James Barnet Fry

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James Barnet Fry
James Barnet Fry - Brady-Handy.jpg
James Barnet Fry
Born (1827-02-22)February 22, 1827
Carrollton, Illinois
Died July 11, 1894(1894-07-11) (aged 67)
Newport, Rhode Island
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch Union Army
Years of service 1847–1881
Rank Brigadier General
Brevet Major General
Commands held Provost Marshal General
Battles/wars Mexican-American War
American Civil War
Other work author

James Barnet Fry (February 22, 1827 - July 11, 1894) was an American soldier and prolific author of historical books.


Fry was born in Carrollton, Illinois. He graduated from West Point in 1847 and served for a time as assistant instructor of artillery there, in the fall going to Mexico to serve under General Scott in the Mexican-American War. He was stationed successively in Oregon, Louisiana, and Texas, and at West Point in 1853–54. He was adjutant of the Academy from 1854 to 1859. In 1861 he acted as chief of staff to General Irvin McDowell in the American Civil War, and in 1862 held a similar position under Don Carlos Buell.

Fry served as the last provost marshal general of the United States from 1863 to 1866, when this office was abolished at the close of the war. Subsequently, he served as adjutant general and was successively brevetted colonel, brigadier general, and major general in the Regular Army.

He retired in 1881 to devote his time to writing military histories.

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