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Maj. Gen. Henry Halleck




Born: January 16, 1815

Westernville, NY

Died: January 5, 1872

Louisville, KY



Graduated West Point: 1 July, 1835

Second Lieut.: 1 July 1835

First Lieut: 1 June 1845

Brevet Captain: 1 May 1847

Captain: 1 July 1853

Resigned: 1854

Maj. Gen.: 17 August 1861

Maj. Gen. Henry Halleck

Detested agricultural life and ran away from home to be received by an uncle

Attended Hudson Academy and Union College

​1 Jul 1835: Graduated West Point as Second Lieutenant of Engineers

Spent a few years improving the defenses of New York Harbor

Wrote a report for the Senate called "Report on the Means of National Defence"

1844: Transferred to Europe to study fortifications and the French military

1 Jun 1845: Returned home as a First Lieutenant, gave a series of 12 lectures at the Lowell Institute in Boston

Mexican-American War - Assigned duty in California

11 Nov 1847: First saw combat duty with Shebrick's capture of Port of Mazatlan

As first Lieutenant, served as lieutenant governor

Was awarded brevet promotion to Captain for his gallant and meritorious service in Mexico and


Transferred noth to serve under General Bennet Riley and soon appointed military secretary of the state

In this position, he was the governor's representative at the 1849 convention in Monterrey where the California state convention was written

1 Jul 1853: Promoted to Captain, regular army

Nominated during the convention to be one of two to represent the state in the US Senate, but only received enough votes for third place

1854: Found time to join law firm in San Fransisco - resigned his commission

1855: Married granddaughter of Alexander Hamilton

Director of Almaden Quicksilver (mercury) Company

President of Atlantic & Pacific Railroad

Remained involved in Military Affairs and by erly 1861 was a Maj. Gen. in California militia

19 Aug 1861: Earned rank of Maj. Gen. in regular army making him the 4th highest ranking senior officer (Scott, McClellan and Fremont)

9 Nov 61: Assigned to Department of the Missouri replacing Fremont. His administration quickly sorted out the chaos of fraud and disorder of his predecessor.

Had an uncomfortable relationship with his successful subordinate Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant. Grant had ambitious plans for the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers, but Halleck disapproved. President Lincoln gave Grant permission to attack Forts Henry and Donelson.

​Halleck used the wins to request overall command of the Western Theater, but was denied and continued sharing the duty with Maj. Gen. Don Carlos Buell

After the Battle of Shiloh, Halleck took command of the Army with Grant to serve as second in command

Relieved Grant of his command under rumors of renewed alcoholism, but was soon pressured by President Lincoln to restore Grant to field command.

Halleck went after Beauregard in Corinth, but Halleck moved so slow, Beauregard pulled out of Corinth without a fight

23 Jul 1862: President Lincoln summoned Halleck to become General-in-Chief of all Union armies

Halleck disappointed President Lincoln who called him "little more than a first rate clerk."

Grant replaced Halleck in the west and Halleck started transferring divisions from Grant to Buell. By September, Grant only had 46,000 men

Halleck was a bureaucrat than soldiers. He was not able to impose little discipline or directions to his fired command, McClellan, Pope, and Burnside. An example of this is during the Northern Virginia Campaign, Halleck couldn't motivate McClellan to reinforce Pope at the Second Battle of Manassas.

Due to his inability, President Lincoln and Secretary Stanton started to micromanage the military strategy

12 Mar 1864: Halleck is replaced by Maj. Gen. Grant, who was promoted to Lieut. Gen.

Grant and the War Department let Halleck down easy stating his removal was at his own request

Acted as Chief of Staff under Grant

After Lee's surrender, was assigned to command Military Division of the James, located at Richmond

Was present at President Lincoln's death and a pall-bearer at the funeral

Aug. 1865: Transferred to the Division of the Pacific in California

Accompanied photographer Eadweard Muybridge to newly purchased land

Along with Senator Sumner, they are credited with applying the name "Alaska"

March 1869: Assigned command of Military Division of the South located at Louisville, KY

9 Jan 1872: Died at his post in Louisville


Boatner, Mark M. III. The Civil War Dictionary. New York: David McKay, 1967. p 367

Warner, Ezra J. Generals in Blue Lives of the Union Commanders. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State, 1964. p 195-197

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