Oswald Herbert Ernst
|Oswald Herbert Ernst|
Brigadier General Oswald H. Ernst
June 27, 1842|
near Cincinnati, Ohio
|Died||March 21, 1926
|Buried at||Arlington National Cemetery|
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/branch||United States Army|
|Years of service||1864–1905|
|Unit||Corps of Engineers|
|Commands held||Superintendent of the United States Military Academy|
Oswald Herbert Ernst (June 27, 1842–March 21, 1926) was an astronomer, engineer, military educator, and career officer in the United States Army who became superintendent of the United States Military Academy. Over a forty year career, Ernst served as an engineer during Sherman's Siege of Atlanta during the American Civil War, commanded U.S. troops at Coamo during the Spanish-American War, Cuba and sat on the original commission for the Panama Canal after retirement from active service.
Oswald Ernst was born June 27, 1842 near Cincinnati, Ohio, the son of Sarah Otis and Andrew H. Ernst. His mother was descended from Richard Warren, who traveled to Plymouth Colony from Southampton, England on the Mayflower. Andrew Ernst was himself the son of a recent immigrant, a burgomaster who had fled Germany during the Napoleonic Wars and afterwards settled in the Ohio River valley. The younger Ernst was an excellent student, admitted to Harvard in 1858, left that place of learning to accept an appointment from Ohio to the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York in 1860.
When the American Civil War broke out, plebe Ernst stayed at the academy with the Union-born cadets while most southerners left for the Confederacy. Ernst graduated USMA just before his twenty-second birthday and was immediately billeted to First Lieutenant, Corps of Engineers. Within the month, Ernst was employed by the Army of the Tennessee as assistant engineer before Atlanta, took part in the Battle of Ezra Church, and was engaged in siege activities before Atlanta's surrender. In October, 1864, Lt. Ernst was back at West Point as assistant professor of engineering, lecturing about what he'd learned of practical siege engineering in the four months since his graduation.
Ernst married Elizabeth Amory Lee in late 1866, and spent the years immediately after the war working on constructing fortifications on the Pacific coast, and remained so occupied until 1868. He was promoted to captain in March 1867, and had command of an engineer company at Willets Point, Queens, from 1868 until 1871. After detail as "Astronomer of the U.S. Commission to observe in Spain the Solar eclipse of December 22, 1870," from 1871 until 1878, Ernst was again lecturing USMA cadets about "practical engineering" and commanding the post's elite engineer company. While teaching cadets and writing the Manual of Practical Military Engineering, Ernst found time to author articles for Johnson's Encyclopedia and raise his two daughters Helen Amory and Elizabeth Lee.
From 1878 until 1889, Ernst was chief engineer on Osage and Mississippi River projects, and was responsible for the deepening of shipping routes in Galveston Bay. In 1889, Ernst became military aide-de-camp to President Benjamin Harrison and chief engineer in charge of Washington's public buildings and monuments. In 1893, the Ernst family returned once again to West Point, this time to occupy the superintendent's billet.
After the explosion of the USS Maine in February, 1898, Ernst was promoted to brigadier general of volunteers and put in command of the 1st Division of volunteer troops deployed to the Puerto Rican Campaign.
Selected works by Ernst
- Account of the Eclipse of 1870 in Spain. H. Battalion Press;. 1871. p. 10. Retrieved April 19, 2009.
- A Manual of Practical Military Engineering. New York: D. Van Nortstrand. 1873. p. 296. Retrieved April 19, 2009.
- An Address Before the Graduating Class of the Engineering School of the Missouri University. Statesman Book and Job Printing House. 1881. Retrieved April 19, 2009.
- Report Upon Survey, with Plans and Estimates of Cost, for a Navigable Waterway 14 Feet Deep from Lockport, Ill: By Way of Des Planes and Illinois Rivers, to the Mouth of Said Illinois River, and Thence by Way of the Mississippi River to St. Louis, Mo. United States Mississippi River Commission;. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office;. 1905. p. 544. Retrieved April 19, 2009.
- Mississippi River Improvements: Hearing. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office;. March 30, 1906. p. 22. Retrieved April 19, 2009.
- Report upon the Chicago Drainage Canal (2 ed.). Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office;. March 30, 1906. p. 54. Retrieved April 19, 2009.
- Ernst, Oswald Herbert; Gibbons, George Christie (1910). Report of the International Waterways Commission on the Regulation of Lake Erie: with a discussion of the regulation of the Great Lakes system. International Waterways Commission;. p. 169. Retrieved April 19, 2009.
- Ernst, Oswald Herbert; Gibbons, George Christie (1910). Regulation of Lake Erie: Message from the President of the United States. International Waterways Commission. p. 158. Retrieved April 19, 2009.
- Leonard & Marquis, Who's Who in America, p. 655
- Men and Women in America, p. 575
- Class of 1862, Fiftieth Anniversary Class Report, p. 86
- Chambers, John Whiteclay. (1999). "The Oxford Companion to American Military History", p. 4. New York: Oxford University Press.
- "America's Civil War Comes to West Point." Accessed Nov 11, 2010. Copyright © 2010 Weider History Group. http://www.historynet.com/americas-civil-war-comes-to-west-point.htm
- Cullum, Biographical Register, V.3, pt.1, p. 17
- Wilson, James Grant; Fiske, John, eds. (1900). "Ernst, Oswald Hubert". Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. New York: D. Appleton.
- Cullum, Biographical Register, V.3, pt.1, p. 18
- Class of 1862, Third Report of the Secretary, p. 28
- Barnes, Mark R. "The American Army Moves on Puerto-Rico, part 3". Spanish-American War Centennial website. Retrieved April 19, 2009.
- Cullum, George Washington (1891) . Biographical Register of the Officers and Graduates of the United States Military Academy (pdf) 3 (3rd ed.). Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin. pp. 17–18. Retrieved April 19, 2009.
- Dyal, Donald H.; Carpenter, Brian B.; Thomas, Mark A. Historical Dictionary of the Spanish American War. Retrieved April 19, 2009.
- Harvard Class of 1862 (1912). Fiftieth Anniversary Class Report. Plimpton Press;. p. 110. Retrieved April 19, 2009.
- Harvard Class of 1862 (1875). The Third Report of the Secretary. Alfred Mudge & Son. p. 28. Retrieved April 19, 2009.
- Johnson, Rossiter; Brown, John Howard (1904). The Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans 4. The Biographical Society. Retrieved April 19, 2009.
- Leonard, John W.; Marquis, Albert Nelson (1913). Who's who in America 7. Marquis Who's Who. pp. 655–656. Retrieved April 19, 2009.
- Men and Women of America: a Biographical Dictionary of Contemporaries. L.R. Hamersly & Company. 1909. p. 575. Retrieved April 19, 2009.
- "Oswald Herbert Ernst, Major General". Arlington National Cemetery website. Retrieved April 19, 2009.
- Thomas, Joseph (1905). Universal Pronouncing Dictionary of Biography and Mythology 1. J.B. Lippincott company. Retrieved April 19, 2009.
John Moulder Wilson
|Superintendents of the United States Military Academy
Albert Leopold Mills