[Brevet ranks were awarded for gallantry in action or other forms of meritorious service. If authorized by proper authority, an officer could command by virtue of his brevet rank. This was a rather common practice before the Civil War but was rare after the war, when more high ranking officers were available. An officer was entitled to be addressed by his brevet rank.]
1WASHINGTON SEAWELL. A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, the man who built Fort Davis was a veteran of 33 years in 1854. Except for distinguished service in the war with the Seminole Indians of Florida, his career was unspectacular. He had been lieutenant colonel of the 8th Infantry since 1852, and he retired in 1862 as colonel of the 6th Infantry. In 1865 the Government recognized his "long and faithful service" with a brevet of brigadier general. He died in 1888.
2THEODORE FINK. A German immigrant, Lieutenant Fink enlisted in the 8th Infantry in 1841 and worked his way up from the ranks. While sergeant major of the regiment in 1848, he was commissioned Second lieutenant and by 1859, when he commanded Fort Davis, he was a first lieutenant. Promoted to captain in 1860, he died in 1861.
3WILLIAM DYE. An 1849 graduate of Weat Point, Lieutenant Dye secured a volunteer commission when the Civil War broke out. As colonel of the 20th Iowa Infantry, he distinguished himself at Vicksburg, in the Red River campaign, and in the operations against Mobile, Ala. Brevetted brigadier general at the close of the war, he was assigned to the Regular Army as major of the 4th Infantry and was discharged at his own request in 1870.
4JAMES BOMFORD. Bomford was a veteran of more than 30 years in 1860 and had been at Fort Davis for most of the time since its establishment. His record bore brevets for gallantry in three battles of the Mexican War, and he was to win another for gallantry at the Battle of Perryville during the Civil War. In 1865 he was brevetted brigadier general for "faithful and efficient service." He was colonel of the 8th Infantry from 1864 until his retirement in 1874 after 46 years of service. He died in 1892.
5JAMES VAN BORN. Like Bomford, Van Horn rose to command the 8th Infantry; he served as its colonel from 1891 until his death in 1898.
6WESLEY MERRITT. Graduating from West Point in 1860, on the eve of the civil War, Wesley Merritt rose spectacularly during the war years. Promoted from captain to brigadier general in 1863, he commanded successively a brigade, a division, and a corps of cavalry while still in his twenties, and fought brilliantly in most of the major campaigns of the East. Emerging from the war a major general of volunteers, he reverted to a Regular Army rank of lieutenant colonel and as such commanded Fort Davis. He was promoted to colonel of the 5th Cavalry in 1876, to brigadier general in 1887, and to major general in 1895. Following service in the Philippine Islands, he retired in 1900 and died in 1910.
7JAMES WADE. A son of the powerful Ohio Senator Benjamin F. Wade, James Wade made a notable record as an officer of Negro cavalry during the Civil War and after the war secured an appointment in the Regular Army. He served as major of the 9th Cavalry from 1866 to 1879, when he rose to lieutenant colonel of the 10th Cavalry. When Wesley Merritt was made brigadier general in 1887, Wade succeeded him as colonel of the 5th Cavalry. A major general of volunteers in the war with Spain, Wade became a major general in the Regular Army in 1903, retired in 1907, and died in 1921.
8EDWARD HATCH. An officer of Iowa volunteer cavalry during the Civil War, Hatch in 1867 received brevets of brigadier general and major general for gallantry at the Battles of Franklin and Nashville in 1864. He was colonel of the 9th Cavalry from its organization in 1866 until his death in 1889.
9WILLIAM SHAFTER. An officer of Michigan volunteers in the Civil War, Shafter applied for a regular commission at the close of the conflict. As lieutenant colonel of the 24th Infantry, he commanded Fort Davis in the early 1870'S and returned in 1880 as colonel of the 1st Infantry. As major general of volunteers, he led the U.S. Army in Cuba during the war with Spain and in 1901 was placed on the retired list with the rank of major general of the Regular Army. He died in 1906.
10GEORGE LIPPITT ANDREWS secured a Regular Army commission at the outbreak of the Civil War and rose to lieutenant colonel of the 13th Infantry. He remained in the Army after the war and in 1871 was appointed colonel of the 25th Infantry, a position he retained until his retirement in 1892. Colonel Andrews commanded Fort Davis for 4 years in the 1870's; of all post commanders, only Colonel Seawell had a longer tour at Fort Davis. Andrews son, 2d Lt. George Andrews, served under his father in the 25th Infantry at Fort Davis and later rose to general officer rank.
