Major-general oliver otis howardhoward was born in leeds, maine, the son of rowland bailey howard and eliza otis howard. Rowland, a farmer, died when oliver was 9 years old. Oliver attended monmouth academy in monmouth, maine, north yarmouth academy in yarmouth, kents hill school in readfield, and graduated from bowdoin college in 1850 at the age of 19. He then attended the united states military academy, graduating in 1854, fourth in his class of 46 cadets, as a brevet second lieutenant of ordnance. He served at the watervliet arsenal near troy, new york, and was the temporary commander of the kennebec arsenal in augusta, maine. In 1855, he married elizabeth anne waite, with whom he would have seven children. In 1857 he was transferred to florida for the seminole wars. It was in florida that he experienced a conversion to evangelical christianity and considered resigning from the army to become a minister. His religious proclivities would later earn him the nickname “the christian general.” howard returned to west point in september 1857 to become an instructor of mathematics and the following year he was promoted to first lieutenant. As the civil war began with the surrender of fort sumter, thoughts of the ministry were put aside and he decided to remain in the service of his country.His civil war appointments were as follows; colonel 3rd maine (4th june 1861); commanding 3rd brigade, 3rd division, army of northeastern virginia (june 17th august 1861); commanding brigade, division of the potomac (17th august 3rd october 1861); brigadier general u.S.V. (3rd september 1861); commanding 1st brigade, sumners division, army of the potomac (25th november 13th march 1862); commanding 1st brigade, 1st division, 2nd corps, army of the potomac (27th august 7th april 1863); major general u.S.V. (19th november 1862); commanding 11th corps, army of the potomac (2nd april 25th september 1863); commanding 11th corps, army of the cumberland (25th september 18th april 1864); commanding 4th corps, army of the cumberland (10th april 27th july 1864); commanding department and armt of the tennessee (27th july 19th may 1865) brigadier general u.S.A. (21st december 1864).On june 1, 1862, while commanding a union brigade in the fair oaks, howard was wounded twice in his right arm, which was subsequently amputated. Brig. Gen. Philip kearny, who had lost his left arm, visited howard and joked that they would be able to shop for gloves together.Howard was able to return to the army for the remainder of the war.From may 1865 to july 1874, general howard was commissioner of the bureau of refugees, freedmen, and abandoned lands. He was placed in command of the department of the columbia in 1874, went west to washington territory’s fort vancouver, where he fought in the indian wars, particularly against the nez perce, with the resultant surrender of chief joseph. In chief joseph’s famous 1879 washington, d.C., speech, he claimed, “if general howard had given me plenty of time to gather up my stock and treated too-hool-hool-suit as a man should be treated, there would have been no war.” subsequently, howard was superintendent of the united states military academy at west point in 188182. He served as commander of the department of the platte from 1882 to 1884. He retired from the united states army in 1894 with the rank of major general.Oliver howard died on 26th october 1909 in burlington, vermont, and is buried there in lake view cemetery.