Major General Edwin Vose
II Corps Commander, Army of the Potomac
U. S. Army
Major General Edwin Vose Sumner was the oldest corps commander in the Civil War. He had been born on January 30, 1797 in Boston, Massachusetts. He was appointed as a second lieutenant in the regular army in 1819, and he served in both the cavalry and infantry. Edwin Sumner was wounded at Cerro Gordo during the Mexican War. He later fought against the Cheyenne.
Brigadier General Sumner was second in command to General McClellan during the Peninsula Campaign. His pursuit of the retreating Confederate Army led to an unsuccessful battle with their rear guard. At the Battle of Seven Pines, his command performed well under difficult conditions, and he was promoted to major general. At the Battle of Antietam, General Sumner's corps sustained many casualties as they attacked the center of the Confederate line. At the Battle of Fredericksburg, his troops made the disastrous attack against Marye's Heights.
General Sumner received severe criticism for his lack of ability to command large military units. When General Burnside was relieved of command of the Union Army, General Sumner asked to be transferred. He was then assigned to command the Department of Missouri. He died of pneumonia on March 21, 1863 in Syracuse, New York before he reported to his new command.
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