Thursday, April 15, 2010

Major-General John Adams Dix.

John Adams Dix.

Birth: Jul. 24, 1798
Death: Apr. 21, 1879.

Photo provided byHeather Friend

United States Senator, Secretary of the Treasury, Union Major General of Volunteers, Minister to France, Governor of New York. He was born in Boscawen, New Hampshire. He first saw action as an ensign at 14, serving under his father, Lieutenant Colonel Timothy Dix Jr., in the War of 1812. Resigning from the service in 1828, he pursued commercial interests in Cooperstown, New York, and entered politics as a Jacksonian Democrat. He soon became a power in the party, serving as New York adjutant general and New York school superintendent. He also was a member of the Albany Regency, the controlling political machine in the state. In 1845 he served in the United States Senate filling an unexpired term, remaining there until 1850. During the next 10 years he served as president of 2 different railroads while practicing law in New York City. In 1859 President James Buchanan appointed him postmaster of New York City. He then served as Buchanan's last Secretary of the Treasury, assuming his duties on January 15, 1861.

Shortly afterward he telegraphed his famous American Flag Dispatch to Treasury officers in New Orleans who were being harassed: "If anyone attempts to haul down the American flag, shoot him on the spot." He then received the first commission from President Abraham Lincoln as Major General of Volunteers, dated May 16, 1861. Thus he outranked all other volunteer officers until the end of the Civil War. He commanded various departments during the war, his last being the Department of the East. His most important military contribution was the forceful suppression of the New York Draft Riots in 1863. Resigning on November 30, 1865, he returned briefly to private life but served as Minister to France from 1866 to 1869 and as Governor of New York from 1872 to 1874. Not re-elected, he spent his remaining years in retirement. He later would died in New York City. The United States Army installation in southern New Jersey was named Fort Dix in July 1917 in his honor.

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