251,534 Pages

John L. Gardner
John L Gardner 1844.jpg
1844 photo of Gardner taken by Mathew Brady
Daguerreotype collection (Library of Congress)
Born (1793-08-01)August 1, 1793
Died February 18, 1869(1869-02-18) (aged 75)
Place of birth Boston, Massachusetts
Place of death Wilmington, Delaware
Place of burial Immanuel Episcopal Church,
New Castle, Delaware
Allegiance Flag of the United States (1859–1861).svg
United States of America
Union (American Civil War)
Service/branch Flag of the United States Army.png
United States Army
Union Army
Years of service 1812-1865

US-O6 insignia Colonel

Army-USA-OF-06 Brigadier General
Commands held
  • 4th Infantry
  • Corps of Artillery
  • Assistant Deputy Quartermaster
  • Company A, 4th U.S. Artillery Regiment
  • Mexican-American War
  • Seminole Wars
  • American Civil War
  • John Lane Gardner (1793 - 1869) served in the U.S. Army eventually achieving the rank of brevet Brigadier General[lower-alpha 1] after serving in the American Civil War having also served in the War of 1812, the Seminole War and the Mexican American War before that. Born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1793[1] during Washington's second term Gardner joined the U.S. Army during the War of 1812 where he found his place as a career army officer.[2] Just before the Civil War he was commander of the garrison at Fort Moultrie but was relieved of command because he undermined the plans of soon to be traitor Secretary of War John B. Floyd who was planning to place control of the forts in Charleston Harbor in Confederate hands.[1][3] Gardner served over 40 years in the U.S. Army.[4]

    War of 1812Edit

    Gardner served during the War of 1812 and was appointed in the Army with the rank of Third Lieutenant, with the 4th infantry on May 20, 1813. His first experience in combat was in Canada where he was wounded in the Battle of La Cole Mills on March 30, 1814 while serving under General James Wilkinson.[1] He served as Aide-de-Camp to Brigadier General T. A. Smith.[4][5]

    Seminole WarEdit

    Gardner fought in the second Seminole Wars in Florida against the various Seminole Indian tribes in 1835–1839. He fought at the Battle of Wahoo Swamp on November 21, 1836.[4][5] Shortly after the war Gardner wrote and published the book Military Control where he pointed out various faults with existing military organization and management.[6][7]

    Mexican-American WarEdit

    Gardner served under Major General Winfield Scott, in the Mexican-American War. He was promoted to Major in 1845 and commanded the 4th artillery artillery regiment from 1846-1848.[1] He was stationed at Fort Polk in Texas, July 29, 1846 - January 31, 1847.[4] He fought at the Battle of Cerro Gordo on April 18, 1847 and brevetted a Lieutenant Colonel "for Gallant and Meritorious Conduct". He served in the Battle of Contreras on August 20, 1847 and was brevetted Colonel for his role on August 20, 1847, also "for Gallant and Meritorious Conduct".[1][5] At the Battle of Cerro Gordon Gardner, acting as Brevet First Lieutenant, commanded a company of the 7th infantry many of whom were killed or wounded during combat. He was later praised by his commanders, including General Scott in his report of April 23, 1847, for his signal services.[8]

    During the occupation of northern Mexico there were various mining operations in place. To prevent the fraudulent shipment of bullion to the Mexican or to other foreign governments Scott had it sent to the nearest assay office administrated through a system of permits from the local American commanders. In January 1848 Gardner oversaw these operations and enforced the collections of taxes on bullion as Superintendent of Assessment for the Federal District.[9]

    Civil WarEdit

    As regimental commander of Company A of the 4th U.S. Artillery Regiment, Gardner, along with Captain Abner Doubleday, his wife and Company E, arrive from Fort Capron, Florida, reaching this their new post aboard the steamer Gordon on June 16, 1858, joining Captain Truman Seymour’s Company H to jointly constitute Moultrie’s new U.S. Army garrison. In August a yellow-fever outbreak began amongst the companies of newly arrived artillerymen which infected 49 and eventually killing 28. To reduce the possibility of further spreading of the epidemic, Washington authorized Gardner to temporarily move his command outside the fort as a preventive measure into a healthier locale during the hot summer season. Subsequently Gardner was absent from Fort Moultrie throughout most of the summer of 1859, scouting out potential arrangements around Smithville, North Carolina. Captain Doubleday acted as commandant during Gardner's absence.[10]

