John Ellis Wool

Major General John Ellis Wool

United States Army Officer

General John Ellis Wool had an illustrious military career that began with the War of 1812 and ended with his leadership of the Union forces in the New York City Draft Riots of 1863. 

Born in Newburgh New York but raised in Schaghticoke, Rensselaer County, Wool began his military career as a Captain in the 14th United States Infantry, leading his regiment with distinction during the Battle of Plattsburgh. For his service, he was promoted to major. 

During the Mexican War, General Wool distinguished himself in leading his troops at the Battle of Buena Vista. He earned a Congressional sword and was promoted to major general. He then took over command of the Eastern Department and the Dept. of the Pacific after the war. Although he was quite elderly when the Civil War broke out, he again played a key role in protecting the entrance to Chesapeake Bay. 

Major Wool witnessed the major naval battle of the iron clad ships: the “Monitor” vs “Merrimac”. His last battle was not on the battlefields of the South, but rather on the streets of New York City during the Draft Riots of 1863. 

General Wool’s monument is a 75’ granite monolith, one of the tallest single pieces of granite in the United States. Quarried in Vinalhaven, Maine, the monument was shipped down the east coast, up the Hudson River to Hoosick Street, where a special railroad track was built to move the monument to Oakwood. An enormous scaffold was erected to set the monument in place. It is one of the most visited gravesites in Oakwood.

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