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Gaines, Edmund P.

Born: 1777-03-20 Culpeper County, Virginia

Died: 1849-06-06 New Orleans, Louisiana

Son of a revolutionary war veteran, Gaines was a veteran of the War of 1812, the Seminole Wars, the Black Hawk War, and the Mexican-American War. Gaines was elected lieutenant of a volunteer rifle company in 1795. He joined the U.S. Army as an ensign in 1797, was promoted to lieutenant in 1799, and was mustered out in 1800. Gaines reenlisted in the Army in 1801, as a second lieutenant in the Fourth Infantry. He transferred to the Second Infantry in 1802, and advanced to first lieutenant. Gaines arrested Aaron Burr in 1807, gaining national attention, and testified against Burr at his trial. After being promoted to captain in 1807, Gaines considered studying law. On a long furlough in 1811, he read law and briefly served as a judge in Pascagoula Parish, Mississippi Territory. Impending the War of 1812, Gaines rejoined the Army as a major in the Eighth Infantry in March 1812, and four months later was transferred to the Twenty-Fourth Infantry, gaining promotion to lieutenant colonel. In March 1813, Gaines earned promotion to colonel of the Twenty-Fifth Infantry. One year later, he attained the rank of brigadier general. In July 1814, Gaines was summoned to Fort Erie, where, one month later, he was seriously wounded when a shell exploded in his headquarters. For his role at Fort Erie, Gaines received a congressional gold medal, the Thanks of Congress, and was breveted major general. When the Mexican War broke out, Gaines recruited thousands of volunteers without authorization and was ordered to cease. Refusing the order, the War Department relieved him and initiated court-martial proceedings. He was later acquitted and restored command of the Eastern Division. In 1848, he returned to New Orleans in command of his old jurisdiction.

John C. Fredriksen, "Gaines, Edmund Pendleton," American National Biography (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), 8:617-19; Gravestone, Church Street Cemetery, Mobile, AL.