Henry Heth

Major General

Headstone: Find-a-Grave

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Reference: Alabama Department of Archives & History. Custodian of the original pictures. Confederate Officers photo album.  http://www.archives.alabama.gov/conoffalb/index.html

Henry Heth, said to have been the only officer in the Army of Northern Virginia whom General Robert E. Lee addressed by his given name, was born in Chesterfield County, Virginia, December 16, 1825. He was graduated from West Point in 1847 at the bottom of his class. He achieved his captaincy on routine frontier duty with the old army, from which he resigned in 1861. He shortly afterwards became colonel of the 45th Virginia Infantry. After service in Western Virginia under General Floyd, where he was promoted brigadier from January 6, 1862, he took part in the Kentucky campaign in Kirby Smith's column. He joined the Virginia Army in February 1863 and was assigned a brigade in A. P. Hill's division, which he led at Chancellorsville. Heth had previously been named to the Senate as major general to rank from October 10, 1862. This nomination was rejected, and he was re-nominated to rank from May 24, 1863, and was confirmed on February 17, 1864. It was General Heth who touched off the Battle of Gettysburg. The evening before the conflict a reconnaissance by Pettigrew's brigade had developed the presence of Federal troops in the town. On the following morning Heth, against orders, but with the abetment of A. P. Hill, advanced his four brigades against General John Buford's Federal cavalry. Heth was severely wounded in the battle, but managed to participate in all the subsequent engagements of the army. He was finally paroled at Appomattox. After the war he engaged in the insurance business at Richmond. He died in Washington, D. C, September 27, 1899, and is buried in Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond.

Ref: Generals in Gray, Lives of the Confederate Commanders by Ezra J. Warner.  Printed by Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge and London.