William Farquhar Barry

William Farquhar Barry

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William Farquhar Barry

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William Farquhar Barry (August 18, 1818 – July 18, 1879) was a career officer in the United States Army, serving as an artillery commander during the Mexican-American War and Civil War.

Birth and early years

Born in New York City, Barry graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1838, 17th in his class of 45 cadets. He was commissioned a brevet second lieutenant in the 4th U.S. Artillery, transferring to the 2nd U.S. Artillery a few weeks later. He was stationed near the Canadian border, then later took part in the Mexican-American, Seminole, and the Kansas-Missouri Border Wars.

Military career

He was the co-author of Instruction for Field Artillery (1860), along with William H. French and Henry J. Hunt.

Promoted to major of artillery shortly after the start of hostilities between the Union and the Confederacy, Barry served as Brig. Gen. Irvin McDowell's chief of artillery during the First Battle of Bull Run, where his position was overrun after mistaking advancing Confederates for retreating Union forces. Barry was promoted to brigadier general on August 20, 1861. He came up with the concept that became the U.S. Horse Artillery Brigade in the Army of the Potomac.

As chief of artillery under Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan, Barry organized ordnance for the Army of the Potomac and, during the Peninsula Campaign, later took part in the battles of Yorktown, Mechanicsville, Gaines' Mill, White Oak Swamp, and Malvern Hill.

After later supervising forts and...
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