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First Name: Elmer

Last Name: Otis

Birthplace: Westfield, MA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Middle Name: Ignatius

Date of Birth: 27 February 1830

Date of Death: 18 August 1897

Rank: Colonel

Years Served:
Elmer Ignatius Otis

•  Indian Wars (1775 - 1924) intermittent
•  American Civil War (1861 - 1865)


Elmer Ignatius Otis
Colonel, U.S. Army

Elmer Ignatius Otis was born on 27 February 1830 in Westfield, MA. His parents moved the family to Ohio and set up a farm about 1836.

In 1849, Otis received and appointment to the U.S. Military Academy where he graduated with the Class of 1853. He was initially assigned to the 1st Cavalry in Texas and fought the Indians there. Other pre-Civil War assignments included California and Utah (Mormon Rebellion).

During the Civil War, he was assigned to the 1st U.S. Cavalry and later, the 4th U.S. Cavalry, as part of the Army of Tennessee. He was recommended twice for promotion to Brevet Brigadier General by General Rosecrans, but no action was taken.

During the Indian Wars, he participated in a number of campaigns, and in 1876, after the disastrous Battle of the Little Big Horn; he was given command of the nearly destroyed 7th Cavalry to reconstitute the unit. In 1880, he was a member of the Court-martial Board that dismissed Major Marcus A. Reno from the Army.

In Retirement

Following his retirement in 1890, he started a ranch in Oregon, and in 1892 moved to San Diego to be with his son.


On 24 October 1861, he married Agnes Boone, daughter of Indian Agent Albert Gallatin Boone and Anna Reid Hamilton, and great granddaughter of famed Daniel Boone. Together, they had 10 children: 5 girls and 5 boys.

Death and Burial

Colonel Elmer Ignatius Otis died on 18 August 1897 in San Diego, CA. He was buried in the Catholic Cemetery in Mission Hills (now a suburb of San Diego), and the cemetery was later made into a park. His gravestone was relocated to one wall.

Honoree ID: 2927   Created by: MHOH




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