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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McNEIL, John, soldier, born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, 4 February, 1813. He received a common-school education and learned in Boston the trade of a hatter, which he carried on in St. Louis, Missouri, for twenty years. In 1844-'5 he was in the Missouri legislature. He was president of the Pacific insurance company from 1855 till 1861, when he joined the National army under General Nathaniel Lyon, with the rank of colonel. With ***600' men he routed General David B. Harris at Fulton, Missouri, on 17 July, 1861, and was then placed by General John C. Fremont in command of St. Louis. He was made colonel of the 19th Missouri volunteers, 3 August, and early in 1862 took command of a cavalry regiment, and of the district of northeast Missouri, which he soon cleared of guerillas. He was made a brigadier-general of volunteers, 29 November, 1862, and did good service in defence of Cape Oirardeau in the spring of 1863, and during Price's raid in October, 1864, and resigned in 1865. He was sheriff of St. Louis county, Missouri, in 1866 and 1870, clerk of the criminal court in 1875-'6, United States commissioner to the Centennial exhibition in Philadelphia in 1876, and inspector in the United States Indian service in 1878 and again in 1882.
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