Lies Edwin Vose Sumner, the oldest active corps commander in the Civil War

He was born on January 30, 1797 in Boston. His antecedents date back to the very beginning of settlement in Massachusetts. He was commissioned directly into the army in 1819, and adhered to his oath of allegiance until his death, despite the fact that one son in law would command Stonewall Jackson’s 2nd corps artillery in the Army of Northern Virginia and became Robert E. Lee’s secretary, and another was a relative of General Joseph E. Johnson. On the other hand two of his sons became general officers in the U.S. Army; both were appointed in the regular service in 1861 and fought through out the Civil War with marked distinction.



Sumner, who was known as "Bull Head" in the old army because a musket ball was alleged to have once bounced off his head, had a long and distinguished army career which began soon after the close of America’s second war with Britain, at which time he was appointed a lieutenant of the 2nd Infantry. He became captain of dragoons in 1833 and Major in 1846, meantime serving chiefly on the Indian frontier. Sumner was greatly distinguished in Mexico, receiving the brevets of lieutenant colonel and colonel and a regular promotion to lieutenant colonel in 1848.