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Edmund Pendleton Gaines (March 20, 1777 ‚Äď June 6, 1849) was a United States army officer who served with distinction during the War of 1812, the Seminole Wars and the Black Hawk War. He also had Gainesville, Georgia named after him.


Early life

Gaines was born in Culpeper County, Virginia on March 20, 1777. He was named after his greatuncle Edmund Pendleton, who was the political leader of Virginia during the Revolution. Edmund's father, James, had been captain of a company in the American forces during the Revolutionary War, and after the war his family moved to North Carolina where his father became a state representative. He enlisted in the army in 1799 and was a first lieutenant by 1807.

Mississippi Territory

In the early 1800s, Gaines surveyed routes and boundaries in the Mississippi Territory including parts of the Natchez Trace. In 1807, Gaines was the commandant of Fort Stoddert. During this time, he arrested Aaron Burr and testified at his trial. Gaines also surveyed the route that would become the portion of the Gaines Trace from the Tennessee River to Cotton Gin Port, Mississippi. He afterwards took a leave of absence from the army to practice law.

War of 1812

The War of 1812 brought Gaines back to the army and was appointed major of the Eighth U.S. Infantry and in July, 1812, was made a lieutenant colonel in the Twenty-Fourth U.S. Infantry. In 1813, he was promoted to colonel and commanded the Twenty-Fifth Infantry with distinction at the Battle of Crysler's Farm. He became adjutant general and was with General William Henry Harrison's army at the Battle of the Thames. He was promoted brigadier general of regulars on March 9, 1814 and commanded the post at Fort Erie after the U.S. capture. General Jacob Brown was wounded at the Battle of Lundy's Lane and when the U.S. Army of the Niagara returned to the fort, command was passed to Gaines. At the Siege of Fort Erie. Gaines was in command on the fortifications on 15 August 1814, when a British assault was bloodily repulsed. For this victory - the First Battle of Fort Erie - Gaines was awarded the Thanks of Congress, an Act of Congress Gold Medal (outranking a Congressional Medal of Honor, according to the Smithsonian), and a brevet promotion to major general. General Gaines was seriously wounded by artillery fire and General Brown, having recovered, returned to command. Gaines' wound ended his active field career for the rest of the war, and he was given command of the Military District Number 6.

Indian affairs

At the end of the war Gaines was sent of a commissioner to deal with the Creek Indians. The U.S. commanding general, Jacob Brown, died in 1828; and Gaines was one of two ranking generals who could have been considered for the post. However, he and the other general, Winfield Scott, had both publicly quarreled with each other, and Alexander Macomb was promoted over both of them. He commanded the Western Military Department during the Black Hawk War. He was still in command of the department during the Seminole Wars in which he personally led an expedition. At the Battle of Ouithlacoochie he was wounded in the mouth.

1n 1830, Gaines opposed President Andrew Jackson's policy of Indian removal.[1]

Southwest Frontier

In 1836, he was placed in command of the Southwest Military District. He was given instructions to fortify the border of the Louisiana Territory and Texas in the case that the Mexican army might threaten U.S. territory. He was also given orders to post guards preventing any U.S. soldiers from crossing into Texas and fighting in the rebellion. He was in command of the Army's Western Division at the outbreak of the Mexican-American War. He was reprimanded by the U.S. government for overstepping his authority by calling up Louisiana volunteers for Zachary Taylor's army. He nevertheless called up volunteers from other southwestern states and received a court-martial but was able to successfully defend himself.

Later life

In the years during and following the Mexican-American War, Gaines was in command of a series of military districts. He was in command of the Western Division when he died at New Orleans, Louisiana on June 6, 1849. He was interred in the Church Street Graveyard in Mobile, Alabama.

A number of places in the United States were named in his honor, including Gainesville, Florida, Gainesville, Texas, Gainesville, Georgia, Gaines Township, Michigan and Gainesboro, Tennessee were all named in his honor, as was Gaines Street in Tallahassee, Florida and Gaines Street in Davenport, Iowa. Fort Gaines, a historic fort on Dauphin Island, Alabama was named for him.

See also


  1. ^ Meacham, Jon (2008). American Lion. New York: Random House. p. 148. ISBN 978-1-4000-6325-3.  
  • Wyatt, Thomas. "Gen. E. P. Gaines." Memoirs of the Generals, Commodores, and Other Commanders Who Distinguished Themselves in the U.S. Army and Navy During the Wars of the Revolution and 1813, and Who Were Presented with Medals by Congress the second, for Their Gallant Services. Philadelphia: Carey and Hart, 1848. (pp. 101‚Äď112) Retrieved October 3, 2008
  • Elliott, Jack D. and Wells, Mary Ann. (2003). Cotton Gin Port : a frontier settlement on the Upper Tombigbee. Jackson, Mississippi: Quail Ridge Press for the Mississippi Historical Society. ISBN 0-938896-88-1

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