James Shields


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(1806–79) Union army officer. Shields grew up in Ireland and emigrated to Illinois in 1827. He raised a regiment to fight in the Mexican War (1846–48) and was present at a number of important battles, including Cerro Gordo and Chapultepec. He won election to the U.S. Senate in 1849, although the election was of questionable legality since Shields had not been naturalized long enough to meet Constitutional requirements. His service was undistinguished. Shields was not re-elected and he moved to Minnesota. When his new business partner was elected governor, Shields won election to the Senate from his new adopted state, and he took his seat in 1858. When Republicans swept the state in 1859, Shields moved again, this time to California, where he again was politically active. In the Civil War, he was a brigadier general; he fought off Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson in the Shenandoah Valley in 1862 but was defeated by Jackson two months later at Winchester. He resigned his commission, moved to Missouri, and won election to Congress in 1868, although the election was overturned on grounds of fraud. He again was active in local politics and in January 1879 was appointed to the U.S. Senate to fill an unexpired term. He retired in March 1879.


From The Oxford Essential Dictionary of the U.S. Military in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Warfare and Defence.

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