Rosecrans, William Starke (rōzˈkrănz) [key], 1819–98, Union general in the American Civil War, b. Kingston, Ohio. He served in the army from 1842 to 1854 and in Apr., 1861, rejoined as a volunteer. He became aide-de-camp to Gen. George B. McClellan and helped to organize the Ohio Home Guards. Made a brigadier general (May, 1861), he operated successfully against the Confederates in W Virginia (July, 1861–Apr., 1862). As commander of the Army of the Mississippi, he was victorious at Iuka and Corinth (Sept.–Oct., 1862). In Nov., 1862, Rosecrans succeeded to command of the Army of the Cumberland (formerly called the Army of the Ohio) and one month later opposed Braxton Bragg in the battle of Murfreesboro, which ended in a Confederate retreat. In the Chattanooga campaign, he ably outmaneuvered Bragg for a time, but the Confederates thoroughly defeated him at Chickamauga (Sept., 1863). Relieved of his command, Rosecrans for a time directed operations in Missouri. After resigning from the army in 1867, he became minister to Mexico (1868–69), Congressman from California (1881–85), and register of the Treasury (1885–93).
See biography by W. M. Lamers (1961).