Reference Entry

Brannan, John Milton

in American National Biography Online


Published online February 2000 | e-ISBN: 9780198606697

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soldier, was born in Washington, D.C., the son of John Brannan and Sarah Salome Myer. While Brannan’s middle name has been historically recognized as Milton, it actually was Myer, his mother’s maiden name. Brannan apparently did not use the appellation “Milton” on official documents, and it may not have been attributed to him until his death. His family operated a boardinghouse that catered to congressional members in Washington. His father compiled a documentary history of the War of 1812 and passed his interest in military affairs on to his son. As a youth, Brannan familiarized himself with martial matters while he worked as a page for the U.S. House of Representatives. As a reward for five years of faithful service, over a hundred representatives, led by Indiana’s Ratliff Boon, successfully petitioned for Brannan’s admission into West Point in 1837. Four years later he graduated twenty-third in a class of fifty-two cadets. He excelled in infantry tactics but struggled somewhat with artillery training. Nevertheless, he received his first commission as a brevet second lieutenant of artillery.

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