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Alexander Cummings McWhorter Pennington Jr. facts for kids

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Alexander Cummings McWhorter Pennington Jr.
Pennington 1LT Alex CM Jr - Battery A 2nd US Artillery - at Fair Oaks 1862.jpg
Alexander C.M. Pennington Jr., 1862. detail of photo by James F. Gibson. Library of Congress
Born January 8, 1838 (1838-01-08)
Newark, New Jersey
Died November 30, 1917 (1917-12-01) (aged 79)
New York City, New York
Place of burial
West Point Cemetery
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Union Army
Years of service 1860–1899
Rank Union Army brigadier general rank insignia.svg Brigadier General
Commands held Battery A, 2nd U.S. Artillery
Battery M, 2nd U.S. Artillery
3rd New Jersey Volunteer Cavalry
1st Brigade, 3rd Division, Cavalry Corps
2nd U.S. Artillery
Battles/wars American Civil War
Spanish–American War
Relations Alexander Cummings McWhorter Pennington (father)

Alexander Cummings McWhorter Pennington Jr. (January 8, 1838 – November 30, 1917), was an artillery officer and brigadier general in the United States Army and a veteran of both the American Civil War and Spanish–American War.

Early life and career

Pennington was born in Newark, New Jersey, the son of Congressman Alexander Cummings McWhorter Pennington (1810–1867), the second cousin of New Jersey Governor and Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives William Pennington (1796–1862), and the grandnephew of New Jersey Governor William Sandford Pennington (1757–1826).

He attended the United States Military Academy at West Point, during the brief period in the 1850s when the curriculum was expanded to five years. He graduated 18th in the Class of 1860. Appointed as a brevet second lieutenant on graduation day, July 1, 1860, he received his commission February 1, 1861, and was permanently assigned to the 2nd U.S. Artillery. There, he gained experience under the tutelage of Captain John C. Tidball, serving under him in Battery A.

Civil War

Battery A, 2nd U.S. Artillery, was the first unit assigned and equipped as horse artillery, and served throughout the war with the U.S. Horse Artillery Brigade, in the Army of the Potomac. Pennington began the war as the lead (right) section chief in Battery A, and was cited for gallantry in the Peninsula Campaign. He was awarded brevet promotions to captain (June 9, 1863) for actions at Beverly Ford, Virginia, and major (July 3, 1863) for actions at Gettysburg.

He commanded Battery M, 2nd U.S. Artillery in 1863 and 1864, also with the Horse Artillery. Promoted to captain in the regular army, Pennington took a volunteer commission as the colonel of the 3rd New Jersey Volunteer Cavalry on October 1, 1864. Cited again for gallantry at Cedar Creek (October 19, 1864), he was awarded a brevet promotion to lieutenant colonel. He commanded the 3rd New Jersey Cavalry through the end of the war, and mustered out of the volunteer service on August 1, 1865. For his distinguished service throughout the war, he was awarded brevet promotions to colonel in the regular army and brigadier general of volunteers. Pennington was nominated for appointment to the grade of brevet brigadier general of volunteers, to rank from July 15, 1865, by President Andrew Johnson on January 13, 1866, and the United States Senate confirmed the appointment on March 12, 1866.

After the war, Pennington became a First Class Companion of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States, a military society for Union officers.

Postbellum career

After the war, Pennington returned to service in the regular army, serving as a captain in the 1st U.S. Artillery. He transferred to the 4th U.S. Artillery with his promotion to major (November 8, 1882), and remained there as lieutenant colonel (November 28, 1892) until October 1896. He returned to his original regiment, the 2nd U.S. Artillery, where he served as its colonel and commander, from October 29, 1896, to the outbreak of hostilities between the United States and Spain.

Along with his responsibilities as commander of the 2nd Artillery, Pennington served as the commanding officer of Fort Adams in Newport, Rhode Island, from December 1, 1896, to May 24, 1898. In this position Pennington was the senior Army officer in New England and commanded all coastal fortifications from Maine to Connecticut.

During the Spanish–American War, Pennington served as a brigadier general of volunteers from May 4, 1898, to April 12, 1899, and earned his final promotion, to brigadier general in the Regular Army, one day before his retirement, on October 17, 1899.

Pennington retired to New Jersey, where he lived through the beginning of the First World War. Pennington died in New York City and is buried in West Point Cemetery. His wife, Clara Miller French Pennington, daughter of The Rev. John W. French, died in 1915.


Alexander and Clara Pennington were the parents of at least five children, including Annie, the wife of Adelbert Cronkhite, and Edith, the second wife of Charles Treat.

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