Steven L. Ossad

biographer, historian, technology analyst, and speaker

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Selected Works

Brevet Colonel, Commander of the 30th Indiana Volunteers, and recipient of the Medal of Honor - all by the age of 23 - Henry Lawton's career spanned four decades until he fell in battle "bringing democracy to a distant land."
Featured on the Center of Military History Civil War Website
The only American armored division commander to die in battle, Maurice Rose was the son and grandson of rabbis who rose from private to general to lead the premier American armored force to victory over the Nazi empire.
Winner, 2003 Army Historical Foundation Distinguished Writing Award
Martin Blumenson spent his life writing the history of an institution he respected greatly and knew intimately, the United States Army. He inspired generations of his students and successors to the highest standard of excellence.
Soldier, historian, biographer, memoirist, "novelist", and companion of Socrates, at the end of his life Xenophon wrote a small book proposing reform of the Athenian cavalry. A discussion of specific suggestions, the Hipparchicus reflects decades of the author's experience as an army commander. The wily survivor of battles, court intrigues, assassinations and staggering betrayals offers subtle insights on leadership - as well as observations valuable to modern theorists and practioners of the "mounted service" that will always resonate.
The Battle of Kadesh, the greatest chariot clash in all recorded history - and the arche-type for maneuver warfare - pitted the war-hardened Hittites against a young, untested Pharaoh. The struggle that followed shaped the destinies of the two dominant empires of the early Iron Age. Recorded by Rameses as a great Egyptian victory, it is a case study of how a brilliant and well-executed public relations campaign can trump performance - and reality.

Henry Ware Lawton: Flawed Giant and Hero of Four Wars, Army History, Winter 2007

Henry Ware Lawton, Major General of Volunteers, Killed in Action, 19 December 1899 (Steven L. Ossad, 2006)


Just over a century ago, Henry Ware Lawton (1843-1899) was the most famous and celebrated soldier in America. His exploits in the Civil War, Indian Wars, Spanish-American War, and the Philippine War read like the most fantastic adventure stories. A brevet colonel and Medal of Honor winner before the age of 23, Lawton first gained fame as the captor of Geronimo.

A decade later during the Spanish-American War, Lawton was the victor at the Battle of El Caney, Cuba (1 July 1898), the largest land battle fought since the Civil War. But the indestructible warrior – never wounded in 40 years of service - was tormented by chronic depression, alcoholism and feelings of inadequacy.

El Viso, the Stone Fort at El Caney (US Army Signal Corps)

One of the major elements of his policy while serving as Military Governor in Cuba - America’s first experience in “nation-building”, essentially rebuilding the country through economic development, education and better social services. Under the pressures of the job, Lawton ’s demons erupted, threatening a major political crisis. After smashing the interior of a saloon and personally assaulting the local police chief, Lawton quietly returned home. The government fabricated a cover story of tropical illness. His career potentially in ruins, Lawton begged President McKinley for a second chance. Incredibly, that is exactly what happened.

A hard-edged soldier who wrote tender love letters to his wife Mame, Henry Lawton was the only general awarded the Medal of Honor during the Civil War to die in combat, the first serving general killed outside of North America, and the only serving general lost in the Philippine War. He died while trying to bring democracy to a Pacific nation.

"Organizing local government at Las Piñas," Harpers Weekly, Aug 1, 1899 (Lawton at left)

A knowledgeable and sensitive critic of the country’s “democratization” efforts, his advice was ignored in life but embraced enthusiastically in death. Soon after he fell, the U.S. sent more than 100,000 men to the Philippines

Lawton's Death, Harper's Weekly, Feb 24, 1900

Lawton's Major Campaigns

The Battle of El Caney, Cuba, 1 July 1898

Lt. Colonel Arthur L. Wagner's (1853-1905) Sketch of the El Caney Battlefield

17th U.S. Infantry Breaks Camp, June 30, 1898 (CMH)

MG Henry W. Lawton, 1899

(Fort Wayne Library Biography of Henry W. Lawton, 1954)

Lawton's Death & Funeral

San Mateo, 19 December 1899, Lawton's position is marked by a star, (Ft Wayne Library Biography of Henry W. Lawton, 1954)

"Lawton Falls in Battle," St. Louis Republic, Dec. 20, 1899, Sketch from Leslie's Magazine, Jan 6, 1900 (

Lawton's Funeral, Washington, DC, 9 February 1900


The author acknowledges with gratitude the pioneering work of Lawton biographer, Rudy Rau, of Colorado Springs, as well as the excellent Samuel Culbertson Mansion Web-Site, which contains numerous sources and materials, including newspaper and magazine articles, photos, drawings, paintings, original documents and numerous links spanning Henry Lawton's career.

The Man

General Lawton & his family (Lawton Papers, Library of Congress)

The Civil War

Medal of Honor

Outside Atlanta, Georgia
3 August 1864

Citation: Led a charge of skirmishers against the enemy's rifle pits and stubbornly and successfully resisted two determined attacks of the enemy to retake the works

Lawton Medal, 1907 Grand Army of the Republic Encampment (

Harvard Law School, 1866-1867

Harvard Attendance Record 1866-1867 (Lawton Papers, Library of Congress)

The Indian Wars

Brevet Major General Ranald Slidell Mackenzie (1840-1889), Commander of the 4th Cavalry and Lawton's mentor (portrait by Hananiah Harari, 1958)

Captain Lawton, 1880 (

Capture of Geronimo, 1886 ...

... Fame and Promotion

Captain Lawton on the Trail of Geronimo, Harper's Weekly, (Frederic Remington)