Darius Nash Couch

Darius Nash Couch was born on a farm in Putnam County, New York, on July 23, 1822. After a common school education, he entered West Point and was graduated in the class of 1846 along with George B. McClellan and Stonewall Jackson. Forty-four graduates survived to fight in the Civil War and nineteen of these became general officers of full rank in either the United States or Confederate armies. Couch was brevetted for gallant and meritorious conduct in the Mexican War and after eight years' service as a lieutenant of artillery, mainly at eastern stations, resigned his commission in 1855 in order to enter the copper fabricating business of his wife's family at Taunton, Massachusetts. Couch was colonel of the 7 th Massachusetts volunteers in Washington on the eve of the battle of First Manassas, an engagement in which this regiment did not participate. With the accession of his classmate McClellan to chief command of the Union armies, Couch was promoted to brigadier general of volunteers on August 9, 1861, with rank from May 17. After a winter spent in training the raw recruits of the Army of the Potomac, he compiled a distinguished record in the Peninsular campaign of the following spring, commanding a division of Reyes's IV Corps. Illness plagued Couch, and in July, 1862, he tendered his resignation, which McClellan refused to forward to the War Department. Instead Couch was immediately appointed major general to rank from July 4. He commanded his division at Sharpsburg (Antietam) and the II Corps at Fredericksburg under Ambrose E. Burn-side and at Chancellorsville under Joseph Hooker. His distrust of Hooker's capacity for high command was profound and unconcealed. After the debacle in the tangled Wilderness, Couch applied for relief from duty with the Army of the Potomac. This move, coupled with his close relationship with McClellan, ended his career. He commanded the Pennsylvania militia during the Gettysburg campaign and in 1864 was assigned a division of the XXIII Corps, which he led with distinction at the battle of Nashville (where he had a horse killed under him) and in the campaign of the Carolinas. General Couch resigned on May 26, 1865. After the war, because he was a Democrat and a McClellan supporter, he failed to gain the governorship of Massachusetts and could not hold the collectorship of the port of Boston, a post to which he had been appointed by President Andrew Johnson. After 1870, he lived in Norwalk, Connecticut, and in the ensuing years was at various times state quartermaster general and adjutant general. He died in Norwalk, February 12, 1897, and was buried in Taunton.

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