November 4: Edwin Styles Curtis (1901)

Edwin Styles Curtis was a U.S. Army officer who served in the Civil and Spanish-American Wars. He was the son-in-law of Epiphany’s founding rector, John W. French. Curtis was born in Poughkeepsie, New York. Just after his 18th birthday, he enlisted in Company D of the 48th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment. The regiment was assigned to duty with the Army of the Potomac, but owing to young Curtis’ beautiful penmanship and business education, he was assigned to clerical duty, and in 1862 and 1863 he was on duty in the office of Major General Henry W. Halleck at the headquarters of the army in Washington, D.C. While so employed he received his appointment as a cadet at the United States Military Academy and was honorably discharged from the volunteer service to enable him to proceed to West Point. He graduated in the class of 1867, about the middle of a class numbering sixty-three.

Curtis was assigned to the Second Artillery. He served through the several grades of Second Lieutenant, First Lieutenant and Captain, until he was promoted Major Artillery Corps, United States Army, to date May 8th, 1901. His stations were many: California, Alaska and Oregon on the Pacific, and nearly all of the states on the Atlantic Coast, also Texas, Arkansas and finally Cuba. His duties were varied; most of his military life was spent on duty with troops; twice, however, he was selected by his regimental commander for recruiting duty; twice he was detailed as Professor of Military Science and Instructor of Tactics at colleges, and once he was detailed for duty at the Military Academy. Curtis married Emma Gardiner French in 1879. Emma was the sixth of the Rev. John French’s seven children. She was born during the time he was at Epiphany and was baptized there in 1851. Thirty years later, Emma was back at Epiphany with her husband for the baptisms of their daughters – Marion in 1883 and Helen in 1884.

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