From Ohio History Central
S. Stanley was a military leader in the Army of the United States for much of the last half of the nineteenth century.
David Sloan Stanley was born on June 1, 1828, in Wayne County, Ohio. In 1848, he received an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point. Stanley graduated in 1852 and spent the years before the American Civil War in the western part of the United States. He battled Native Americans and surveyed a transcontinental railroad route. He also tried to maintain peace during the civil unrest over slavery in what came to be called "Bleeding Kansas."
When the Civil War began in April 1861, Stanley was stationed at Fort Smith, Arkansas. He held the rank of captain and commanded the Fourth United States Cavalry. Once Arkansas seceded from the United States, Stanley and his men went to Kansas. He spent the remainder of 1861 battling Confederate soldiers in Missouri. Stanley attained the rank of brigadier-general in November 1861.
During 1862, Stanley was involved in numerous battles along the Mississippi River and in Tennessee, including the Battles of New Madrid, Island No. 10, and Corinth. He served in the Army of the Tennessee, under General Ulysses S. Grant, and commanded the cavalry of the Army of the Cumberland, under General William S. Rosecrans. Stanley played an important role during 1863 as the Army of the Cumberland attempted to free Tennessee from Confederate troops. Stanley participated in the Battles of Stone River and Chickamauga, before taking sick-leave for two months.
In 1864, Stanley participated in General William T. Sherman's campaign to capture Atlanta, Georgia. Stanley did not accompany Sherman on the March to the Sea, staying behind in Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee to prevent General John Bell Hood's Confederate army from capturing Nashville, Tennessee. He was wounded during the Battle of Franklin in November 1864, but Stanley returned to duty in January 1865. In July 1865, he was assigned to command all soldiers located in the Middle District of Texas. He remained in the military after the Civil War, battling Native Americans and exploring the West.
In 1884, Stanley was promoted to brigadier-general in the regular army. He retired from the army in June 1892. After retirement, Stanley became the governor of the soldier's home in Washington, DC. He died in the capital on March 13, 1902.
The United States presented Stanley with the Congressional Medal of Honor on March 29, 1893, for his courage at the Battle of Franklin. The citation read, "At a critical moment rode to the front of one of his brigades, reestablished its lines, and gallantly led it in a successful assault."
- Reid, Whitelaw. Ohio in the War: Her Statesmen, Generals and Soldiers. Cincinnati, OH: Clarke, 1895.
- Dee, Christine, ed. Ohio's War: The Civil War in Documents. Athens: Ohio University Press, 2007.
- Official Roster of the Soldiers of the State of Ohio in the War of Rebellion, 1861-1866. Akron, OH: The Werner Company, 1893.
- Roseboom, Eugene H. The Civil War Era: 1850-1873. Columbus: Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Society, 1944.