David Allen Russell

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David Allen Russell
Born (1820-12-10)December 10, 1820
Salem, New York
Died September 19, 1864(1864-09-19) (aged 43)
Winchester, Virginia
Buried Evergreen Cemetery, Salem, New York
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Union Army
Years of service 1845–1864
Rank Union Army brigadier general rank insignia.svg Brigadier General
Union Army major general rank insignia.svg Brevet Major General
Commands held 7th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry

Mexican-American War

Indian Wars

American Civil War

David Allen Russell (December 10, 1820 – September 19, 1864) was a career United States Army officer who served in the Mexican-American War and the American Civil War. He was killed in action as a brigadier general in the Union Army.

Early life[edit]

Russell was born in Salem, New York, the son of David Abel Russell, who was a member of the House of Representatives from 1835 to 1841, and his wife. During his final year in Congress, the senior Russell secured an appointment to the United States Military Academy for his son. The junior Russell graduated near the bottom of his class in 1845. His first assignment was with the U.S. 1st Infantry Regiment.

He transferred to the U.S. 4th Infantry Regiment where he served in Mexico. He was brevetted for gallantry and meritorious service at the Battle of Paso Ovejas and the Battle of Cerro Gordo. He was promoted to first lieutenant in 1848.

After the war, the 4th Infantry was sent to the Pacific Northwest. Russell fought in the Rogue River War and the Yakima War against local Native American tribes. He was promoted to captain in 1854.

Civil War[edit]

In 1861, the 4th Infantry was recalled to the East and placed in the defenses around Washington, D.C. Russell joined the volunteer army and accepted a commission as colonel of the 7th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. Russell then served in the Peninsula Campaign and the Seven Days Battles. He was brevetted lieutenant colonel in the regular army for gallant and meritorious service.

In 1862, Russell was promoted to major in the regular army and assigned to the U.S. 8th Infantry Regiment. Still in command of the 7th Massachusetts, he fought in the Battle of Antietam. Later in 1862, Russell was promoted to brigadier general of volunteers and commanded a brigade during the Rappahannock campaign. He later fought at the Battle of Fredericksburg. Russell was primarily in reserve during the Battle of Gettysburg, but was brevetted colonel in the regular army shortly afterward.

In 1864, Russell fought in the Overland Campaign. He was mortally wounded later that year in the Shenandoah Valley during the Battle of Opequon, otherwise known as the Third Battle of Winchester, when he was struck by a shell fragment. On May 3, 1867, President Andrew Johnson nominated Russell for the grade of brevet major general in the regular army, to rank from the date of his death in the field, September 19, 1864, and the United States Senate confirmed the appointment on February 14, 1868.[1]

He is buried in Salem, New York, in Evergreen Cemetery.

In memoriam[edit]

Fort D. A. Russell in the Wyoming Territory was named in Russell's honor. Gun Battery David A. Russell, located within Fort Stevens State Park in Hammond Oregon, is also named in Russell's honor.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ * Eicher, John H., and David J. Eicher, Civil War High Commands. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2001. ISBN 978-0-8047-3641-1. p. 709.


  • Eicher, John H., and David J. Eicher, Civil War High Commands. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2001. ISBN 978-0-8047-3641-1.
  • Hubbell, John T., and James W. Geary (editors). Biographical Dictionary of the Union: Northern Leaders of the Civil War. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1995. ISBN 0-313-20920-0
  • Johnson, Rossiter (editor). The Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans. Boston: The Biographical Society, 1904.
  • Warner, Ezra J. Generals in Blue: Lives of the Union Commanders. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1964.

External links[edit]