About Major General Albert Leopold Mills
Albert Leopold Mills (May 7, 1854 – September 18, 1916) was a United States Army Major General who was a recipient of the Medal of Honor for valor in action on July 1, 1898 near Santiago, Cuba. An 1879 graduate of West Point, he served in the Army until his death in 1916. Following his service in Cuba, he was appointed Superintendent of West Point, jumping in rank from First Lieutenant to Colonel. His final posting was as the Chief, Division of Militia Affairs, a precursor to the National Guard Bureau.
Early life and Spanish American War
Albert L. Mills was born in New York City. He was appointed to West Point, graduating with the class of 1879. He joined the 1st United States Cavalry after graduation, serving on the American frontier, alternating between being a cavalry instructor and participating in the conflicts with the Plains Indians. In 1886 he was posted as an instructor at the Citadel. Mills receive a promotion to First Lieutenant in 1889. After the Spanish American War began in 1898 he was promoted to a Captain of Volunteers, and served as an Assistant Adjutant General. He received the Medal of Honor for his bravery at the Battle of San Juan Hill near Santiago, Cuba on July 1, 1898. Though shot through the head, and temporarily blinded, he continued to command his men. He was absent from duty until August 1898 while recovering from the effects of his wounds.
Medal of Honor citation
"Distinguished gallantry in encouraging those near him by his bravery and coolness after being shot through the head and entirely without sight."
After recovering from his wounds and returning to duty, President William McKinley appointed him as the Superintendent at West Point, a posting that advanced him from his Regular Army rank of Captain to the rank of Colonel. He served as superintendent until August 1906. During his long term at West Point he initiated numerous changes including suppression of hazing, and the expansion of the size of the Academy. After the academy, he served in the Philippines and as Commandant of the Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania. He later served as Chief, Division of Militia Affairs from 1912–1916, being promoted to Major General in the latter year. General Mills struck ill and died suddenly while serving as Chief of the Militia Bureau, on September 18, 1916. Mills is buried at the West Point Cemetery at the United States Military Academy.
Mills married Ms. Alada Thurston Paddock of Brooklyn, New York in 1883. They had two children, Chester P. Mills and Emily P. Mills (Laurson). His son was also an Army officer and his daughter was the wife of an officer.