Military Wiki
James Totten
Born (1818-09-11)September 11, 1818
Died October 1, 1871(1871-10-01) (aged 53)
Place of birth Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Place of death Sedalia, Missouri
Place of burial Crown Hill Cemetery in Sedalia, Missouri
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Union Army
Years of service 1841–70
Rank Brevet Brigadier General
Commands held Chief of Artillery, Union forces in Missouri
Battles/wars American Civil War
Relations Joseph Totten (brother)
C. A. L. Totten (son)

James Totten (September 11, 1818 – October 1, 1871) was a career American soldier who served in the United States Army and retired from active service in 1870 as the Assistant Inspector General. He served as a general in the Union Army during the American Civil War.

Early life and career[]

Totten was born in 1818 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania,[1] He graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1841 and subsequently became a first lieutenant in 1847 before fighting Seminole Indians in Florida during 1849–50.[1] After attaining the rank of captain in 1855, he went to Bleeding Kansas to try to suppress the disturbances there.

Civil War service[]

When the American Civil War began in 1861, Totten was in command of the Little Rock, Arkansas, arsenal with just 65 men. He was forced to evacuate his forces to St. Louis when about 5,000 pro-secession volunteers led by Governor Henry M. Rector poured into the city and surrounded the federal armory. Serving under generals Nathaniel Lyon and John C. Frémont in Missouri as their chief of artillery, Totten was promoted to lieutenant colonel in September 1861. He became known for the style which he used to issue orders to his batteries. Punctuated with profanity, a typical order might sound like, "Forward that caisson, G-d d--n you, sir!" It was claimed that some soldiers would walk half a mile just to listen to Totten for five minutes.[2] On February 12, 1862, Totten was promoted to Brigadier General in the Missouri Militia. Totten commanded the 2nd Division in the Army of the Frontier in 1862. He was not present with the division when it went into action at the battle of Prairie Grove and was therefore led by Colonel Daniel Huston, Jr. In 1865 Totten commanded the artillery in the Military Division of West Mississippi and participated in the battle of Fort Blakely.

Following the war, the Army issued a large number of brevet (honorary) promotions to hundreds of officers to recognize their service. Totten received brevets to the ranks of colonel and brigadier general in the Union Army dating from March 13, 1865, "for gallant and meritorious service in the field".[1]


Totten died in Sedalia, Missouri, in the fall of 1871, and was buried in Crown Hill Cemetery.[1]

See also[]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Wilson & Fiske 1900
  2. Wilson's Creek by William Piston and Richard Hatcher II


This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).