Charles Kinnaird Graham

Charles Kinnaird Graham was born in New York City on June 3, 1824. At the age of seventeen he entered the navy as a midshipman. During the Mexican War he saw service in the Gulf Squadron but resigned in 1848. He studied law and engineering and qualified to practice both professions. As an engineer he helped to lay out Central Park; in 1857 he constructed the dry docks at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. In 1861 he and four hundred other navy yard workmen enrolled in Daniel Sickles' "Excelsior Brigrade"; Graham was successively appointed major, lieutenant colonel, and colonel of the regiment ultimately mustered in as the 74th New York. With it he took part in George B. McClellan's Peninsular campaign, fighting at Seven Pines (Fair Oaks) and in the Seven Days' battles which culminated at Malvern Hill. Bad health forced his retirement from the field for some time and he was employed on recruiting duty for almost a year but returned to lead a brigade in Birney's division of Sickles' III Corps at Chancellorsville. Meantime, he was promoted to brigadier general of volunteers in March to rank from November 29, 1862. On July 2, 1863, during the bloody combat in the Peach Orchard at Gettysburg, Graham was wounded and captured by the Confederates. Sent to Richmond, he was exchanged in September and in November, 1863, was assigned to command the army gunboats in Benjamin F. Butler's Army of the James. His principal exploit from this time until the end of the war was burning the home near Fredericksburg, of the brother of the Confederate Secretary of War, an act of retaliation ordered by General Butler because Montgomery Blair's house had been burned during General Jubal Early's invasion of Maryland. Graham was brevetted major general in 1865 and resumed civil engineering in New York. He was chief engineer of the department of docks from 1873 to 1875, surveyor of the port during 1878-83, and naval officer of the port until 1885. On April 15, 1889, General Graham died in Lakewood, New Jersey, and was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery, New York.

Previous Page

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