JOHN MCALLISTER SCHOFIELD was born in Gerry, New York, on 29 September 1831; was educated in the public schools, then graduated from the United States Military Academy, 1853; was commissioned in artillery and served in the South, 1854-1855; was promoted to second lieutenant, August 1853, and first lieutenant, August 1855; was assistant professor of natural and experimental philosophy at West Point, 1855-1860; married Harriet Bartlett, 1857; taught physics at Washington University of St. Louis, 1860-1861; was mustering officer for Missouri as the Civil War opened; was major, 1st Missouri Volunteer Infantry, and captain, 1st Artillery, in Missouri operations; was appointed brigadier general of volunteers and Missouri militia, November 1861, and major general of volunteers, November 1862; successively commanded the Missouri militia, 1861-1862, the Army of the Frontier, 1862-1863, the 3d Division of XIV Corps, 1863, the Department of the Missouri, 1863-1864, and the Department of the Ohio, 1864-1865; commanded the Army of the Ohio in the invasion of Georgia, including the battles of Kenesaw Mountain and Atlanta, 1864; commanded the XXIII Corps in Alabama-Tennessee operations, including the battles of Franklin and Nashville, 1864; was appointed brigadier general in the Regular Army, November 1864; commanded the Department of North Carolina, 1865; was brevetted major general, March 1865; served as a confidential diplomatic emissary to France concerning withdrawal of French troops from Mexico, 1865-1866; commanded the Department of the Potomac, 1867; served as secretary of war, 1 June 1868-13 March 1869; was appointed major general, March 1869; commanded the Department of the Missouri, 1869-1870; commanded the Division of the Pacific, 1870-1876; served on a special mission to the Hawaiian Islands to assess their military value, 1872-1873; was superintendent of the United States Military Academy, 1876-1881; successively commanded the Divisions of the Pacific (1882-1883), the Missouri (1883-1886), and the Atlantic (1886-1888); married his second wife, Georgia Kilbourne, 1891; was commanding general of the United States Army, 14 August 1888-29 September 1895; was instrumental in clarifying lines of authority and achieving harmony between staff and line, espoused increases in pay for noncommissioned officers, advanced a plan to reduce desertions, initiated efficiency reports on officers, and recommended that incompetent officers be denied promotion; was promoted to lieutenant general, February 1895; retired from active service, September 1895; died in St. Augustine, Florida, on 4 March 1906.

The Artist

Stephen William Shaw (1817-1900) was born in Windsor, Vermont. At thirty-one he journeyed to California by way of New Orleans and Panama to settle in San Francisco and pursue a career as a portrait painter. He became the official artist to the Masonic order there, painting a large number of Masons and other Western notables. He also participated in the expedition that discovered Humboldt (now Kayo) Bay in New Guinea. He painted Maj. Gen. John McA. Schofield from life in 1874. The Schofield portrait, commissioned as one of the series on departmental secretaries, is reproduced from the Army Art Collection.


Painting:  John McAllister Schofield.  By Stephen William Shaw.

John McAllister Schofield
By Stephen William Shaw
Oil on canvas, 30" x 25", 1874


Return to Table of Contents

Search CMH Online

Last updated 24 February 2006