Key facts about Ormsby MacKnight Mitchel, a world-renowned astronomer and a Union major general during the American Civil War.
- Ormsby MacKnight Mitchel
- July 28, 1809
- Morganfield, in Union County, Kentucky
- John and Elizabeth (McAllister) Mitchel
- United States Military Academy (1829)
- Miltary officer
- Second Lieutenant (USA)
- Director of the Mitchel Observatory
- Major General (USVA)
- Louisa (Clark) Trask (1831)
- Old Stars
Place of Death:
- Beaufort, South Carolina
Date of Death:
- October 30, 1862
Place of Burial:
- Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York
- Ormsby M. Mitchel was the youngest child of Virginia planter John and Elizabeth (McAllister) Mitchel
- Ormsby M. Mitchel’s parents moved their family and slaves to Kentucky in 1804.
- When Ormsby M. Mitchel was three years old, his father died unexpectedly.
- Ormsby M. Mitchel moved with his mother to Lebanon, Ohio in 1814.
- In 1825, Ormsby M. Mitchel successfully petitioned Judge John McLean and U.S. Representative Thomas Ross, for a position at the United States Military Academy.
- Ormsby M. Mitchel entered West Point on July 1, 1825.
- Ormsby M. Mitchel’s classmates included future Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Joseph E. Johnston.
- Ormsby M. Mitchel graduated fifteenth in his class of forty-six cadets at West Point on July 1, 1829.
- After graduation, Ormsby M. Mitchel was brevetted to second lieutenant and detached from the U.S. 2nd Artillery to serve as an assistant professor of mathematics at West Point.
- Ormsby M. Mitchel married Louisa (Clark) Trask on August 28, 1831. Their union produced seven children, five of whom survived infancy.
- On September 30, 1832, Mitchel resigned his commission and relocated to Ohio.
- Ormsby M. Mitchel settled in Cincinnati, where he passed the Ohio bar exam in 1832 and practiced law until 1834.
- In 1834 Ormsby M. Mitchel secured a position as Professor of Mathematics, Philosophy, and Astronomy at Cincinnati College (now the University of Cincinnati).
- Ormsby M. Mitchel served as chief engineer for the construction of the Little Miami Railroad from 1836 to 1837.
- While teaching at Cincinnati College, Ormsby M. Mitchel became a nationally renowned lecturer on astronomy, organized the Cincinnati Astronomical Society, and was instrumental in the construction of the Mitchel Observatory.
- Ormsby M. Mitchel was director of the Mitchel Observatory from 1845 to 1859.
- Ormsby M. Mitchel served a one-year term as Adjutant-General of the State of Ohio (1847‑48).
- Ormsby M. Mitchel served two-terms as Chief Engineer of the Ohio and Mississippi Railroad, (1848‑49 and 1852‑53).
- In 1859 Ormsby M. Mitchel accepted a position as an astronomer of the Dudley Observatory in Albany, New York.
- Ormsby M. Mitchel accepted a commission as brigadier-general of Ohio volunteers on August 8, 1861.
- On September 19, 1861, the War Department issued General Orders Number 80, placing Ormsby M. Mitchel in command of the Department of the Ohio.
- Major-General Don Carlos Buell replaced Ormsby M. Mitchel as commander of the Department of the Ohio on November 15, 1861.
- Ormsby M. Mitchel commanded the 3rd Division of the Army of the Ohio from November 15, 1861 to July 2, 1862.
- On April 11, 1862, Ormsby M. Mitchel’s troops occupied Huntsville, Alabama, marking the deepest penetration into the South by federal troops during the Civil War to date.
- Ormsby M. Mitchel helped plan and authorize James J. Andrews’ unsuccessful raid on the Western and Atlantic Railroad, in Northern Georgia, also known as the Great Locomotive Chase.
- Due to disagreements with Major-General Don Carlos Buell and Major-General Henry Halleck, Ormsby M. Mitchel attempted to resign his army commission on June 30, 1862.
- In July 1862, Ormsby M. Mitchel was promoted to the rank of major-general, effective April 11, 1862.
- In early September, General-in-Chief Henry Halleck appointed Ormsby M. Mitchel as commander of the 10th Army Corps and Department of the South, headquartered in South Carolina.
- Ormsby M. Mitchel assumed command of the 10th Army Corps and Department of the South on September 17, 1862.
- After contracting yellow fever, Ormsby M. Mitchel died on October 30, 1862, at Beaufort, South Carolina, at the age of fifty-two.