(1814–76) Union army officer, born in New York City. King was a brigade then division commander whose reputation was scarred by his actions at Second Bull Run (1862). Rather than hold his position when attacked by the forces of Gen. Thomas ”Stonewall” Jackson while proceeding, as ordered, toward Centreville, Virginia, King retreated toward Manassas Junction. Although he had never received the orders to hold his position, he made a handy scapegoat after the Union defeat. A court of inquiry reprimanded him for disobedience of orders and dereliction of duty. King never held another combat post, and resigned his commission in 1863. King's participation in the Civil War interrupted his post as minister to the Papal States (1861–68).
From The Oxford Essential Dictionary of the U.S. Military in Oxford Reference.
Subjects: Warfare and Defence.