top of page

James Barnet Fry (February 22, 1827 – July 11, 1894) was an American soldier and prolific author of historical books.

1    Family and Early career
2    Civil War service
3    Later career
4    Published works
5    See also
6    Notes
7    References
8    External links
Family and Early career
Fry, who was born in Carrollton, Illinois, was the first child of General Jacob G. Fry (September 20, 1799 - January 27, 1881) and Emily Turney (March 11, 1811 - April 11, 1881), who were married on May 25, 1826 in Carrollton. James' sister Sarah "Sallie" Fry (1828 - January 17, 1916) married her cousin John Douglas Fry (July 1, 1819 - February 3, 1901), a San Francisco banking and mining magnate, on January 30, 1867 in Greene County, Illinois.

James entered the United States Military Academy at West Point on July 1, 1843 and graduated on July 1, 1847. He briefly served as an assistant instructor of artillery at West Point after graduation.

In the fall of 1847 he went to Mexico as a 2nd lieutenant in the 1st Artillery to serve under General Scott in the Mexican–American War as part of the garrison of Mexico City. In 1848 he was posted to Fort Columbus in New York Harbor and transferred to Fort Vancouver in Washington in 1849. He was transferred to Astoria, Oregon in 1850. He was promoted to 1st lieutenant on February 22, 1851.

Fry had several postings on the Gulf coast from 1851 to 1853 when he was reassigned to West Point. He served as an assistant instructor of artillery from December 15, 1853 until he became adjutant of the Academy on August 1, 1854 where he served until August 31, 1859.

Fry was in garrison at Fort Monroe, Virginia at the Artillery School for Practice from 1859 to 1860. He served on the Harper's Ferry Expedition, to suppress John Brown's Raid in October 1859. He then served as Recorder of the Board to "Revise the Programme of Instruction at the Military Academy," from January 12 to April 24, 1860. He then served in garrison at Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 1860 and on frontier duty at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas from 1860 to 1861. He then was in garrison, commanding a battery of light artillery, at Washington, D. C. in early 1861.[1][2]

Civil War service
In July 1861 he served as chief of staff to Brigadier General Irvin McDowell at the First Battle of Bull Run. He was promoted as an assistant adjutant general with the rank of captain on August 3, 1861.

On November 15, 1861 he was assigned as chief of staff to under Major General Don Carlos Buell. General Buell successively commanded the Department of the Ohio and the Army of the Ohio. In this assignment, Fry participated in the Battle of Shiloh and the Siege of Corinth in April and May 1862. Fry was promoted to the rank of major on April 22, 1862 and to lieutenant colonel on December 31 of the same year. On October 8, 1862 Fry participated in the Battle of Perryville, Kentucky.

Fry then served as assistant in charge of the appointment branch of the Adjutant-General's Office, at Washington, D. C. from November 12, 1862 until he was appointed provost marshal general of the United States Army. In this capacity he was responsible for tracking deserters, enforcing military laws and overseeing the Invalid Corps. He was appointed to the position, with the rank of colonel, on March 17, 1863 and was promoted to brigadier general on April 21, 1864. Fry served as provost marshal general until the office was abolished on August 27, 1866.[3]

Effective on March 15, 1865, but probably awarded later, Fry was brevetted to the rank of major general in the Regular Army in recognition of his service at the First Battle of Bull Run, the Battle of Shiloh and for "faithful, meritorious and distinguished service as Provost Marshal General during the war."[4]

Anthony/Brady CDV James B Fry

    bottom of page