b. 08/11/1830 Leeds, Maine. d. 26/10/1909 Burlington, Vermont.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 01/06/1862 Fair Oaks, Virginia.
Civil War Union Major General, Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient. One of the most controversial figures to emerge from the Civil War, his place in American Military history is one of great paradox. Graduating from the United States Military Academy in 1854, placing 4th out of 46 (10 of his classmates would become Civil War Generals, including J.E.B. Stuart), he was serving as a Lieutenant in the Ordnance Department when the Civil War began. Elected as Colonel and commander of the 3rd Maine Volunteer Infantry soon after the firing on Fort Sumter, at the July 1861 First Battle of Bull Run he was placed in command of a brigade that fought near Henry House Hill, and was driven in retreat with the rest of the Union Army. Two months later he was promoted to Brigadier General, US Volunteers. While commanding a brigade in the II Corps during the Peninsular Campaign in May 1862, he led a charge at the Battle of Fair Oaks that cost him his right arm, and won him the Medal of Honor 31 years later.
Returning to action two and a half months later, he commanded the rear guard of the Union Army that met disaster during the Second Battle of Bull Run. At the Battle of Antietam, he assumed command of the II Corps 2nd Division when its commander, General John Sedgwick, was wounded in its disastrous attack on the West Woods. Promoted to Major General, US Volunteers in November 1863, he was assigned to command the Army of the Potomac's XI Corps in March 1863. At the May 1863 Battle of Chancellorsville, his corps was allowed to be exposed on the Army's right by errors made by himself and Army commander General Joseph Hooker. It was subsequently assaulted and routed by Stonewall Jackson in one of the most celebrated actions of the War. With his and his Corps' reputation damaged, he led it in conjunction with the I Corps on the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg, and assumed command when Major General John Reynolds was killed. When the overwhelming Confederate forces broke the XI Corps position and all the Union troops fled to Cemetery Ridge, he became embroiled in a chain of command controversy with Major General Winfield Scott Hancock, who had been personally detailed by Major General George Meade to assume command. Through the Second and Third Day of the Battle he led his Corps in its defense of East Cemetery Hill. Despite showing a lack of decision and command capacity, he was genuinely effective in rallying his troops south of the town during the battle, and was voted a Thanks of Congress for his Gettysburg service.
In October 1863 his Corps was sent to Major General William Sherman's Army in the South, and General Howard was named commander of the IV Corps prior to the Battle of Atlanta. When Army of the Tennessee commander Major General James B. McPherson was killed in action in July 1864, General Howard was named its commander over the objections of General Joseph Hooker (who resigned in protest). He led the Army from Atlanta to the conclusion of the war in the South. A deeply religious man who was also an ardent abolitionist, in May 1865 he was appointed as the head of the Freedman's Bureau, but was not able to combat the corruption within the organization and the deep prejudice within the country. He did accomplish the founding of Howard University in Washington, DC. His post-Civil War career took him to service against the Indians in the West, and to a stint as Superintendent of West Point. He retired as a Major General, US Regular Army in 1894 after commanding the Division of the East.
Led the 61st New York Infantry in a charge in which he was twice severely wounded in the right arm, necessitating amputation
BURIAL LOCATION: LAKEVIEW CEMETERY, BURLINGTON, VERMONT.
Pine Grove 1 Section, Lot 40
NO IMAGE AVAILABLE