William Ward Duffield

William Ward Duffield

William Ward Duffield

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William Ward Duffield (November 19, 1823 – June 22, 1907) was an executive in the coal industry, a railroad construction engineer, and an officer in the Union Army during the American Civil War. After the war he was appointed Superintendent of the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey.

Early life

Duffield was born in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, the son of Isabella Graham (Bethune), and the Reverend George Duffield, a prominent minister in the Presbyterian Church. He was also the brother of Brigadier General Henry M. Duffield. Although he would call Michigan home after 1836, throughout his life William worked and traveled widely. He graduated in 1842 from Columbia College, New York, as a civil engineer, and two years later received a Master of Arts. He later studied law and was admitted to the Detroit bar. At the onset of the Mexican-American War he entered the U.S. Army as adjutant of the 2nd Tennessee Infantry. Later during the war he served on the staff of General Gideon J. Pillow. He went to California as an Army paymaster after the war and qualified as a founding member in the Society of California Pioneers. During this service he became well enough versed in the military sciences to author two books on the subject. After leaving the Army he worked as engineer and superintendent of railroads in New York; surveyed the Detroit and Milwaukee Railroad from Pontiac to Grand Haven, from Detroit to Port Huron, and from Mendota to Galesburg, Illinois.

Civil War

When the Civil...
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