BORN: 1823 in Whitefield, NH.
DIED: 1876 in Nashua, NH.
CAMPAIGNS: Fort Sumpter, Roanoke Island, New Berne, Knoxville Siege,
Savannah and Charleston.
John Gray Foster was born on May 27, 1823, in Whitefield, New Hampshire. He and his family moved to Nashua, New Hampshire, and he received his early education there. After graduating from West Point in 1846, he was commissioned a lieutenant in the construction engineers. Serving in the Mexican War, he won two brevets and was seriously wounded at Molino del Rey. After the war, he worked on various engineering assignments, and taught at West Point. At the beginning of the Civil War, he was working as an engineer in charge of the fortifications of Charleston Harbor. Foster went to Washington, D.C. after the surrender of Fort Sumter. On October 23, 1861, he became a brigadier general of volunteers. Commanding a New England infantry brigade in North Carolina, including the Battle of Roanoke Island and the Battle of New Berne, he was praised for his service. Foster was made military governor of New Berne and its vicinity; and, in July, was placed in command of a division and the Department of North Carolina (with the Department of Virginia added later). On July 18, 1862, he was appointed a major general. He maintained departmental command until November of 1863, he then held various administrative positions, with occasional opportunities in active operations. These included service in the 1863 Siege of Knoxville and a stint as commander of the Army of the Ohio. Foster had to leave the Army of the Ohio when he was injured by falling from a horse. After his recovery, he was made head of the Department of the South in May of 1864, working with Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman in the Siege of Savannah and the Siege of Charleston. At the end of the war, Foster was leading troops in Florida as a brevet major general of Regulars. After the Civil War, he took part in surveys and construction work in New England, assisted the chief of engineers and published works on different topics in military and engineering affairs. Foster died in Nashua, on September 2, 1874.