Charles Edward Hovey

Charles Edward Hovey was born in Thetford, Vermont, April 26, 1827. He was graduated from Dartmouth in 1852, having for years taught school during vacation periods to augment his own slender means in order to finance his education. From then until the beginning of the Civil War, Hovey's career as an educator was enviable. He was successively principal of the Framingham (Massachusetts) High School, principal of the Peoria, Illinois, Boys' High School, superintendent of Peoria schools, president of the state teachers' association, member of the first state board of education, and founder of the original state teachers' university at Normal, Illinois. When the Civil War broke out in 1861, Hovey organized the 33rd Illinois Infantry, a regiment largely comprised of teachers and students at Normal. He was commissioned colonel on August 15, 1861, and took the regiment to Missouri, where it saw service in a number of unimportant actions during the winter. For reasons undisclosed by historical records Colonel Hovey was appointed a brigadier general of volunteers to rank from September 5, 1862; the Senate, however, declined to act upon the nomination within the statutory period and it expired by operation of law on March 4, 1863. In the interim he took a thoroughly commendable part in the capture of Arkansas Post in January, 1863, where General W. T. Sherman reported that he had been "wounded in his arm by a shell, but continued and still continues to command his brigade." It is variously stated that he "was compelled to resign . . . owing to ... a bullet which passed through both of his arms . . ." and that "he left the . . . service in May, 1863. . . ." In any event he disappeared from the Official Records, but as of March 13, 1865, in the omnibus brevet promotions which accompanied the close of the war, he was promoted to major general. In the years following the war he lived in Washington. Having once briefly studied law in Framingham, he turned his undeniable talents as administrator and educator to the far more profitable business of pension lobbying, in which occupation he was eminently successful. General Hovey died in Washington, D. C, November 17, 1897, and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

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Reference: Generals in Blue. Lives of the Union Commanders by Ezra J. Warner. Louisiana State University Press. Baton Rouge.