1922 Encyclopædia Britannica/Wood, Leonard
WOOD, LEONARD (1860–), American soldier, was born at Winchester, N.H., Oct. 9 1860. He graduated from the Harvard Medical School in 1884, was appointed assistant surgeon with the rank of first-lieutenant in the U.S. army in 1886, and at once joined Capt. Lawton’s expedition against the Apaches in the southwest, resulting in the capture of Geronimo. For distinguished services he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. In 1891 he was promoted captain and full surgeon, and later, while stationed in Washington, D.C., was President McKinley’s personal physician. Here he became the close friend of Theodore Roosevelt, then Assistant-Secretary of the Navy. On the outbreak of the Spanish American War in 1898 Wood was commissioned colonel of volunteers, and together with Roosevelt, as lieutenant-colonel, raised the famous regiment of “Rough Riders,” composed of western ranchmen and cowboys as well as members of prominent eastern families eager to serve under these two strenuous leaders. For conduct at Las Guasimas and San Juan Hill, Wood was promoted brigadier-general July 1898 and in Dec. major-general of volunteers. He was military governor of Cuba from 1899 to 1902 when the Cuban Republic was established. Under his guidance great improvements were made in schools and sanitation. Meanwhile he had been honourably discharged from voluntary service and appointed brigadier-general in the regular army Feb. 1901. In March 1903 he was sent to the Philippines and in Aug. promoted major-general. For three years he was governor of the Moro Province and during 1906–8 was commander of the Philippines Division. In 1908 he returned to America as commander of the Eastern Department for a year. In 1910 he was special American ambassador to the centenary celebration of Argentine independence. On his return he was appointed chief of staff, serving until 1914, when he was again given command of the Eastern Department. General Wood often had disapproved the policies of the War Department, and as early as 1908 had urged preparedness. To him was largely due the establishment of a summer camp at Plattsburg for training civilian officers, which, was taken as a model for other camps of the kind after America’s entrance into the World War. In 1915, when he gave unofficial indorsement to the proposed formation of the American Legion whose purpose was to establish a body of some 300,000 men ready for immediate service, he was rebuked by the Secretary of War. Just before America’s entrance into the World War in 1917 it was announced that the Eastern Division, then under Gen. Wood’s command, had been divided into three divisions, and Gen. Wood was assigned to the Southeastern Division, with the alternative of choosing either Hawaii or the Philippines. As a soldier desiring active service he naturally chose the American post; but the apparent motive of the War Department to humiliate him aroused criticism. He was later transferred to Camp Funston, where he trained the 89th Div., N.A. In Jan. 1918, while in France, presumably preparatory to bringing his troops there, he was painfully wounded by the explosion of a French mortar. After his return to America he was on the point of embarking with the 89th Div., when he ,was suddenly assigned to the Western Department, no reason being given. It was generally understood that his name was not on the list of officers submitted by Gen. Pershing as acceptable for duty overseas. By change of orders he was returned to Camp Funston, where he trained the 10th Div. of the regular army and other troops. In 1919 he was put in command of the Central Department, with headquarters at Chicago. In 1920 he was a prominent candidate for the presidential nomination at the Republican National Convention. He led on the first four ballots and never fell below second place. When the supporters of Governor Lowden, his chief competitor, were released after the eighth ballot, they swung to Senator Harding, a “dark horse,” who was nominated on the tenth ballot, with 69212 votes to 156 for Gen. Wood. In 1921 Gen. Wood was sent on a special Federal mission to the Philippine Is. to report on conditions there. During his absence he was appointed head of the university of Pennsylvania. In Oct. 1921 he retired from active service in the army and was appointed governor-general of the Philippines. He was granted a year’s leave of absence from the university of Pennsylvania, but it was thought that he might be able to assume his academic duties in Oct. 1922. He was the author of The Military Obligation of Citizenship (1915, lectures at Princeton and elsewhere); Our Military History, Its Facts and Fallacies (1916); and Universal Military Training (1917).
See I. F. Marcosson, Leonard Wood, Prophet of Preparedness (1917); Joseph H. Sears, The Career of Leonard Wood (1919); and Leonard Wood on National Issues (1920), compiled by Evan J. David.