Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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ROBINSON, John Cleveland, soldier, born in Binghamton, New York, 10 April, 1817. He was appointed a cadet at the United States military academy in 1835, left a year before graduation to study law, but returned to military service in October, 1839, when he was commissioned as 2d lieutenant in the 5th United States infantry. He joined the army of occupation in Texas at Corpus Christi in September, 1845, as regimental and brigade quartermaster, being promoted 1st lieutenant in June, 1846, was at Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma, served with distinction at Monterey, and participated in the concluding operations of the Mexican war. He was made captain in August, 1850, was engaged against hostile Indians in Texas in 1853-'4, was ordered in 1856 to Florida, where he led expeditions against the Seminoles in the Everglades and Big Cyprus swamp, and in 1857-'8 took part in the Utah expedition. At the beginning of the civil war he was in command at Fort McHenry, Baltimore, and prevented its capture by the insurgents by means of a successful ruse. Subsequently he was engaged in mustering volunteers at Detroit, Michigan, and Columbus, Ohio, and in September, 1861, he was appointed colonel of the 1st Michigan volunteers. He was promoted major in the United States army in February, 1862, was commissioned as brigadier-general of volunteers on 28 April, 1862, and commanded a brigade at Newport News. He was soon transferred to the Army of the Potomac, and commanded the 1st brigade of General Philip Kearny's division. He took part in the seven days' battles before Richmond, and commanded a division at Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg, where he earned the brevet of lieutenant-colonel, United States army, and in the operations at Mine Run and in the battles of the Wilderness, receiving the brevet of colonel for his services there. At Spottsylvania Court-House, while leading a gallant charge on the enemy's breastworks, he received a bullet in his left knee, necessitating amputation at the thigh. He received the brevet of major-general of volunteers on 24 June, 1864. He was unfit for further service in the field, and subsequently commanded districts in New York state, being brevetted brigadier- and major-general, United States army, in March, 1865, served as military commander and commissioner of the Bureau of freedmen in North Carolina in 1866, was promoted colonel in the regular army in July, 1866, mustered out of the volunteer service on 1 September, 1866, commanded the Department of the South in 1867, and the Department of the Lakes in 1867-'8, and on 6 May, 1869, was retired with the full rank of major-general. In 1872 he was elected by the Republicans lieutenant-governor of New York on the ticket with Governor John A. Dix. He was chosen commander-in-chief of the Grand army of the republic in 1877 and 1878, and president of the Society of the Army of the Potomac in 1887.
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