Thomas Ewing, Jr. - Facts

August 7, 1829 - January 21, 1896

Key facts about Thomas Ewing, Jr., a prominent lawyer and politician who served as a Union general in the West during the American Civil War.

Thomas Ewing Jr, General, USA, Civil War, LOC

In June 1862, Thomas Ewing, Jr. helped organize the “Red Legs,” a unit of scouts that protected the Kansas border from marauders headquartered in Missouri. Image Source: Library of Congress.

Full Name:

  • Thomas Ewing, Jr.

Birth Date:

  • August 7, 1829

Birth Location:

  • Lancaster, Ohio


  • Thomas and Maria (Boyle) Ewing


  • Brown University (1854)


  • Lawyer
  • Military officer
  • Politician

Career Summary:

  • Chief Justice Kansas State Supreme Court
  • Brigadier General (USVA)
  • Brevet Major General (USVA)
  • U.S. Congressman


  • Ellen Cox (1856)

Place of Death:

  • New York City, New York

Date of Death:

  • January 21, 1896

Place of Burial:

  • Oakland Cemetery, Yonkers, New York


  • Thomas Ewing, Jr. was the fifth child and fourth son of Thomas Ewing and Maria (Boyle) Ewing.
  • Thomas Ewing, Jr.’s father, Thomas Ewing, Sr., was a prominent lawyer, and a U.S. senator who also served as U.S. Secretary of the Treasury and U.S. Secretary of the Interior.
  • Two of Thomas Ewing, Jr.’s brothers (Hugh Boyle Ewing and Charles Ewing) and his foster brother (William Tecumseh Sherman) eventually became general officers in the Union army during the Civil War.
  • As a youth, Thomas Ewing, Jr. pursued preparatory studies at the Lancaster Academy, in Lancaster, Ohio.
  • In 1838, at the age of nineteen, Thomas Ewing, Jr. was appointed secretary of a commission to determine if the boundary line between Ohio and Virginia was the high-water or low-water mark of the Ohio River.
  • During his father’s tenure as President Zachary Taylor’s Secretary of the Interior, Thomas Ewing, Jr. served as one of Taylor’s private secretaries from 1849 until the president’s death in 1850.
  • In 1850, Thomas Ewing, Jr. enrolled at Brown University, graduating in 1854.
  • Thomas Ewing, Jr. studied at the Cincinnati Law School where he graduated and was admitted to the Ohio bar in 1855.
  • On January 18, 1856, Thomas Ewing, Jr. married Ellen Cox of Piqua, Ohio. The couple produced five children during their marriage.
  • In 1856 Thomas Ewing, Jr. moved to Leavenworth, Kansas.
  • In 1858, Thomas Ewing, Jr. was a member of the Leavenworth Constitutional Convention, which favored the admission of Kansas to the Union as a free state.
  • After Kansas was admitted to the Union on January 29, 1861, Thomas Ewing, Jr. was elected as the first chief justice of the state supreme court.
  • Governor Charles Robinson selected Thomas Ewing, Jr. as a Kansas delegate to the Washington Peace Conference, an unsuccessful attempt in early 1861 to avert the Civil War.
  • After the Civil War began, Thomas Ewing, Jr. resigned from the Kansas supreme court in 1862 to enter the military.
  • In June 1862, Thomas Ewing, Jr. helped organize the “Red Legs,” a unit of scouts that protected the Kansas border from marauders headquartered in Missouri.
  • In September 1862, Thomas Ewing, Jr. recruited the 11th Kansas Volunteer Cavalry, and he was elected as its first colonel on September 15.
  • During the 1862 campaign season, Thomas Ewing, Jr.’s regiment fought in the battles of Old Fort Wayne (October 22, 1862), Cane Hill (November 28, 1862), and Prairie Grove (December 7, 1862).
  • On March 13, 1863, Thomas Ewing, Jr. was promoted to brigadier general of volunteers and placed in command of the District of the Border, which comprised Kansas and western Missouri.
  • On August 18, 1863, Thomas Ewing, Jr. issued General Order Number 10, which made it a crime to “willfully aid and encourage guerrillas” operating against Union troops.
  • On August 25, 1863 Thomas Ewing, Jr. issued General Order Number 11, which mandated the eviction of suspected Southern sympathizers from four Missouri counties along the Kansas border.
  • In March 1864, Thomas Ewing, Jr. was transferred to the St. Louis District
  • On September 27, 1864, Thomas Ewing Jr.’s small force of roughly 1,500 Union soldiers inflicted heavy casualties on Confederate General Sterling Price’s army at the Battle of Fort Davidson.
  • On February 23, 1865, Thomas Ewing, Jr. resigned his military commission.
  • After the war ended, President Andrew Johnson nominated Thomas Ewing, Jr. for a brevet promotion to the rank of major general. On May 4, 1866, the U.S. Senate approved the appointment, dated from March 13, 1865.
  • In 1865, Thomas Ewing, Jr. served as legal counsel for Dr. Samuel Mudd, Samuel Arnold, and Edmund Spangler during the conspiracy trial following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. Although all three men were convicted, they were the only defendants in Lincoln’s murder trial to escape the death penalty.
  • While residing in Washington, D.C., Thomas Ewing, Jr. used his political influence to help gain an acquittal for President Andrew Johnson during his impeachment trial before the Senate.
  • Thomas Ewing, Jr. served as a delegate to Ohio’s state constitutional convention in 1873.
  • In 1876, voters from Ohio’s twelfth Congressional district elected Thomas Ewing, Jr. to the U.S. House of Representatives.
  • In 1878, voters from Ohio’s tenth district elected Thomas Ewing, Jr. to the U.S. House of Representatives.
  • Thomas Ewing, Jr. served in the forty-fifth and forty-sixth congresses from March 4, 1877 to March 3, 1881.
  • In 1879, Republican Charles Foster narrowly defeated Ewing in his bid to become Governor of Ohio.
  • Thomas Ewing, Jr. served as a trustee of Ohio University from 1878 to 1883.
  • Thomas Ewing, Jr. served as vice president of the Cincinnati Law School in 1881.
  • In 1881 Thomas Ewing, Jr. moved to New York City, where he practiced law for fifteen years.
  • On January 20, 1896, Thomas Ewing, Jr. suffered a critical head injury when a cable car struck him. He died the next morning at his home.

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  • Article Title Thomas Ewing, Jr. - Facts
  • Date August 7, 1829 - January 21, 1896
  • Author
  • Keywords Thomas Ewing, Jr.
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date May 22, 2024
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update January 12, 2024