Brigadier General Eleazer A.
Fourth Division, Army of the Mississippi
Brigadier General Eleazer Paine's Fourth Division led the attack that captured Island No. 10. This battle opened up the Mississippi River for attacks on Vicksburg. From this zenith of his military career, General Paine descended to assignments such as guarding railroads in the Mississippi River Valley. Why did a West Point graduate of 1839 with experience on General Taylor's staff during the Seminole War in Florida receive such lowly assignments? He was not trusted with an important command for undisclosed reasons in addition to his poor health. General Paine had been the subject of a congressional inquiry and punished with a reprimand. He was also accused of executing spies without trials. Why did General Paine retain his army position? A hint is found in a letter to Major General Halleck, the commander of the West, that is in the Official Records for 19 February 1862. G. W. Cullum wrote, "I do not think it wise to supersede Paine in command ... he is somewhat of a politician, and not always discreet ..." Eleazer Paine was a lawyer in Monmouth, Illinois before the Civil War. He had been a committee member of the newly formed Republican Party in 1856. It was also reported that he was an intimate friend of another lawyer, Abraham Lincoln.
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