Peter John Sullivan, a noted American Union Civil War officer and U.S. Minister to Colombia from 1867 to 1869, was born in Cork, Ireland on March 15, 1821. After immigrating to the United States with his family in 1823, Sullivan studied at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Sullivan's military career included service in the Mexican War. As a civilian, he worked as a stenographer in the U.S. Senate. He was admitted to the bar in Ohio after moving to that state in 1848. In 1855, he became a colonel in the Ohio militia. During the American Civil War, Sullivan rose to the rank of Brigadier General of U.S. Volunteers. He began in 1861 as a Lt. Colonel in the 48th Ohio Infantry. On January 23, 1862, he became a Colonel. He was wounded at the Battle of Shiloh in April 1862. He resigned on August 7, 1863. On March 13, 1865, he became a Brigadier General. After the Civil War , Sullivan was appointed by President Andrew Johnson to be U.S. Minister to Colombia. He was appointed to that post on March 19, 1867, presented his credentials on July 25, 1867, and ended his mission on June 26, 1869. As Minister to Colombia, Sullivan tried to conclude a treaty with Colombia for the construction of a ship canal across the Isthmus of Darien. At the time, Panama was a state under the control of the nation of Colombia, and various other outside interests, including the French and the British, proposed canal sites near the eventual choice of Panama. Sullivan was unable to obtain a treaty for construction of the canal across Darien. Peter J. Sullivan died in Cincinnati, Ohio on March 2, 1883, and he is buried in Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati.
- Delaney, John J. and James Edward Tobin. "Dictionary of Catholic Biography" (New York: Doubleday, 1961).
- Eicher, John H. and David J. Eicher. "Civil War High Commands" (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2001).
- Obituary of Peter J. Sullivan from the "Cincinnati Enquirer" dated 3/7/1883.
- Parks, E. Taylor. "Colombia and the United States: 1765-1934" (New York: Greenwood Press, 1968).
- "Who Was Who in America: Historical Volume, 1607-1896" (Chicago: Marquis, 1963).