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John Bullock Van Petten

19JUN1827 - 31OCT1908

"Reverend General"
John Bullock Van Petten was born on June 19, 1827 in Sterling, Cayuga Co.,
NY and died on October 31, 1908.  John was a teacher at Claverack College, a
Principal at Fairfield Academy and a Methodist/Episcopal clergyman.  During
the Civil War he was a Chaplain for the 34th NY Volunteer Infantry and
promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in the 160th NY Volunteer Infantry.  He was
then promoted to Brevet Brigadier General.  In 1866 he was a NY State
Senator and in 1868, was instrumental in steering legislation authorizing the
establishment of Syracuse University.  By 1877 he was Principal of the
seminary at Sedalia, Missouri and from 1885 to 1900 he was professor of
Latin, History and Elocution at the Claverack, NY Hudson River Institute.  
One student,
Stephen Crane, who attended lectures there, later wrote the Red
Badge of Courage
, based in large part on the "Reverend General's" (evidently
an affectionate moniker used by students) recollections of his Civil War
experiences that he enjoyed telling both students and faculty.
The Reverend General