Daniel Webster Flagler

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Daniel Webster Flagler
Daniel Webster Flagler.jpg
General Flagler at the time of the Spanish-American War
Born June 20, 1835 (1835-06-20)
Lockport, New York
Died March 29, 1899 (1899-03-30) (aged 63)
Old Point Comfort, Virginia
Place of burial Arlington National Cemetery
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1861–1899
Rank US-O7 insignia.svg Brigadier General
Commands held Chief of Ordnance
Battles/wars Civil War
Spanish–American War
Relations Major General Clement Flagler (Son)
Brigadier General Clement Finley (Father in Law)

Daniel Webster Flagler (June 20, 1835 – March 29, 1899) was a United States Army Brigadier General. He was prominent as the Army's Chief of Ordnance.

Early life[edit]

Flagler was appointed to the United States Military Academy in 1856. He graduated fifth in the class of 1861 and was appointed a Second Lieutenant of Ordnance.[1]

Civil War[edit]

Flagler's first Civil War assignment was to teach drill and ceremony and other basic skills to newly raised volunteers in Washington, D.C. He served as aide to David Hunter in the Manassas Campaign, and fought during the First Battle of Bull Run.[2]

He next served as aide to Irvin McDowell in the defense of Washington.[3]

After serving at the Allegheny Arsenal he participated in Ambrose Burnside’s North Carolina expedition. Flagler took part in the capture of Roanoke Island, the attack of New Bern, and the capture of Fort Macon.[4]

Next assigned to the Army of the Potomac, Flagler took part in the Maryland Campaign, including the Battle of South Mountain. Flagler also participated in the battles of Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg.[5]

Flagler was assigned to inspection duty at the West Point Foundry in October, 1863 and remained there until May, 1864. He was then transferred to the Army's Ordnance office in Washington, where he remained until June, 1865.[6]

A Captain at the end of the war, Flagler was a brevet Lieutenant Colonel, having received three honorary promotions—one for valor at New Bern, one for meritorious service at Fort Macon, and one for distinguished service to the Ordnance Department throughout the war.[7]

Post Civil War[edit]

Recognized as an expert on developing and producing artillery and other weapons, Flagler continued his Ordnance service after the war, including assignments at the Watervliet, Augusta, Rock Island, Fort Monroe, Fort Union, San Antonio, Frankford, and Watertown arsenals.[8][9][10][11]

In 1877 Flagler authored A History of the Rock Island Aresenal.[12]

In January, 1891 he was promoted to Brigadier General and assigned as Chief of Ordnance, holding this assignment until his death.[13][14][15]

Death and burial[edit]

General Flagler died at the Hygeia Hotel, a resort where he had gone in an effort to recover his health after suffering from rheumatism and other ailments.[16][17][18][19][20] He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery, Section West E, Site 147.[21][22] Daniel W. Flagler and his wife are memorialized on one side of the grave marker, and General Clement Flagler and his wife are memorialized on the other.


On September 13, 1865 Flagler married Mary McCalla Finley, the daughter of Brigadier General Clement Alexander Finley. Their children included a daughter, Elizabeth (1866–1939) and a son, Clement (1867–1922).[23]

Clement Arthur Finley Flagler was a career Army officer who attained the rank of Major General as a division commander in World War I.[24][25]

In 1895 Elizabeth Flagler was found guilty of manslaughter after she shot and killed a 15-year-old African American boy, one of several who she fired a pistol at when she observed them stealing pears from her father's garden. Following her conviction she served three hours in the District of Columbia jail and paid a fine of $500. In 1901 she married Doctor George W. MacKean of Nova Scotia.[26][27]


Fort Flagler on Marrowstone Island in Washington was named for him. The site is now a state park and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[28][29]

Flagler Place Northwest in the Bloomingdale neighborhood of Washington, D.C. is named for him.

External resources[edit]


  1. ^ The Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans, Rossiter Johnson, Editor and John Howard Brown, Managing Editor, published by The Biographical Society, Boston, 1904 Volume 4, (Ericsson-Gwin)
  2. ^ Biographical Register of the Officers and Graduates of the U.S. Military Academy, by George Washington Cullum, published by Houghton, Mifflin and Company, Boston and New York, Volume 2, 1891, page 814
  3. ^ Appleton's Annual Cyclopaedia and Register of Important Events, published by D. Appleton and Company, New York, 1900, page 601
  4. ^ Obituary, Daniel W. Flagler, General Order Number 59, April 1, 1899, printed in General Orders and Circulars, published by U.S. Department of War, 1900, page 69
  5. ^ "The Leaders of Our Army", Munsey's Magazine, Volume 19, Number 5, August, 1898
  6. ^ The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, published by James T. White & Company, New York, Volume 9, 1899, page 249
  7. ^ Register of the Commandery of the State of Pennsylvania, April 15, 1865 to September 1, 1902, published by the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States, 1902, page 183
  8. ^ Men of the Century, edited by Charles Morris, published by L.R. Hamersly, Philadelphia, 1896, page 265
  9. ^ Uniforms, Arms, and Equipment: Weapons and Accouterments, by Douglas C. McChristian, 2007, page 48
  10. ^ The Encyclopedia of the Spanish–American and Philippine–American Wars, by Spencer Tucker, Volume 1, 2009, page 224
  11. ^ The Ongoing Civil War: New Versions of Old Stories, edited by Herman Hattaway and Ethan Sepp Rafuse, 2004, pages 80–81
  12. ^ Title page, A History of the Rock Island Arsenal from its Establishment in 1836 to December 1876, by Daniel Webster Flagler, published by U.S. Government Printing Office, 1877
  13. ^ "On the Retired List," Mansfield (Ohio) Evening News, January 23, 1891
  14. ^ ""A New Chief of Ordnance," Arizona Republican, January 24, 1891
  15. ^ "Flagler Chief of Ordnance," Waterloo (Iowa) Daily Courier, February 5, 1891
  16. ^ "General Flagler is Dead," Janesville (Wisconsin) Daily Gazette, March 30, 1899
  17. ^ "General Flagler Dies at Old Point," Atlanta Constitution, March 30, 1899
  18. ^ "Able Officer Gone: General Flagler, Chief of Ordnance, Dies of Rheumatism," Middletown (New York) Daily Argus, March 30, 1899
  19. ^ "General Flagler Dead: Army's Chief of Ordnance a Victim of Rheumatism," Austin (Minnesota) Daily Herald, March 30, 1899
  20. ^ "Gen. Flagler Dead, Popular Chief of Ordnance Closes an Honorable Career," Cedar Rapids Republican, March 30, 1899
  21. ^ Arlington National Cemetery web site, Daniel Webster Flagler entry, accessed October 31, 2011
  22. ^ "Funeral of General Flagler," Warren (Pennsylvania) Evening Democrat, April 4, 1899
  23. ^ The Cyclopaedia of American Biography, published by James H. Lamb Company, Boston, Volume 3, 1900, page 117
  24. ^ "Maj. Gen. Flagler, War Hero, Son of Former Rock Island Commandant, Dead," Davenport Democrat, May 9, 1922
  25. ^ "Major General Flagler Dies at Johns Hopkins," Salt Lake Tribune, May 9, 1922
  26. ^ "Elizabeth M. Flagler a Bride", New York Times, June 13, 1901
  27. ^ "Day of Penance Ends in Love", The Pittsburgh Press, June 12, 1901
  28. ^ Washington State Parks web page, Fort Flagler State Park, accessed October 31, 2011
  29. ^ The Washington Historical Quarterly, published by Washington University State Historical Society, Volumes 8–9, 1917, page 203