00809 - Captain James W. Forsyth; Provost Marshall, Aquia Creek VA, Feb. 1863 [LC-DIG-cwpb-00809]
After graduating West Point in 1856, James Forsyth served in the Infantry under George Pickett. At the start of the Civil War he was named a temporary Colonel for the 64th Ohio Infantry until the return of Colonel (later General and then President) James Garfield. With Garfield’s return, he transferred to the Army of the Potomac as a Captain, where he served in several staff positions during the Peninsular and Maryland Campaigns. At the time when this image was taken in 1863, he was the Provost Marshall (head of Military Police) after the battle of Fredericksburg.
Later that year he was promoted to Major and was adjutant to General Sheridan. Sheridan promoted him to Chief of Staff for the Army of the Shenandoah and then to the Union Cavalries. Promoted to Lt. Colonel in early 1864 he was promoted again to Brigadier General (Brevet) by the end of the year. Following the war he remained the Army continuing to work in support of General Sheridan.
After serving in numerous Indian War campaigns in the late 1860’s and 70’s, he assumed command of the 7th Cavalry in 1886 and was in command of the unit during the Wounded Knee Massacre in 1890. Finally in 1894, he was once again promoted to Brigadier General (his previous promotion having been a temporary wartime promotion) some thirty years after his first promotion to General. He was promoted again to Major General in 1897 and passed away in 1906.