John Oliver Gibbon was born in Philidelphia on April 20, 1827. In his youth, his family moved to Charlotte, North Carolina where Gibbon's father, Dr. John H. Gibbon, had recieved an appoinment at the U.S. Mint.
Gibbon was appointed to the U.S.M.A. from North Carolina and following his graduation in 1847, he was assigned to the 3rd Regiment of Artillery.
He served during the last few months of the Spanish American War, and was eventually made instructor of artillery at West Point, which office he held for five years.
In 1860 Gibbon wrote an artillery manual for the United States Army.
At the beginning of the Civil War, Gibbon was serving as a Captain in the 4th Regiment of Artillery.
He was quickly commissioned as as Brigadier General of Volunteers (May 2, 1862), and served for the remainder of the war commanding infantry.
He commanded the famous "Iron Brigade" through November, 1862, when he was promoted to division command.
He was wounded twice, and promoted to Major General on June 7, 1864.
After the war, he commanded two regular infantry regiments before being promoted to Brigadier General in the Regular Army on July 10, 1885.
He retired in 1891 and died on February 6, 1896.
Image from the Library of Congress.