West Virginia State Site

Ohio County, West Virginia

Biographies

R

JESSE L. RENO
Jesse L. Reno, Major-General of Volunteers in the United States Army, was born in Virginia, in 1825. He was appointed a cadet in the Military Academy at West Point, from Pennsylvania, and graduated in 1846, and commissioned Brevet Second Lieutenant in the Ordnance Department.
He served with distinction in the Mexican War, and was promoted for gallantry at Cerro Gordo. He commanded a howitzer battery at the storming of Chepultepee, in which engagement he was severely wounded, and breveted Captain. At the close of the war he was appointed Assistant-Professor of Mathematics at West Point, where he remained but a short time, and was then appointed Secretary of the Board of Artillery.
He was subsequently connected with the coast survey, and, upon withdrawing from that service, assisted in the construction of a military road from Big Sioux to St. Paul.He was promoted to be First Lieutenant of Ordnance, March 3, 1853. In 1854 he was stationed at the Frankford Arsenal, at Bridesburg, Penn., where he remained about three
years; and then accompanied General Johnston to Utah, as Ordnance Officer. He was stationed at the Mount Vernon arsenal in 1859, and, afterward, at Fort Leavenworth.
In July, 1860, he was made Captain of Ordnance, and, in November, 1861, Brigadier-General of Volunteers. He commanded the Second Brigade in Burnside's expedition to North Carolina; was distinguished at the battle of Roanoke Island for the gallantry with which he led the attack against Fort Barton; participated in the capture of Newbern, and other important military operations, and in July, 1862, was ordered to reinforce General McClellan, on the Peninsula, About this time he was promoted to be Major-General of Volunteers, his commission dating from April 26. Subsequently, he was sent to Fredericksburg, whence he joined General Pope, then commanding the Army of Virginia, and took part in the actions near Manassas, at the close of August, 1862.
At the battle of South Mountain, his division was in advance, and was engaged during the whole day. General Reno was conspicuous for his gallantry and activity, and the success of the day was greatly owing to his efforts. He was shot, while giving orders, early in the evening of September 14, 1862. He was engaged at the moment in observing the enemy's movements, by the aid of a glass, and was struck in the spine by a musket ball, lodging in his breast. Thus closed the career of one of the bravest and most useful officers of the Union army, who, to his honor be it noted, though born a Virginian, like many other Southerners, rose superior to sectional feelings, and felt the fire of a higher patriotism in their devotion to their whole country. (Source: Biographies of 250 Distinguished National Men by Horatio Bateman. Published 1871 - Submitted by Linda Rodriguez)

Hon. Charles Wells Russell
     Hon. Charles W. Russell was a distinguished man in Northwestern Virginia prior to the rebellion. He was a man of unusual brilliancy as well as the possessor of solid parts and great learning. He was distinguished both in law and in politics, and possessed almost unlimited influence among the people of his section of the State. He died just as his sun had reached its noon, and left an untarnished name as a heritage to his devoted family.
     Mr. Russell was born at Sistersville, Tyler County, Virginia, July 19, 1818. During his earlier years he received a common school education, and as he was growing into manhood he went to Wheeling and became a student at Linsly Institute, and later finished his general education by graduating from Jefferson College at Cannonsburgh, Pennsylvania. He subsequently studied law in the office of the late Z. Jacob at Wheeling; and after being admitted to the bar practiced his profession in Wheeling, with unusual success, until the breaking out of the war in 1861. He then went South and served two, if not three, terms in the Virginia Legislature. He was also a member of the House of Representatives in both the "Provisional" and the "Permanent" Congress of the Southern Confederacy. In these Legislative and forensic bodies, as well as at the bar, his great powers as an orator and debator were demonstrated. In these particulars but few of the great Virginians of his time were his equal.
     At the end of the war he went to Canada, where he remained until the Spring of 1866, when he settled in Baltimore, and resumed the practice of law. He was becoming well established as a leading attorney at that distinguished bar when he died, November 22, 1867, leaving a widow and three sons.
     He married Margaret, daughter of the late Henry Moore of Wheeling, and hail three sons, two of whom Henry Moore Russell who practiced law in the city of Wheeling, and became one of the leading lawyers of that section, and, as a matter of fact, of the entire State of West Virginia, who died before reaching the age of sixty, in the midst of his usefulness and success. The other son, Charles W. Russell, Jr., who spent many years as an attorney in the Judiciary Department at Washington, and for several years ably filled the office as an Assistant Attorney-General of the United States. He was also several years Minister of the United States at the capitol of Persia, and is at this time a resident of Washington, D. C. Henry M. Russell, Jr., son of the late Henry M. Russell, is now a successful lawyer in the city of Wheeling.  [Bench and bar of West Virginia edited by George Wesley Atkinson, 1919 Transcribed by AFOFG]




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