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Brevet Brigadier-General Paul A. Oliver, U.S.V.


Brevet Brigadier-General Paul A. Oliver was born at sea on the 18th July, 1831, on the ship " Louisiana," owned and commanded by his father, Captain Paul A. Oliver, who was a native of Philadelphia, and served as sailing-master in the United States Navy in the War of 1812.

General Oliver was engaged as shipping merchant, and resided at Fort Hamilton at the time the yellow fever epidemic prevailed in that village in 1856. He established a hospital, and was made president of the Fort Hamilton Relief Society, which he organized, and by its efforts the disease was prevented from spreading to the city of Brooklyn.

In January, 1862, he enlisted as second lieutenant in the Twelfth New York Infantry, which was assigned to the Third Brigade, First Division, Fifth Corps, then stationed at Hall's Hill, Virginia. He participated in the siege of Yorktown and battle of Hanover Court-House; commanded his company at the battle of Gaines's Mills (where he was wounded), Second Bull Run, Antietam, and Fredericksburg. In December, 1862, his company was detailed as head-quarters guard of the Fifth Corps, where it remained to the close of the war. When General Butterfield was appointed chief of staff of the Army of the Potomac, under Hooker, Lieutenant Oliver was appointed on his staff as his aide, and as such served in the campaign ! of Chancellorsville. In the Gettysburg campaign he was appointed personal aide to General Meade, and remained on his staff until General Hooker got command of the Eleventh and Twelfth Corps, when he went with him, and served on his staff in the battles of Lookout Valley, Lookout Mountain, Missionary Ridge, and Ringgold. On the Atlanta campaign, in the spring of 1864, he served with General Butterfield, who had command of a division of the Twentieth Corps, as his chief of staff, in the battles of Resaca, Carsville, Dallas, New Hope Church, and Marietta. In July, 1864, he returned to the Army of the Potomac at his own request, and served on the staff of General Warren, part of the time as acting provost-marshal of the Fifth Corps. At this time he received the commission of major, and afterwards lieutenant-colonel of the Fifth New York Veteran Volunteers, but declined. He participated in the siege of Petersburg and the various battles,-Yellow Tavern, Weldon Railroad, Hatcher's Run, raid to Bellfield, and Hicksford. In January he was transferred, by special orders of Grant, to City Point on special duty, under General M. R. Patrick. On the 8th of March, 1865, he was brevetted brigadier-general. At the surrender of Lee he was, as assistant provost-marshal, engaged in paroling the Army of Northern Virginia, at Appomattox, under the direction of General George H. Sharpe, assistant provost-marshal, who took the original paroles of the Army of Northern Virginia to the War Department, Washington, and the duplicate paroles were taken by General Oliver to Richmond, and handed by him to Colonel Taylor, General Lee's adjutant-general. The war being closed, General Oliver tendered his resignation, and was honorably discharged May 5, 1865.

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General Oliver received honorable mention by General Butterfield in official report of the Seven Days' battles, June-July, 1862 (" Official Record," vol. xiv., p. 321); also for his coolness and assistance at the battle of Bull Run (official report of Captain William Huson, Twelfth New York Volunteers, idcm xvi., 477). He also received honorable mention for brave and intelligent performance of duties as aide-de-camp by General Hooker in official report of the Chattanooga Ringgold Campaign (idcm Iv., 325).

Since that time he has been engaged in the manufacture of powder at Laurel Run, Oliver's Mills, Pennsylvania. General Oliver received the medal of honor for distinguished services at the battle of Resaca, May 15, 1864.

Source: Officers of the Volunteer Army and Navy who served in the Civil War, published by L.R. Hamersly & Co., 1893, 419 pgs.


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