General Torbert BIO

Birth: Jul. 1, 1833 Death: Sep. 30, 1880 Civil War Union Brigadier General. He held both cavalry and infantry commands in the eastern theatre of the Civil War. In the beginning of the conflict Confederate officials, believing him loyal to their cause, had commissioned him as a Lieutenant in the Confederate Army. However, Torbert, a regular army officer and a West Point graduate, declined their offer and served whole-heartedly and courageously for the Union (he is the only documented officer to hold commissions in both Union and Confederate armies simultaneously). He served first as Colonel and commander of the 1st New Jersey Volunteers Infantry, then as commander of the famed 1st New Jersey Brigade after its commander, Brigadier General George Taylor, was mortally wounded at the 2nd Battle of Bull Run. At the Battle of South Mountain in September 1862, he led the brigade in its triumphant charge at Compton’ Gap, Maryland. Promoted Brigadier General, US Volunteers in November 1862, he was present at the Battles of Fredericksburg and Gettysburg. Named to command a division of Cavalry under Major General Philip Sheridan in April 1864, General Torbert fought with mixed success in the Shenandoah Valley. He defeated Confederate cavalry forces at Tom’s Brook, Virginia, and his troopers were one of the few organized troops still on the battle line at Battle at Cedar Creek before Sheridan made is famous rallying ride. He ended the war with brevets of Major General of Volunteers and Major General, United States Regular Army. He died in the 1880 wreck of the “SS City of Vera Cruz” off Cape Canaveral, Florida. (bio by: Russ Dodge)


2 thoughts on “General Torbert BIO

  1. I had no idea that we even had one soldier that was commission on both the confederate and union side of the civil war. The article said he attended West Point, wonder where he was from and why he switched from the confederate to the union, if it was because of slavery? Would be interesting to find out.

  2. He was from Delaware. You can read more about this subject at the following website.

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