Brigadier General, United States Army
of Gordon Ovenshine, Pittsburgh,
Pennsylvania: (724) 772-0387:
Samuel Ovenshine was born in Philadelphia on April 2, 1843. His father died when he was 16, and when the Civil War broke out 18-year-old Ovenshine was studying law in Baltimore.
Following President Abraham Lincoln's call for 75,000 volunteers to quell the rebellion against the government, Ovenshine was appointed from Maryland, Second Lieutenant, 5th United States Infantry on August 5, 1861. His entire service in the Civil War was with that regiment, first in Kansas and later New Mexico. The regiment prevented those regions from joining the Confederacy and provided protection against Indians.
Ovenshine was promoted to First Lieutenant on September 25, 1861; Captain on March 30, 1864.
Ovenshine participated in many of the important Indian campaigns of the 19th Century. They included the Black Kettle Campaign of 1868-69, under the command of Major General Philip H. Sheridan in what is now Oklahoma; and The Red River War in 1874 against the Northern Cheyennes and Sioux in Montana.
As part of the 5th Infantry, Ovenshine was with the first division of reinforcements to arrive in Montana after the foibles of General George A. Custer at the Battle of Little Big Horn, 1876.
Ovenshine was promoted to Major, 23rd United States Infantry on July 10, 1885; Lieutenant Colonel, 15th United States Infantry on January 31, 1891; and Colonel, 23rd United States, April 26, 1895.
Ovenshine was twice awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in action during the Philippine Insurrection, following the capture of Manila on February 5, 1899 and the Battle of Zapote River on June 13, 1899.
At Zapote River, Ovenshine commanded one of two provisional brigades that fought one of the largest and fiercest battles of the war. The fighting began when 1,000 Filipinos ambushed the brigades seven miles south of Manila. The American troops had to break through the enemy flank to gain control of the river.
In his official report, Brigadier General Arthur MacArthur (father of Douglas MacArthur) stated: "The invincible composure of Colonel Ovenshine, during an exposure in dangerous space for more than an hour, was conspicuous and very inspiring to the troops; and the efficient manner in which he took advantage of opportunities as they arose during the varying aspects of the fight was of great practical value in determining the result."
Major General Henry W. Lawton reported: "(Colonel) Ovenshine, riding back and forth not over 150 yards from the enemy's entrenchments, directing his command, was certainly an inspiring example to his men."
Ovenshine was promoted to Brigadier General on October 18, 1899. He retired on October 20, 1899. Aside from the Silver Star, he was awarded the following service medals: Civil War, Indian Wars, War with Spain, Philippine Insurrection and Philippine Congressional Medal.
General Ovenshine and his wife, Sallie, who had seven children, made their home in Washington D.C. He died there on July 5, 1932. He was buried with full military honors in Section 1 of Arlington National Cemetery.
The following family members are also buried in this gravesite:
Sallie Yeatman Ovenshine. Wife of Samuel Ovenshine. 1848-1918.
Ovenshine, Colonel, United States Army. Son of Samuel
Ethel Keyes Ovenshine, wife of Englebert Glover
Ovenshine. December 3,
Sallie Yeatman Ovenshine. Daughter of Samuel Ovenshine. 1885-1960.
His daughter, Harriet Ovenshine Weeks, was married to an Army officer and is buried in Section 1 with her husband.
Another daughter, Mary Aston Ovenshine Norvell,
wife of Colonel Guy Stevens Norvell, United
States Army, is also buried in Arlington with her husband.
OVENSHINE, SALLIE Y D/O SAMUEL
Samuel Ovenshine, Captain, 5th Infantry, Fort Keogh, Montana, April 26, 1884
(Photo Courtesy of Gordon Ovenshine)
Note: Richard Powell Ovenshine, USMA 1919, retired as a Brigadier General in 1954. Richard Powell Ovenshine was born on 6 November 1899 in Columbus, Franklin County, Ohio. He received a degree in B.A. at West Point in 1919. He received a degree in B.S. at M.I.T. in 1923. He died on 14 July 1992 in Bloomfield Hills, Oakland, Michigan. He served in the Korean was as a Colonel. He was the grandson of Samuel Ovenshine. He was buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery.
Samuel Ovenshine's son, Alexander, was also a career military officer who rose to the rank of general. He is not buried in Arlington, however, but in San Antonio, Texas.
Alexander Thompson Ovenshine of Kansas
Fort Sam Houston Texas, National Cemetery:
Alexander Thompson Ovenshine
Mary Louise Ovenshine
Gordon Ovenshine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: (724) 772-0387
Posted: 27 October 2001 Updated: 21 December 2001 Updated: 14 January 2002 Updated: 14 May 2002 Updated: 4 November 2002
Updated: 4 May 2003 Updated: 3 August 2003 Updated: 8 August 2006
Photo By M. R. Patterson, 28 June 2003