Black and white photo of William H. Rosecrans.

Despite an impressive string of battlefield victories, including Rich Mountain, Stones River, Iuka, Corinth, and Chattanooga, William S. Rosecrans is best remembered for the loss he suffered at Chickamauga. [Wikimedia Commons]

William Starke Rosecrans - Facts

September 6, 1819 - March 11, 1898

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Full Name:

  • William Starke Rosecrans

Birth Date:

  • September 6, 1819

Birth Location:

  • Little Taylor Run, Kingston Township, Delaware County, Ohio

Parents:

  • Crandell and Jemima (Hopkins) Rosecrans

Education:

  • United States Military Academy (1842)

Occupation:

  • Military officer, civil engineer, diplomat

Career Summary:

  • Brigadier General (USA)
  • Major General (USVA)
  • Brevet Major General (USA)
  • Minister to Mexico

Spouse:

  • Anna Elizabeth Hegeman (1843)

Nickname:

  • Old Rosy

Place of Death:

  • Redondo Junction, California

Date of Death:

  • March 11, 1898

Place of Burial:

  • Arlington National Cemetery

Significance:

  • When William S. Rosecrans was an infant, his family moved to nearby Homer, in Licking County, Ohio.
  • William S. Rosecrans’s mother’s lineage included Stephen Hopkins, who signed the Declaration of Independence.
  • William S. Rosecrans entered the United States Military Academy in 1838 and he graduated in 1842, fifth in his class.
  • While a student at West Point, William S. Rosecrans was a roommate of future Confederate General James Longstreet.
  • William S. Rosecrans entered the United States Army Corps of Engineers as a brevetted second lieutenant on July 1, 1842.
  • William S. Rosecrans married Anna Elizabeth Hegeman on August 24, 1843.
  • William S. Rosecrans was an assistant professor of engineering at the United States Military Academy from 1843 to 1847.
  • William S. Rosecrans resigned his army commission on April 1, 1854, to become a civil engineer in Cincinnati, Ohio.
  • William S. Rosecrans served as president of the Coal River Navigation Co., Kanawha County, Va. (now West Virginia), in 1856.
  • William S. Rosecrans organized the Preston Coal Oil Co. in 1857 and engaged in the manufacture of kerosene.
  • William S. Rosecrans was severely burned in an industrial explosion in 1859 and was bedridden for 18 months.
  • When the American Civil War began, Rosecrans first served as a drillmaster for the “Marion Rifles.”
  • William S. Rosecrans developed the engineering plans for Camp Dennison, near Cincinnati.
  • William S. Rosecrans was commissioned as a colonel of the Twenty-third Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry on June 7, 1861.
  • William S. Rosecrans served under General George McClellan in western Virginia in 1861
  • William S. Rosecrans was commissioned as a brigadier general in the United States Army on May 16, 1861.
  • William S. Rosecrans was promoted to major general of volunteers in October 1862, effective March 21, 1862.
  • William S. Rosecrans was reportedly liked and respected by the men who served under him, but he had difficulty relating with fellow officers and superiors, particularly Major General Ulysses S. Grant and Secretary of War Edwin Stanton.
  • Despite an impressive string of battlefield victories, including Rich Mountain, Stones River, Iuka, Corinth, and Chattanooga, William S. Rosecrans never received the credit he and others thought he deserved.
  • William S. Rosecrans is best remembered for the loss he suffered at Chickamauga and his subsequent demotion by Grant.
  • William S. Rosecrans retired from the military in March 1867, after enduring more than two years without a command.
  • William S. Rosecrans was named Minister to Mexico in 1868, and served in that capacity until the following year, when his old nemesis, Ulysses S. Grant removed him from office.
  • William S. Rosecrans served as president of the Safety Powder Company, in Los Angeles, California in 1875
  • William S. Rosecrans served as a representative from California, in the United States House of Representatives from March 4, 1881 until March 3, 1885.
  • William S. Rosecrans served as register of the treasury from 1885 to 1893.
  • By an act of Congress on February 27, 1889, William S. Rosecrans was reappointed brigadier general on the retired list and he retired March 1, 1889.
  • William Starke Rosecrans died at his ranch at Redondo Junction, California on March 11, 1898.
  • William S. Rosecrans was originally buried at Rosedale Cemetery in California.
  • William S. Rosecrans’ remains were reinterred at Arlington National Cemetery on May 17, 1902.
  • William S. Rosecrans is credited with inventing odorless oil, a round lamp wick, a short practical lamp chimney, and a new economical method of manufacturing soap.
  • The proper, though not the popular, pronunciation is “Rosakrontz” (Ro Sa Krontz).
  • William S. Rosecrans nickname was “Old Rosy.”
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Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title William Starke Rosecrans - Facts
  • Coverage September 6, 1819 - March 11, 1898
  • Author
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date July 27, 2021
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update April 29, 2021
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