Membership in the Quincy Gillmore CWRT is open to anyone with an active interest in the study of the military, political, and social aspects of the American Civil War, including the events leading up to the Civil War and the events of the Reconstruction Era.

Meetings are held the second Monday of September and the first Mondays October through May, on the campus of the Lorain County Community College. Meetings start at 6:30 pm.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Who Was General Quincy Adams Gillmore?

Nearly forgotten today, General Quincy Adams Gillmore was recognized as the greatest artillerist and engineer of the American Civil War. Going against the conventional wisdom of the military authorities, Gillmore proved that modern rifled cannon could destroy a masonry fort at distances of up to a mile. In forcing the "state of the art" Fort Pulaski into surrender and later destroying Fort Sumter, he changed the nature of warfare throughout the world. Never again would any nation rely upon free standing, above ground fortifications.

Gillmore was one of the first Union generals to employ African-American troops in serious combat roles. He ordered his forces integrated and used the 54th Massachusetts in the assault on Battery Wagner outside Charleston, the subject of the movie Glory. Later, his long artillery campaign to take the battery ironically proved the usefulness of earthen and sand fortifications, also leading to changes in defensive operations. Gillmore's forces eventually entered Battery Wagner on September 7, 1863.

Gillmore also commanded new recruits, invalid soldiers and units of the XIX Corps in the defense of Washington during Jubal Early's 1864 raid on the capital. After the war, he continued to work as a civil engineer and was involved in improving coastal defenses.

Born in Black River (now the City of Lorain), Ohio on February 28, 1825, Gillmore seemed destined for greatness. His father learned of John Quincy Adams' election to the presidency on the day of his son's birth, a coincidence that provided Gillmore with his given names.

The Gillmores were early settlers of the new town and owned a large, 1000-acre farm along Lake Erie to the mouth of the Black River. Quincy worked the farm with his father Quartus during the summers but attended a school in Norwalk, Ohio during winters. Later becoming a teacher at Elyria High School, Gillmore came to the attention of the local Congressman, E.S. Hamlin, who appointed him to fill a vacancy at West Point.

Although opposed to his son's decision on a military career, it is said Quartus Gillmore was won over when Quincy promised to finish first in his class, a promise he fulfilled when he graduated at the top of the Class of 1849.

Today, the Quincy Gillmore Civil War Round Table, based in Gillmore's Lorain County, Ohio, is dedicated to both the study of the Civil War and the memory of that war's greatest artillerist and engineer.
References: Biographical Encyclopedia Ohio - 1876, Galaxy Publishing Company (courtesy of Lorain Historical Society); Cooling, B. Franklin, Monocacy: The Battle That Saved Washington, White Mane Books; Quincy Adams Gillmore, Wikipedia.


  1. Jim, Nice job. This will be a great help to all the members.

  2. Thanks for the comment Matt. And thanks for the help with it.