Ord was born in Cumberland, Maryland. Some accounts claim that he was a grandson of King George IV of England. He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the 3rd U.S. Artillery Regiment after graduating from the U.S. Military Academy in 1839. Ord was promoted to captain in 1850 while serving in the Pacific northwest.
In 1862 Ord was promoted to the rank of major general and commanded the 2nd Division of the Army of the Tennessee at Corinth. Although he was seriously wounded at Hatchie, Mississippi, he returned to duty and commanded the XIII Corps during last part of the Vicksburg Campaign. During the Richmond-Petersburg Campaign he commanded the XVIII Corps and was seriously wounded in the attack on Fort Harrison. He was in command of the Army of the James during the Appomattox Campaign.
Ord married Mary Mercer Thompson on October 14, 1854, and they had thirteen children. He retired from the army in 1880 and worked on railroad construction in Mexico. He died in Havana, Cuba, from yellow fever. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
- Biography from the Texas State Historical Association
- Article from Spartacus Schoolnet
- Edward Ord photograph page
- Eicher, John H., & Eicher, David J.: Civil War High Commands, Stanford University Press, 2001, ISBN 0–8047–3641–3