Samuel Ryan Curtis

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Samuel Ryan Curtis

Samuel Ryan Curtis (born February 3, 1805 in Champlain , New York , † December 26, 1866 in Council Bluffs , Iowa ) was an American politician and officer .


Curtis was born in Clinton County , New York. He studied at the US Military Academy in West Point , New York. The training ended in 1831. Curtis was briefly stationed in Fort Gibson, Indiana and soon resigned from the army. He first worked as an engineer. He then studied law and worked as a lawyer in Ohio after 1841 . During the war against Mexico 1846-1848 he rejoined the army and was military governor of various conquered cities. After the war, he moved to Iowa. There he worked primarily as an engineer, including as chief engineer on a project on Des Moines and later as an engineer in the city of St. Louis . He then worked for various railway projects.

In 1856 he was elected mayor of Keokuk . In Iowa, he was for the newly formed Republican Party in the Congress elected. There he campaigned for railroad construction and in particular for the Union Pacific Railroad . He supported the politics of Abraham Lincoln and was under discussion for a post in the cabinet after his election as US president .

At the beginning of the Civil War he resigned as a member of parliament and was again a soldier as commander of a volunteer regiment with the rank of colonel . A short time later he was promoted to brigadier general. He was assigned to deal with the chaotic situation in St. Louis. At Christmas 1861 he was given command of the Southwest Army . He won the Battle of Pea Ridge as Commander in Chief and was promoted to Major General in 1862.

In September of that year, Curtis became the Missouri Military Area Commander. After a quarrel between Lincoln and the governor there over Curtis' views on the slave question, he was removed from this post. He fought Sterling Price's attempt to conquer Missouri in 1864 . Curtis decisively defeated Price in the Battle of Westport . During this battle, Senator James Henry Lane served as his aide-de-camp . At the end of the war he was in command of the Northwest Defense Area.

After the war he returned to Iowa and appeared as a promoter of the transcontinental railroad. Curtis died after an inspection of the Union Pacific Railroad. He is buried in Oakland Cemetery.


In October 1863 his son, Major Henry Zarah Curtis, became an adjutant to Brig. Gen. James G. Blunt, killed by Quantrills Raiders. During this attack on Baxter Springs, Quantrill's men wore Union soldier uniforms. Samuel Curtis named Fort Zarah (in Barton County, Kansas ) after his son.

Web links

Commons : Samuel Ryan Curtis  - Collection of Images, Videos and Audio Files

Individual evidence

  1. Boatner, Mark M. III. The Civil War Dictionary. New York: David McKay, 1959. ISBN 0-679-50013-8 , p. 51.