BORN: 1813 in Savannah, GA.
DIED: 1890 in New York City, NY.
John Charles Frémont was born in Savannah, Georgia, on January 21, 1813. In the 1840s, he led an expedition across the Rocky Mountains, and helped win California from Mexico. Known as the "Pathfinder," he won respect in the North by carrying the standard of the Republican Party in the 1856 campaign, the first Republican Presidential campaign. On May 14, 1861, President Lincoln appointed Frémont major general. Because of the influence of Frémont's many friends, Lincoln placed him in command of the Western Department, with headquarters in St. Louis. Unfortunately, Frémont did not prove himself equal to the task. He spent hundreds of thousands of dollars fortifying the city. He sent his troops into combat without sufficiently equipping and supporting them. Because of his contributions to the Union defeats at Springfield and Lexington, Frémont lost many of his friends and political allies. The President lost confidence in him when he ordered all slaves owned by Missouri secessionists free, without official authority to do so. While Frémont had intended the proclamation as a war measure to help the Union, Lincoln saw it as an endangerment to the loyalty of the border states. Three months after he had arrived in St. Louis, Frémont was removed from command. In March of 1862, he was made commander of the new Mountain Department, a position he also bungled. He asked to be relieved of his duties when Maj. Gen. John Pope was appointed his superior. Frémont tried to lead a third party in the 1864 Presidential elections. Frémont lost his properties in California, causing a decline in his personal fortunes. He began to depend on his wife's income from her writing career. From 1878 to 1883, he served as territorial governor of Arizona. Frémont died on July 13, 1890, in New York City.