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General Oliver Otis Howard, ca. 1863

General Oliver Otis Howard, ca. 1863

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Oliver Otis Howard of Leeds (1830-1909), a graduate of Bowdoin College and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, was commissioned as a colonel in the Maine 3rd Infantry Regiment on May 28, 1861, then immediately commissioned into the U.S. Volunteers General Staff Infantry Regiment.

He was promoted to major general on Nov. 28, 1862, and to brevet major general on March 13, 1865. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his conduct at Fair Oaks in June 1862 when his horse was shot out from under him and his right arm was shattered by a bullet, but he remained in command. His arm had to be amputated, but Howard quickly returned to service.

After the war he headed the Freedman's Bureau and advocated for former slaves. He also founded Howard University in Washington, D.C., and was its first president. The university was started to provide education to former slaves.

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