William Henry Chase Whiting

Headstone: Find-a-Grave

William Henry Chase Whiting was born in Biloxi, Mississippi, on March 22, 1824. He attained the highest grades ever made- up to that time at West Point, from which he was graduated in 1845. Thereafter he supervised river and harbor improvements and the construction of fortifications in California and the South. Entering Confederate service as a major of engineers, he soon joined General Joseph E. Johnston's Army of the Shenandoah as chief engineer and arranged its transfer to First Manassas. He was there promoted brigadier general on the field by President Davis, to rank July 21, 1861. Commanding a division, he participated in the battle of Seven Pines, in the Valley campaign under Jackson, and in the Seven Days around Richmond. After Malvern Hill, Whiting was ordered to Wilmington, North Carolina, where he developed Fort Fisher at the mouth of Cape Fear River into the strongest fortress in the Confederacy. He was appointed major general on April 22, 1863. For a brief interlude in the summer of 1864 he was at Petersburg. Here, his failure to get his command into action at Port Walthall Junction, during the movement which bottled up the Federal General Butler, earned him the accusation of being under the influence of whiskey or narcotics. The rest of his war service was in North Carolina. Fort Fisher was finally taken on January 15, 1865, after a prolonged naval bombardment and a land assault, and after the Wilmington garrison, under General Bragg, had failed to lend proper support. Whiting was severely wounded and made a prisoner of war. He was conveyed to Fort Columbus in New York Harbor, where he died of his wounds on March 10, 1865. He is buried in Oakdale Cemetery, Wilmington, North Carolina.

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

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