Mortimer Dormer Leggett

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Mortimer Dormer Leggett
Mortimer Dormer Leggett - Brady-Handy.jpg
Mortimer Dormer Leggett
Born (1821-04-19)April 19, 1821
Ithaca, New York
Died January 6, 1896(1896-01-06) (aged 74)
Cleveland, Ohio
Place of burial Lake View Cemetery, Cleveland, Ohio
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Union Army
Rank Union Army major general rank insignia.svg Brevet Major General
Battles/wars American Civil War

Mortimer Dormer Leggett (April 19, 1821 – January 6, 1896) was a lawyer, school administrator, professor, and major general of the Union Army during the American Civil War.

Early life[edit]

Leggett was born in Ithaca, New York, but relocated to Geauga County, Ohio, with his parents when he was fifteen years old. He and his father created a farm out of the wilderness area. He studied first medicine and then law, which he practiced with some success in Akron, Ohio. He taught in the Akron and Warren public schools to supplement his income from his legal business, helping to establish the graded-school system now common. From 1855 to 1858, he was a professor of pleading and practice in the Ohio College of Law in Poland, and in 1858 became superintendent of schools at Zanesville, Ohio. He was a law partner of Jacob D. Cox.

Civil War[edit]

At the beginning of the Civil War, Leggett served as a volunteer on the staff of his friend, Major General George B. McClellan in western Virginia. He helped raise the 78th Ohio Volunteer Infantry and was commissioned as its colonel in January 1862. He commanded his regiment at the battles of Fort Donelson, Shiloh, and Corinth. In November 1862, he was appointed brigadier general of volunteers and participated in the Vicksburg Campaign, suffering a painful wound. After he recovered, Leggett commanded the 3rd Division of the XVII Corps during the Atlanta Campaign and Sherman's March to the Sea.[1] He was brevetted major general of volunteers in July 1864, and was commissioned as a major general a year later. His last action was in the Carolinas Campaign during the spring of 1865.

Postbellum career[edit]

At the end of the war, Leggett returned to Zanesville and resumed his law practice. President Ulysses S. Grant appointed him as United States Commissioner of Patents in 1871 and, Leggett had that position until 1881, when he resigned to resume his private practice. In 1884, he founded a successful company that would become a part of General Electric.

His son, Mortimer M. Leggett, was accidentally killed on October 14, 1873, during an initiation to the Cornell chapter of the Kappa Alpha Society. The younger Leggett was blindfolded and walking along a railroad trestle with other initiates, when he fell, striking the back of his head. Leggett was the first person known to die in a college fraternity initiation.[2]

Leggett died in Cleveland, Ohio, aged 74, and was buried in Lake View Cemetery.

See also[edit]


Wikisource-logo.svg This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainGilman, D. C.; Peck, H. T.; Colby, F. M., eds. (1905). "article name needed". New International Encyclopedia (1st ed.). New York: Dodd, Mead. 
  • Warner, Ezra J., Generals in Blue: Lives of the Union Commanders. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1964, ISBN 0-8071-0822-7.


  1. ^ John T. Hubbell, James W. Geary. Biographical Dictionary of the Union: Northern Leaders of the Civil War (Google eBook). Greenwood Publishing Group, Jan 1, 1995.
  2. ^ New York Times article, October 14, 1873