Samuel Baldwin Marks Young enlisted in Company K, 12th Pennsylvania Infantry of April 25, 1861, with the rank of private, and retired from the United States Army, on January 9, 1904, with the rank of lieutenant general. In between S.B.M. Young commanded the 4th Pennsylvania Cavalry and was breveted a brigadier general at the age of 25; was mustered out of service in 1865, only to return months later with the rank of second lieutenant; was assigned to the 8th U.S. Cavalry and languished in the rank of captain for 17 years; was transferred to the 3rd U.S. Cavalry, to the 4th U.S. Cavalry, and then back again to the 3rd U.S. Cavalry; was a veteran of the Indian Wars; was acting superintendent of both Yosemite and Yellowstone National Parks; was the hero of Las Guasimas in the Philippine Insurrection and was responsible for Aguinaldo's defeat on Luzon; was the first president of the U.S Army War College; and was the U.S. Army's last commanding general and its first chief of staff.
Sam Young was born on January 9, 1840, at Forest Grove, near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the ninth of eleven children born to John Young, Jr., a colonel in the Pennsylvania militia, and Hanna Phillips (Scot) Young. Sam was raised on a farm, and, after graduating from Jefferson College in Cannonsburg, Pennsylvania, began a career in surveying and civil engineering. Upon the outbreak of the War of the Rebellion, he enlisted in the 12th Pennsylvania Infantry, a 90-day regiment, and was discharged on August 5, 1861. Returning home, Sam organized a company of cavalry, married Margaret Jane McFadden on September 2, 1861, and returned to active service on September 6, 1861 as captain of Company B, 4th Pennsylvania Cavalry.
The first major engagement in which Captain Young participated was the Seven Days' Campaign when Major General Fitz John Porter observed that Young had brilliantly handled two squadrons of cavalry in the repulse of an enemy charge at Gaines Mill. A few days later Major General George B. McClellan asked Captain Young to lead the advance to Harrison's Landing.
At Antietam, on September 17I, 1862, Captain Young led two squadrons of cavalry across Antietam Creek at Rohrback Bridge, even though Confederate artillery had the exact range of the bridge. Crossing the bridge, the attacking party cut its way through a heavy skirmish line and climbed the hill overlooking Sharpsburg, where it was pinned down by the concentrated fire of two batteries. The little force lost eight horses and more than twenty men, killed or wounded, but Captain Young held his ground. On September 20, 1862, Captain Young was notified of his promotion to major by Governor Andrew Gregg Curtin of Pennsylvania, who congratulated him on his good work at "Burnside Bridge." During the Gettysburg Campaign he was active in the cavalry force commanded by Brigadier General David McMurtrie Gregg and was in action against J.E.B. Stuart at Hanover, Pennsylvania. Later that year, on October 12, 1863, in action along the Rappahannock River Major Young was struck by a minie ball, which shattered his right elbow.
Returning to active duty after a six-month medical leave Major Young was promoted lieutenant colonel on May 1, 1864 and, seven weeks later, to colonel, on June 25, 1864. After action in the Shennandoah and Harper's Ferry Colonel Young led a provisional brigade at the Second Battle of Kernstown, July 24, 1864. There he was wounded in the right arm a second time, resulting in two bone fractures. The arm was spared from amputation and, after a three-month medical leave, Colonel Young rejoined the replenished 4th Pennsylvania Cavalry in front of Petersburg in October of 1864.
Colonel Young particularly distinguished himself in the closing days of the War. On April 9, 1865, he led a brigade against Major General Thomas Rosser's command. In just four days, beginning on April 5, 1865, Colonel Young was breveted twice for "gallant and meritorious services in action, " and once for "the campaign terminating with the surrender of the insurgent army under General R. E. Lee." Following the surrender at Appomattox, Brevet Brigadier General Young petitioned the War Department for a commission in the Regular Army. A number of prominent officers endorsed his application. Nevertheless, he was mustered out of service with the 4th Pennsylvania Cavalry, on July 1, 1865. He had participated in 18 battles, 16 engagements, and 13 skirmishes.
Following the close of the Civil War Samuel Young secured an appointment to the Regular Army with the rank of Captain. For the next fifteen years Captain Young was stationed in the Southwest primarily with the 8th U.S. Cavalry, where he saw action against hostile Indians on a number of occasions. After serving a term as a cavalry instructor at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas the now Major Young (he was promoted on August 2, 1883) was transferred to the 3rd U.S. Cavalry where he saw service again in the southwest for a further six years. In 1892 Major Young was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and transferred to the 4th U.S. Cavalry in 1893. In 1896 LTC Young commanded a squadron in Yosemite National Park, and for almost seven months served as Acting Superintendent. Upon his promotion and reassignment to the 3rd U.S. Cavalry in 1897, Col. Young took command of the cavalry detachment at Yellowstone National Park, and during that time served as Acting Superintendent for almost five months. On May 4, 1898 Col. Young was promoted to brigadier general U.S. Volunteers.
During the Spanish American War Brigadier General Young commanded a brigade in the Santiago Campaign and "won the fight at Las Guasimas on the 24th of June 1898." (General Orders No. 7I, War Department, January 9, 1904). He was promoted major general of U.S.Volunteers on July 8, 1898. He then served in the Philippine Insurrection commanding the cavalry advance of Lawton's Division in its march through Northern Luzon. Major General Young served as Military Governor of Northwestern Luzon and afterward commanded the 1st District, Department of Northern Luzon for ten months, until February 28, 1901. He had been discharged from the U.S. Volunteers and appointed a brigadier general in the Regular Army on January 2, 1900 and on February 2, 1901 he was promoted Major General. That year he returned to California and took command of the Department of California. In 1902, strongly supported by his old comrade and friend, President Theodore Roosevelt, Major General Young became the first president of the U.S. Army War College.
With the mandatory retirement of Lieutenant General Nelson A. Miles, on August 3, 1903, Major General Young was appointed Commanding General of the U.S. Army, a post he would hold for eight days. On August 15, 1903, Lieutenant General Young was appointed Chief of Staff of the Army. He held this position until his own mandatory retirement on January 9, 1904.
Lieutenant General Young became a Companion of the First Class of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion on October 17, 1888 thorough the Commandery of the State of Pennsylvania and was assigned Insignia No. 6477. He was transferred to the Missouri Commandery in 1891 where he served as Sr. Vice Commander and from thence to the California Commandery where he served as Commander from May 13, 1896 to May 5, 1897. He then transferred to the D.C. Commandery. Lieutenant General Young was elected Commander-in-Chief of the Loyal Legion in 1915 and served until 1919 when he was succeeded by Lieutenant General Nelson Appleton Miles.
Following his military career Samuel Young engaged in a number of activities including serving as Superintendent of Yellowstone National Park from 1907 to 1908, the only person to hold that position twice. From 1910 to 1920 General Young was governor of the Soldier's Home in Washington D.C. He retired to Helena, Montana in 1920 and died there on September 1, 1924. He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery and the flag, which was used to drape his coffin, and was then buried with him, was supplied by the Military Order of the Loyal Legion.
General Young was first married to Margaret Jane McFadden 1861 by whom he had five daughters. She died on April 25, 1892, and is buried at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St. Louis, Missouri. He married Mrs. Anna Dean Huntley, of Helena, Montana, in 1908. The author of this article, Richard Holmes Knight, Esq. is General Young's great, great grandson and Commander of the Commandery of Tennessee (Provisonal) of MOLLUS.
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