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Jeremy Francis Gilmer
Born (1818-03-23)March 23, 1818
Died December 1, 1883(1883-12-01) (age 136)
Place of birth Guilford County, North Carolina
Place of death Savannah, Georgia
Allegiance United States United States of America
Confederate States of America Confederate States of America
Service/branch U.S. Army
Confederate States Army
Years of service 1839–1861 (USA)
1861–1865 (CSA)
Rank Union army cpt rank insignia Captain (USA)
35px Major General (CSA)

Mexican War
American Civil War

Other work President of Savannah Gas Company
Director and engineer of Georgia Central Railroad

Jeremy Francis Gilmer (February 23, 1818 – December 1, 1883) was an American soldier, mapmaker, and civil engineer most noted for his service as the Chief Engineer of the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War. As a major general, he oversaw the planning of the elaborate defenses of the city of Atlanta, Georgia.

Early lifeEdit

Gilmer was born in Guilford County, North Carolina. He entered the army corps of engineers as a second lieutenant upon his graduation from the United States Military Academy in 1839. He ranked fourth in a graduating class that included future fellow Civil War generals Halleck, Canby, Hunt, and Ord. He was an assistant professor of engineering at West Point until June 1840, when he was reassigned to New York City where he was assistant engineer in the construction of Fort Schuyler in New York Harbor.

Gilmer served in the Mexican War as Chief Engineer of the Army of the West in the New Mexico Territory and helped design and construct Fort Marcy in Sante Fe. He also surveyed battlefields near Mexico City.

Assigned to Georgia, he superintended the improvement of the Savannah River and the construction of Fort Jackson and Fort Pulaski.[1]

Until 1861, he was active in making surveys, constructing fortifications in various locations including San Francisco, California, and executing various river and harbor improvements.

Civil WarEdit

Upon the outbreak of the Civil War, he resigned his commission in June 1861, left California, and entered the Confederate service. He was appointed as a major of engineers. He soon became chief engineer on the staff of General A. S. Johnston as a lieutenant colonel. Gilmer was severely wounded in his right arm at the Battle of Shiloh, where Johnston was killed. After his recovery in Georgia, Gilmer was promoted to chief engineer of the Department of Northern Virginia in early August 1862. He was stationed at Richmond with the rank of brigadier general.

Jeremy Francis Gilmer

Gilmer, Chief of the Confederate Engineering Bureau

In 1863, he was promoted to major general and appointed Chief of the Engineer Bureau for the Confederacy. He spent time overseeing the defenses of Charleston, South Carolina, although he was still plagued by recurring health problems from his Shiloh wound. Concerned that the vital rail and manufacturing center of Atlanta would be targeted by Union forces, he commissioned Atlanta businessman and entrepreneur Lemuel P. Grant to develop a plan to ring the city with forts and earthworks along all the key approaches. These elaborate defenses would prove difficult to seize in frontal assaults, forcing the Union army to lay siege to Atlanta in the summer of 1864.

Gilmer helped improve the defenses of Mobile, Alabama, in June and July. He returned to Richmond in July 1864 and spent the rest of the war there as Chief of the Engineer Bureau.

Post-War careerEdit

After the war, from 1867–1883 Gilmer was president and engineer of the Savannah Gas Company. He was also a director of the Georgia Central Railroad.


Jeremy F. Gilmer died from heart disease in Savannah, Georgia, and is buried in the city's Laurel Grove Cemetery.

See alsoEdit


PD-icon.svg This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Gilman, D. C.; Thurston, H. T.; Moore, F., eds (1905). "article name needed". New International Encyclopedia (1st ed.). New York: Dodd, Mead. 
  1. Myers, 1972, pp. 1529-1530)

External linksEdit

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