BORN: 1798 in Boscawen, NH.
DIED: 1879 in NYC, NY.
(Outranked all other volunteer officers until the end of the civil war)
John Adams Dix was born on July 24, 1798, in Boscawen, New Hampshire. He first saw action as an ensign at 14, and served under father, Lt. Col. Timothy Dix, in the War of 1812. Young Dix resigned from the service in 1828. He entered business in Cooperstown, New York; and became a Jacksonian Democrat politician. Dix served as state adjutant general, state school superintendent and a member of the Albany Regency, and was a member of the US Senate (1845-1850). For the next ten years, he was president of 2 railroads, while practicing law in New York City. In 1859, President James Buchanan appointed Dix postmaster of New York City; and, in 1861, Dix was made US Secretary of the Treasury. After he started his term, he issued the famous "American Flag Dispatch": "If anyone attempts to haul down the American flag, shoot him on the spot." Dix received the first commission from President Lincoln as major general of volunteers, dated May 16, 1861. Thus, Dix outranked all other volunteer officers until the end of the Civil War. He commanded the Department of Annapolis and the Department of Pennsylvania in 1861, the Middle Department in 1862, the Department of Virginia in 1862 and 1863 and the Department of the East to the end of the war. Dix made a great contribution to the Union war effort by suppressing the New York draft riots in 1863. He resigned in 1865, returning to private life. Soon, however, he was appointed minister to France, and was elected governor of 1872. He was not reelected, however, and spent the rest of his years in retirement. Dix died on April 21, 1879, in New York City. Fort Dix, an army installation in southern New Jersey, is named after him.