Back to Steuben County Home Page
Genealogy Trails

The Union Army
Vol. VIII, Biographical

Federal Publishing Co., 1908



Steuben county

Averell, William W
., brigadier-general, was born in Cameron, Steuben County, N. Y., Nov. 5, 1832. Being graduated at West Point in 1855 he was assigned to the mounted riflemen and served in garrison and at the school for practice at Carlisle, Pa., until 1857, when he was ordered to frontier duty, and saw a great deal of Indian fighting. He was severely wounded in a night attack by the Navajos in 1859, and was given sick leave until the outbreak of the Civil war in 1861. Being promoted to first lieutenant of the mounted riflemen, on May 14, 1861, he fought at Bull Run and in other engagements until Aug. 23, 1861, when he was appointed colonel of the 3d Penn. cavalry, and given command of the cavalry defenses in front of Washington. In March, 1863, he began the series of cavalry raids in western Virginia that have made his name famous. His raids did much to help the Union cause, and he was rewarded by the government in frequent promotions. On March 13, 1865, he was made brevet major-general, U. S. A., and on May 18 he resigned. From 1866 to i860 Gen. Averell was consul-general of the United States in the British possessions of North America, and then became president of a large manufacturing concern. He invented a process for making cast steel from the ore in one operation, the American asphalt pavement and several complicated machines. {Transcribed for Genealogy Trails by Linda Rodriguez}