Brigadier General William Buel Franklin was a fellow cadet of Ulysses S. Grant at West Point in 1843.
He became an engineer, serving on the South Pass Expedition and in the Mexican War. He oversaw the construction of the dome for the Capitol in Washington DC.
During the American civil war he rose to the rank of Brigadier General in the Union Army. He was the scapegoat for the Union defeat at the battle of Fredericksburg and took part in the unsuccessful Red River Campaign. Despite Grant's support he received no further military commands.
After the war he was an executive of the Colt Fire Arms Company for 22 years.
Franklin was the Commissaire-General of the American Section in the Universal Exposition of Paris, 1889, and it was at that time that he was in contact with JW although it is not known if they ever met.
www.multied.com/Biog/UGENS/USFranklin.html# (accessed 2004.05).