General O.O. Howard was born in Leeds, Maine and attended the United States Military Academy, graduating in 1854. In 1857 he was transferred to Florida for the Seminole Wars. In Florida he experienced a conversion to evangelical Christianity and considered resigning to become a minister.
He was later known as "the Christian general." He put aside his ministry to serve his country.
Howard was first at the First Battle of Bull Run. He then joined Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan's Army of the Potomac for the Peninsula Campaign.
On June 1, 1862, while commanding a brigade in the Fair Oaks, Howard was wounded twice in his right arm, which was amputated. Howard recovered to fight at the Battle of Antietam.
He served at the Battle of Gettysburg and was transferred to the Army of the Cumberland. In 1864, his unit was the right wing for Sherman's First March to the Sea.
He went west, participating in the Indian Wars, primarily in the surrender of Chief Nez Perce.
Howard is also remembered in founding Howard University a nonsectarian school open to both sexes without regard to race.