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John McNeil Jr.
Born (1784-03-25)March 25, 1784
Died February 23, 1850(1850-02-23) (aged 65)
Place of birth Hillsborough, New Hampshire
Place of death Washington, D.C.
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army


Brevet Brigadier General

11th U.S. Infantry

1st U.S. Infantry
Commands held 1st U.S. Infantry

War of 1812

John McNeil Jr. (March 25, 1784 – February 23, 1850) was an American soldier, who distinguished himself in leading the bayonet charge of his regiment which secured the victory to the Americans in the Battle of Chippewa. For his conduct in this battle, and in that of the Battle of Bridgewater, where he was severely wounded, he was successively brevetted as lieutenant colonel and colonel.[1][2]

War of 1812[edit | edit source]

He was born Hillsborough, New Hampshire, entered the service as Captain in the 11th U.S. Infantry regiment March 12, 1812, was appointed Major August 15, 1813.[3][4]

Battle of Chippewa[edit | edit source]

General Winfield Scott having given the necessary orders, cried out to the battalion of Major McNeil—the 11th infantry, which had not a recruit in it—on the left,— " The enemy say we are good at long shot, but cannot stand the cold iron! I call upon the Eleventh instantly to give the lie to that slander !"—" Charge!" he added, as the shot from Towson's guns ploughed through and through the British ranks. " Charge !—Charge!" he repeated in thundering tones, rising up in his stirrups, and waving his men on with his sword.[5]

This masterly charge, so well conceived and executed, put an end to the contest. The front lines of the enemy staggered, and rolled back in a confused mass on the reserve. All caught the infection of defeat, and the slope leading down to the Chippewa was soon darkened by a cloud of fugitives. The pursuit was ordered, but was checked when the Americans reached the stream, by the hostile batteries that frowned on the opposite shore.[5]

General Scott and his men held their ground manfully, till the arrival of General Brown, who had hurried forward with his suite, in advance of the brigades of Generals Ripley and Porter, as soon as the firing was heard. Meanwhile the 11th and 22nd infantry, under Colonel Brady and Major McNeil, both of whom were severely wounded, having expended their ammunition, were withdrawn from action, and the whole brunt of the battle in front, was sustained by the 9th infantry, commanded by Major Leavenworth.[5]

Major General Jacob Brown's Report To The Secretary Of War, July 7, 1814:

"...I cannot deprive myself of the pleasure of saying that... Major McNeil the 11th. Col. Campbell [of the 11th] was wounded early in the action, gallantly leading on his regiment."[2][3][4]

He was made a brevet lieutenant colonel for the Battle of Chippewa July 5, 1814.

Battle of Bridgewater[edit | edit source]

Made brevet Colonel for the Battle of Niagara July 25, 1814, in which he was severely wounded.[4]

Post war service[edit | edit source]

Lieutenant Colonel 1st U.S. Infantry February 24, 1818. Brevet Brigadier General July 25, 1824, Colonel 1st U. S. Infantry April 28, 1826.[6][7]

He was appointed Surveyor of the port of Boston in 1829, resigned his commission in the Army April 23, 1830, and died in Washington, D.C. February 23, 1850.[4]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Godwin, Parke, The cyclopaedia of biography: a record of the lives of eminent persons, G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1880.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Ripley, George, The American Cyclopaedia a Popular Dictionary of General Knowledge, D. Appleton and Company, 1875.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Drake, Francis Samuel,Dictionary of American biography, including men of the time: containing nearly ten thousand notices of persons of both sexes, of native and foreign birth, who have been remarkable, or prominently connected with the arts, sciences, literature, politics, or history, of the American continent, J.R. Osgood and company, 1876.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Walton, Eliakim Persons, Records of the Governor and Council of the State of Vermont: Record of the Governor and Council ... 1813-1822 Volume 6 of Records of the Governor and Council of the State of Vermont, Vermont. Council of Safety, 1777-1778, Authors Vermont, Vermont. Conventions, 1775-1777, Vermont Council of Safety, 1777-1778, Vermont. Governor, Vermont. Supreme Executive Council, Vermont. Board of War, 1779-1783, J. & J. M. Poland, 1879.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Jenkins, John Stilwell, Jackson and the generals of the War of 1812", J.L. Gihon, 1854.
  6. Powell, William Henry, List of officers of the army of the United States from 1779 to 1900, L. R. Hamersly & co., 1900.
  7. Heitman, Francis Bernard, Historical register of the United States Army: from its organization, September 29, 1789, to September 29, 1889, The National Tribune, 1890.

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