A Civil War Biography

James Sidney Robinson

Robinson was born 14 October 1827 near Mansfield in Richland County, Ohio. He learned the printer's trade in Mansfield, and after moving to Kenton, Ohio on 31 December 1845 established the Kenton Republican of which he was editor and publisher for the next 18 years.

In 1856 he was secretary of the first convention of the Republican party that was held in Ohio. He was chief clerk of the Ohio house of representatives for two sessions beginning in 1856.

Following the firing on Fort Sumter Robinson enlisted in company G of the 4th Ohio Infantry regiment as a private on 17 April 1861. He was elected 1st lieutenant the following day. On 4 May he was named captain and commanded the company at Rich Mountain, Virginia. Robinson mustered out on 24 July along with the rest of the 4th which had originally enlisted for three months.

He was commissioned a major in the 82nd Ohio on 31 December. He served under John C. Fremont in the Shenandoah Valley seeing action at McDowell and Cross Keys. Robinson was promoted to lieutenant colonel on 9 April 1862. The 82nd fought at Second Bull Run where its commander, James Cantwell was killed. Robinson was promoted to colonel on 29 August and took over command of the regiment. He commanded the regiment at Cedar Mountain, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg where he was severely wounded.

After returning to duty in early 1864 he was sent along with the XI Corps, to which the 82nd was attached, and the XII Corps to join Sherman's Army of the Cumberland in the west. Robinson was elevated to command of the 1st brigade, 3rd division of the XI Corps on 13 March 1864. He commanded the 3rd brigade, 1st division in the XX Corps, a new corps formed when the XI and XII Corps were consolidated, during the Atlanta campaign, the march to the sea, and during the Carolina campaign. He was brevetted brigadier general of volunteers on 9 December 1864, commissioned brigadier general of volunteers on 12 January 1865, brevetted major general of volunteers on 13 March then mustered out on 31 August.

Following the war Robinson returned to Ohio. He was named chairman of the state Republican executive committee serving from 1877 until 1879. In 1879 he was appointed commissioner of railroads and telegraphs by Ohio governor Richard M. Bishop. Robinson was elected to the US House of Representatives from the 9th Ohio district in 1880. He served two terms from 4 March 1889 until 12 January 1885 when he resigned and became secretary of state of Ohio. He held that office until 1889. Robinson died 14 January 1892 in Kenton.

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