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William Abram Mann
William Abram Mann 2.jpg
Mann circa 1916, at about the time of his assignment as commandant of the School of Musketry
Born (1854-07-31)July 31, 1854
Altoona, Pennsylvania
Died October 8, 1934(1934-10-08) (aged 80)
Washington, D.C.
Place of burial
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch United States Department of the Army Seal.svg United States Army
Years of service 1875–1918
Rank US-O8 insignia.svg Major General
Commands held 6th Infantry Regiment
Department of Dakota
Recruit Depot, Jefferson Barracks, Missouri
3rd Infantry Regiment
1st Brigade, Department of the East
2nd Cavalry Brigade
School of Musketry and Field Artillery
Militia Bureau
42nd Division
Department of the East
Battles/wars American Indian Wars
Spanish–American War
Pancho Villa Expedition
World War I
Awards Silver Star
Other work Executive, Equitable Trust Company of New York

William Abram Mann (July 31, 1854 – October 8, 1934) was a general officer in the United States Army. He served as the commander of the 17th Infantry Brigade in the Spanish–American War and the 42nd Division "The Rainbow Division") in World War I.

After he retired from military service, he became an executive at the Equitable Trust Company of New York. He resided in Washington D.C., until his death on October 8, 1934.

A World War II troop carrier was named for him. The USS W. A. Mann (AP-112), was commissioned in 1943 and served in World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.

Early life and start of military career

Mann was born on July 31, 1854, in Altoona, Pennsylvania, the son of Anna (Bockus) Mann and Charles J. Mann. Charles J. Mann was an attorney and judge, and served as mayor of Altoona from 1884 to 1886. William A. Mann attended the schools of Altoona and obtained an appointment to the United States Military Academy. He graduated in 1875 and received a commission as a second lieutenant of Infantry.

He served in the western United States throughout the 1870 and 1880s, mostly in assignments with the 7th Cavalry. As part of the 17th Infantry Regiment, he took part in the Sioux Indian campaign of 1890 to 1891.

Spanish–American War

Mann served with the 17th Infantry Regiment in the Spanish–American War, participating in the Battle of El Caney and the Siege of Santiago. He received a Silver Star for gallantry in action at El Caney. Mann also served in the Philippines in 1899 and the early 1900s. He graduated from the Army War College in 1905.

Post Spanish–American War

William A Mann
Mann circa 1917, probably as head of the Militia Bureau

From 1907 to 1909 Mann commanded the 6th Infantry Regiment at Fort William Henry Harrison, Montana, also temporarily commanding the Department of Dakota on several occasions. From 1910 to 1911 he commanded the Recruit Depot at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri.

In 1911 he was assigned to the Army's General Staff, and from 1912 to 1913 he was Chief of Staff for the Eastern Department in New York City. He served as Chief of Staff for the division based in Texas City, Texas from 1913 to 1914.

From 1914 to 1915 Mann commanded the 3rd Infantry Regiment at Madison Barracks, New York, and in 1915 he was assigned as commander of 1st Brigade, Department of the East in Albany, New York, receiving promotion to brigadier general.

In 1916 General Mann assumed command of the 2nd Cavalry Brigade in Texas during the Pancho Villa Expedition, and later took command of the School of Musketry and Field Artillery at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

In 1917 he was named to head the Army's Militia Bureau (now the National Guard Bureau), receiving promotion to major general.

World War I

Mann left the Militia Bureau in 1917 to organize and train a division for overseas serviceand was succeeded by Jesse McI. Carter. He became the first commander of the 42nd Division, nicknamed the Rainbow Division, which was composed of National Guard units from 26 states and the District of Columbia. The 42nd Division's activation was important in the development of the National Guard because it was the first time National Guard units from multiple states were organized together and it was the first time smaller Guard units were formed into a division.

Mann was within a year of mandatory retirement in November 1917 when the division in St. Nazaire, France. He began to suffer from poor health after the organization moved to its new location at Vaucouleurs in Lorraine, making chief of staff Colonel Douglas MacArthur the de facto commander. After Mann's superior John J. Pershing made an on-site visit and observed Mann's infirmities, he cabled the War Department requesting that Mann be relieved. Mann returned to the United States and commanded the Department of the East until he retired in July 1918.

Post-military career

After leaving the military Mann became an executive at the Equitable Trust Company of New York.

Retirement and death

In retirement Mann resided in Washington, D.C., and he died there on October 8, 1934. He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery, Section 3, Site 1996.


On September 10, 1884 Mann married Elsie Moir (1862-1936) of Elora, Ontario. They remained married until his death and had no children.



The USS General W. A. Mann (AP-112), a World War II troop carrier, was named for him. The General Mann was commissioned in 1943, used in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, and remained in service until 1965.

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