11ZENAS BLISS. An 1855 graduate of West Point, Bliss served under Colonel Seawell in the 8th Infantry at Fort Davis before the Civil War. After an outstanding career as a volunteer officer in the war, he came to Fort Davis as major of the 25th Infantry and commanded the post during the absences of Colonel Andrews. Promoted to lieutenant colonel of the 4th Infantry in 1879 and to colonel of the 24th Infantry in 1886, he retired a major general in 1897. The next year he was awarded a Medal of Honor for heroism at the Battle of Fredericksburg in 1862. He died in 1900.
12LOUIS CARPENTER. One of the most distinguished Indian fighters of the frontier period, Carpenter brought an outstanding Civil War battle record to the West in 1866. He was a captain and troop commander in the 10th Cavalry until 1883 and retired a brigadier general in 1899. To brevets for gallantry at Gettysburg and Winchester in the Civil War, he added another, of colonel, "for gallant and meritorious service in the engagement with Indians on Beaver Creek, Kans., Oct. 18, 1868." In 1898 he was awarded a Medal of Honor "for distinguished conduct during the Indian campaign in Kansas and Colorado, September and October 1868, and on the forced march Sept. 2325, 1868, to the relief of Forsyth's scouts." He died in 1916.
13NAPOLEON BONAPARTE MCLAUGHLEN worked his way up from private to sergeant in the old 2d Dragoons between 1850 and 1860 and was commissioned a second lieutenant when the Civil War broke out. He emerged from the war the colonel of a Massachusetts volunteer regiment and with a brevet of brigadier general. He retired a major of the 10th Cavalry in 1882, shortly after leaving Fort Davis, and died in 1887.
14ANSON MILLS' career was closely associated with West Texas. After 2 years a cadet at West Point, he was found deficient in mathematics and, resigning, went to Texas. A pioneer resident of El Paso, he laid out the first plat of the city and in 1859, when sentiment favored changing the name from Franklin, proposed El Paso. As district surveyor for the State of Texas, he surveyed much of the Trans-Pecos country, including the military reservation of Fort Davis. At the outbreak of the Civil War Mills secured a commission in the 18th Infantry and ended the war a captain with a brevet of lieutenant colonel. He fought in every battle in which the regiment engaged from 1861 to 1865. As a captain of the 3d Cavalry, he played a notable part in the Sioux War of 187677 and came to Fort Davis as major of the 10th Cavalry, a rank he held, under Colonel Grierson, from 1878 to 1890. Promoted to colonel of the 3d Cavalry in 1892, Mills retired a brigadier general in 1897 and served for the next 20 years as a member of the Mexican-American boundary commission. He invented the Mills woven military cartridge belt which became standard equipment in the U.S. Army and in most European armies as well; the basic pattern is still in use. He died in 1924.
15BENJAMIN GRIERSON. A volunteer officer in the Civil War, Grierson is best remembered for "Grierson's Raid" through Mississippi in 1863, for which he received brevets of brigadier and major general. In the Regular Army, he served as colonel of the 10th Cavalry from its organization in 1866 until his retirement in 1890. Two months before retiring, he was promoted to brigadier general. He took up ranching near Fort Davis and died in 1911. Anson Mills, who served under Grierson for 12 years, wrote this estimate of him:
16 ALBERT BRACKETT. A volunteer officer in the Mexican War, Brackett won a captaincy in the Regular Army when the 2d Cavalry was organized in 1855. His History of the U.S. Cavalry, published in 1865, was a popular book in its time and is still used as a source by historians. He retired a colonel in 1891 and died in 1896.
17 FRANK BALDWIN. Like Carpenter, Baldwin compiled an impressive record as a line officer in the Indian wars. He played a significant role in the Red River campaign of 187475, which broke the power of the Kiowas and Comanches, and in the campaign against Sitting Bull's Sioux in Montana in 1876-77. In 1890 he was awarded medals and brevets for gallantry at Peach Tree Creek in the Civil War; at the battles on Red River and McClellan's Creek, Tex., in 1874; and at the battles at Red Water and Wolf Mountain, Mont., in 1876 and 1877. Later, in the Philippines, he won further honors in engagements with Moro tribesmen. He retired a brigadier general in 1906 and died in 1923.