Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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FRENCH, William Henry, soldier, born in Baltimore, Maryland, 13 January 1815; died there, 20 May 1881. He was graduated at the U. S. military academy in 1837, and entered the army as 2d lieutenant of artillery. He served in the Seminole war in Florida and on the Canada border in 1837'8. During the Mexican war he was aide-de-camp to General Franklin Pierce, and on the staff of General Patterson: was engaged in the siege of Vera Cruz, in the battles of Churubusco and Contreras, and brevetted major for gallantry at the capture of the City of Mexico. Between 1850 and 1852 he again served against the Seminole Indians in Florida, and was on garrison and frontier duty till 1861, when he was appointed brigadier general of volunteers, and served in the Army of the Potomac during the peninsular campaign. He was engaged at the battles of Yorktown, Fair Oaks, Oakgrove, Gaines's Mill, Peach Orchard, Savage Station, Glendale, and Malvern Hill.
In the Maryland campaign he commanded a division of Sumner's corps at the battles of Antietam and Fredericksburg, September 1862, and in the next month was appointed major general of volunteers. He served in the Rappahannock campaign, in the battles of Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville, commanded the 3d army corps in its operations at Mine Run, from November 1863, till May 1864, when he was mustered out of volunteer service. He commanded the 2d artillery on the Pacific coast from 1865 till 1872, and in 1875, having passed through the successive military grades, was appointed lieutenant colonel, in command at Fort McHenry, Baltimore. In July 1880, at his own request, being over sixty-two years of age, he was retired.
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