William H. Emory
Born in Maryland in 1811, Emory was a West Point graduate who resigned his commission to become a civil engineer and join the newly formed Corps of Topographical Engineers. After working along the Canadian boundary, he was selected to accompany Stephen Watts Kearny and the Army of the West in their trek to California in 1846, and his map from that expedition helped guide Forty-Niners bound for the goldfields.
Emory worked for nine years on the new border between the United States and Mexico after the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and the Gadsden Purchase and was responsible for the survey and marking of the boundary. When the Civil War broke out, Emory refused a commission in the Confederate Army, instead commanding a regiment defending Washington, D.C. Later he saw action at Manassas, in the Red River campaign, and in the Shenandoah Valley, where he served under Phil Sheridan.
This biography draws on Emory’s personal papers to reveal other significant episodes of his life. While commanding a cavalry unit in Indian Territory, he was the only officer to bring an entire command out of insurrectionary territory. In hostile action of a different kind, he was a major witness in the impeachment trial of Andrew Johnson and offered testimony that helped save the president.
William H. Emory: Soldier-Scientist is an important resource for scholars of western expansion and the Civil War. More than that, it is a rousing story of an unsung but distinguished hero of his time.
“An engrossing, well-written biography of a now almost-forgotten figure from the past.”—Southern California Quarterly
“William H. Emory has at last been accorded a long-overdue biographical treatment.”—Pacific Historical Review
“Historians of science can learn much from this volume.”—Isis
“Written in a fast-paced narrative style, but always well-grounded in the historical literature . . . a compelling story.”—Carlos A. Schwantes, University of Idaho