of engineers in the siege of Corinth, and, after accompanying General Halleck to Washington, was employed in inspecting fortifications, examining engineering inventions, and on various engineer boards.
He was also a member of the U. S. sanitary commission from 1861 till 1864. In the autumn of 1864 he was employed in projecting fortifications for Nashville, Tennessee, which had been selected as a base of operations and depot of supplies for our western armies. From 8 September 1864, till 28 August 1866, he was superintendent of the U. S. military academy. He was brevetted colonel, brigadier, and major general for meritorious services during the rebellion on 13 March 1865, and mustered out of the volunteer service on 1 September 1866. He was a member of the board for improving the defenses of New York, and then of the board for fortifications and River and harbor obstructions required for the national defense from 1867 till 13 January 1874, when he was retired from active service, after which he resided in New York, and devoted himself to literary, scientific, and military studies.
He was chosen in that year vice-president of the American geographical association, and has been president of the geographical library society since 1880. He has published a "Biographical Register of the Officers and Graduates of the United States Military Academy, from 1802 to 1850," afterward enlarged to cover the period until the army reorganization of 1867, with a supplement continuing the register to 1879 (New York, 1879); a translation of Duparcq's "Elements of Military Art and History" (1863); "Systems of Military Bridges" (1863); " Sketch of Major-General Richard Montgomery, of the Continental Army" (1876); "Campaigns and Engineers of the War of 1812-'5" (1879); "Historical Sketch of the Fortification Defenses of Narragansett Bay since the Founding, in 1638, of the Colony of Rhode Island" Washington, 1884).
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