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Alexander Macomb
1782 1841

Wins Critical Battle Of Plattsburg: First West Point Graduate

General Alexander Macomb played a decisive role in the critical days of 1814 when America was again at war with the British. Placed in command of 2,200 regular troops and militia, General Macomb stopped an attack by 14,000 British regulars at Plattsburg, New York. When the battle was over, General Sir George Provost was obliged to retreat back to Canada. ■ Macomb ancestry reaches back to Scotland via Ulster. The family includes Scotts, Wallaces, Gordons, Ramsays and Macombs. John McComb was born about 1650 in Scotland and moved to Ulster several years later with his family. His grandson, John Gordon McComb, emigrated to Albany, New York, in 1755 with his family. He was the grandfather of General Alexander Macomb who was born April 3, 1782, in Detroit. ■ Alexander Macomb started his military career early. He joined the state militia of New York when only 16. His father was a wealthy businessman who once owned 3.6 million acres of the Adirondack Mountains in New York. Young Alexander was sent to the new West Point Military Academy where he became the first graduate and the first superintendent. He rose rapidly in rank and at the outbreak of the War of 1812 was promoted to brigadier general. He attained the highest office as U.S. Army General in Chief and held that post from 1835 until his death in Washington, D.C. on June 25, 1841. After the battle of Plattsburg, General Macomb was cited by the U.S. Congress. New York presented him with a ceremonial sword, and Congress gave him a commemorative medal. Sword, medal, and portraits are in the possession of the J. de Navarre Macomb family. Navarre Macomb held membership in the Illinois Saint Andrew Society for several years.

Wayne Rethford, President Emeritus
Illinois Saint Andrew Society
Scottish-American History Club
2800 Des Plaines Avenue
North Riverside, IL 60546