James Henry Simpson

Birth: 1813


James Henry Simpson (1813-1883) was an American soldier, b. in New Jersey, 9 March, 1813 ; d. in St. Paul, Minn., 2 March, 1883. He was graduated at the U.S. military academy in 1832, and assigned to the artillery. During the Florida war he was aide to Gen. Abraham Eustis. He was made 1st lieutenant in the corps of topographical engineers on 7 July, 1838, engaged in surveying the northern lakes and the western plains, was promoted captain on 3 March, 1853, served as chief topographical engineer with the army in Utah, and in 1859 explored a new route from Salt Lake City to the Pacific coast, the reports of which he was busy in preparing till the beginning of the civil war. He served as chief topographical engineer of the Department of the Shenandoah, was promoted major on 6 Aug., 1861, was made colonel of the 4th New Jersey volunteers on 12 Aug., 1861, and took part in the peninsular campaign, being engaged at West Point and at Gaines's Mill where he was taken prisoner.

After his exchange in August, 1862. he resigned his volunteer commission in order to act as chief topographical engineer, and afterward as chief engineer of the Department of the Ohio, where he was employed in making and repairing railroads and erecting temporary fortifications. He was promoted lieutenant-colonel of engineers on 1 June, he had general charge of fortifications in Kentucky from that time till the close of the war, was brevetted colonel and brigadier-general in March, 1865, and was chief engineer of the interior department, having charge of the inspection of the Union Pacific railroad, till 1867. He afterward superintended defensive works at Key West, Mobile, and other places, surveys of rivers and harbors, the improvement of navigation in the Mississippi and other western rivers, and the construction of bridges at Little Rock, Ark., St. Louis, Mo., Clinton. Iowa, and other places.


Gen. Simpson was the author of "Shortest Route to California across the Great Basin of Utah" (Philadelphia. 1869), and "Essay on Coronado's March in Search of the Seven Cities of Cibola" (1869). He was retired in March, 1880.

Appletons' Cyclopaedia of American Biography (1900), Volume 5 pg. 572

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