About Alexander Cummings McWhorter Pennington
Alexander Cummings McWhorter Pennington, Jr. (January 8, 1838 – November 30, 1917), was an artillery officer and brigadier general in the United States Army and a veteran of both the American Civil War and Spanish-American War.
Early life and career
Pennington was born in Newark, New Jersey, the son of Congressman Alexander Cummings McWhorter Pennington (1810–1867), the second cousin of New Jersey Governor and Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives William Pennington (1796–1862), and the grandnephew of New Jersey Governor William Sandford Pennington (1757–1826).
He attended the United States Military Academy at West Point, during the brief period in the 1850s when the curriculum was expanded to five years. He graduated 18th in the Class of 1860. Appointed as a brevet second lieutenant on graduation day, July 1, 1860, he received his commission February 1, 1861, and was permanently assigned to the 2nd U.S. Artillery. There, he gained experience under the tutelage of Captain John C. Tidball, serving under him in Battery A.
Battery A, 2nd U.S. Artillery, was the first unit assigned and equipped as horse artillery, and served throughout the war with the U.S. Horse Artillery Brigade, in the Army of the Potomac. Pennington began the war as the lead (right) section chief in Battery A, and was cited for gallantry in the Peninsula Campaign. He was awarded brevet promotions to captain (June 9, 1863) for actions at Beverly Ford, Virginia, and major (July 3, 1863) for actions at Gettysburg.
He commanded Battery M, 2nd U.S. Artillery in 1863 and 1864, also with the Horse Artillery. Promoted to captain in the regular army, Pennington took a volunteer commission as the colonel of the 3rd New Jersey Cavalry on October 1, 1864. Cited again for gallantry at Cedar Creek (October 19, 1864), he was awarded a brevet promotion to lieutenant colonel. He commanded the 3rd New Jersey Cavalry through the end of the war, and mustered out of the volunteer service on August 1, 1865. For his distinguished service throughout the war, he was awarded brevet promotions to colonel in the regular army and brigadier general of volunteers.
After the war, Pennington returned to service in the regular army, serving as a captain in the 1st U.S. Artillery. He transferred to the 4th U.S. Artillery with his promotion to major (November 8, 1882), and remained there as lieutenant colonel (November 28, 1892) until October 1896. He returned to his original regiment, the 2nd U.S. Artillery, where he served as its colonel and commander, from October 29, 1896, to the outbreak of hostilities between the United States and Spain.
During the Spanish-American War, Colonel Pennington served as a brigadier general of volunteers from 1898 to 1899, and earned his final promotion, to brigadier general in the regular U.S. Army, one day before his retirement, on October 17, 1899.
Pennington retired to New Jersey, where he lived through the beginning of the First World War. Pennington died in New York City and is buried in West Point Cemetery. His wife, Clara M. French Pennington, died in 1915.