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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OLIVER, Paul Ambrose, manufacturer, born on shipboard in the English channel, 18 July, 1830. He was educated in Germany, settled in New York, and engaged first in the shipping business, and later in the cotton trade in that city and New Orleans. In February, 1862, he entered the army as 2d lieutenant in the 12th New York volunteers, and in May was promoted to 1st lieutenant and assigned to duty on General Daniel Butterfield's staff, after which he served as aide-de-camp to General George G. Meade and General Joseph Hooker. Meanwhile he was promoted captain, to date from 1 January, 1864, after leading his company at Gaines's Mills, the second battle of Bull Run, Antietam, and Fredericksburg. Later he again served on General Butterfield's staff, and was present at the battle of Lookout Mountain and in the campaigns to Atlanta. He then became acting provost-marshal of the 5th corps, and was then ordered by General Grant to the headquarters of the United States army. He was detailed on 11 April, 1865, to assist General George II. Sharpe to parole the army of northern Virginia, and was brevetted brigadier-general of volunteers on 13 March, 1865. In 1870 he established a powder-factory near Wilkesbarre, Pennsylvania, where he has since been engaged in the manufacture of explosives, using for that purpose machinery of his own invention, consisting principally of devices by which powder can be made in small quantities at any time and at any place, thus doing away with the danger of violent explosion and reducing the risk to a minimum. General Oliver's improvements include principally an incorporating-mill, consisting of a succession of rollers set in pairs through which the powder is made to pass in very small quantities at a time, and a new mode of pressing and graining. He has also invented a bayonet fastening and a screw-headed key which are of practical value. General Oliver is a member of the American institute of mining engineers, of the Loyal legion, and of other organizations.
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