    Gardner as commandant took up residence with his family outside of the walls of the fort in a large house directly opposite the Western Postern-Gate. Living in the nearby community he could not take a very active or visible role giving aid to the fort fearing reprisal to his family and himself. On one occasion, when a secession meeting was taking place nearby, accompanied with threats and demonstrations, Gardner sent word to Doubleday to assume command of the fort at once in his place.[11] Though a Union officer, Gardner still held various southern sympathies and felt that the South had been treated unfairly in the question of territories and had been defrauded by the interests in the North. However, he acquiesced when it came to defending the forts in Charleston harbor.[11] During the months leading up to the Civil War Gardner, realizing that secessionist tensions were mounting, made several requests to President Buchanan's Secretary of War John B. Floyd for troops to reinforce the garrison at Fort Moultrie on Sullivan's Island but his requests were ignored. The traitor Floyd had been going through great lengths to put the forts at Charleston Harbor in the hands of the South Carolinians. Instead Floyd, who was a southern sympathizer and later indicted for conspiracy, and well aware that armed conflict was imminent, only sent a company of about 70 men, most of whom were southern sympathizers, 'for purposes of repairing, strengthening and making additions to the fort', which only rendered the fort in such a way as to make it indefensible. The workers he sent to Moultrie were to be fed from existing provisions at the fort, which depended on Charleston for its supplies on a weekly basis. In the event of a siege the garrison could be starved out in a matter of days, as Floyd was planning for. Gardner had become suspicious of Floyd's peculiar planning and to avert any attempts to starve out the troops he wrote to an old friend, Colonel Joseph P. Taylor[1][lower-alpha 2] in the commissary department, requesting provisions for one hundred men for six months and hinted that he could carry out the requisition in the normal line of duty without having to inform Floyd.[3] On November 8, 1860, Colonel Gardner ordered Captain Truman Seymour under his command to transfer arms from the Charleston arsenal to Fort Moultire but the news of the shipment somehow reached Charleston and was blocked by civilians.[12] At the time Fort Moultrie was the only one of four forts in Charleston Harbor that was garrisoned.[3][13] Floyd had sent an observer to check on the progress at the fort and found that Gardner and his men were working day and night to strengthen its defense and had increased its supply of provisions and ammunition.[3] Subsequently on November 15, 1860, because of rising tensions Gardner was relieved of duty, as he was not cooperating with Floyd plans to render the fort an easy target for the secessionists.[14] Gardner was ordered to report to General David E. Twiggs, in Texas.[1] Subsequently he was replaced by Major Robert Anderson. Anderson was chosen by Floyd on the pretext that he was younger but ultimately for diplomatic reasons, as Anderson was a former slave-owner from Kentucky and was married to the daughter of a famous Georgian politician and war veteran. He was once stationed at Fort Moultrie and knew many people in nearby Charleston and had a reputation as a military scholar and was once a staff member of General Scott.[15] Floyd assumed incorrectly that by replacing Gardner with Anderson that he would side with the Confederates should the forts come under siege by the South Carolinians.[3]

    Final yearsEdit

    After 40 years of consecutive service Gardner retired from active service on November 1, 1861. After retirement he was involved in recruitment duty for the remainder of the war.[16] In 1866 he was brevetted Brigadier-general "for long and faithful service", to rank from March 13, 1865.[1] On August 30, 1866, he began serving on the Board for retiring Disabled Officers, in Philadelphia.[17] Gardner died of pneumonia in Wilmington, Delaware on February 19, 1869[1] and is interred in the cemetery at Immanuel Episcopal Church on the Green.[16]

    See alsoEdit


    1. He was Brevetted to Brigadier General after he retired from active service in 1861.
    2. Brother of former president Zachary Taylor[3]



    ( Pages (p.) refer to total number of pages in publication.)
    • Bauer, Karl Jack (1992). The Mexican War, 1846-1848
      University of Nebraska Press
      . pp. 454.
       , Book (par view)
    • Detzer, David (2002
      Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). Allegiance: Fort Sumter, Charleston, and the Beginning of the Civil War. p. 400. ISBN 9780156007412.
       , Book (par view)
    • Lossing, Benson John (1874). The Pictorial Field Book of the Civil War in the United States of America, Volume 1
      . Thomas Belknap. p. 640.
       , E'book
    • Moore, Frank (1889). The Civil War in Song and Story, 1860–1865. P. F. Collier
      New York. p. 560.
       , E'book
    • Wilson, James Grant; Fiske, John (1888). Appleton's Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Volume 2
      D. Appleton and Company, New York
       , E'book

    Primary sourcesEdit

    • Doubleday, Abner (1876). Reminiscences of forts Sumter and Moultrie in 1860-'61. Harper & Brothers
      New York. p. 192.
       , E'book
    • Gardner, John Lane (1839). Military Control
      A. B. Claxton & Company, Washington DC
      . pp. 82.
       , E'book

    Other sourcesEdit

    External linksEdit

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