Ethan Allen Hitchcock

Ethan Allen Hitchcock, grandson of the leader of the "Green Mountain Boys" of Revolutionary War fame, was born at Vergennes, Vermont, on May 18, 1798. He was graduated from West Point in 1817 and after some routine duty in garrison and on recruiting service was commissioned a captain of the 1st Infantry in 1824. He compiled a most honorable, though stormy, record at the Military Academy, in the Florida War, on Indian duty in the Pacific Northwest, and in the war with Mexico, where he served as Winfield Scott's inspector general in the march on Mexico City. For his services Hitchcock was brevetted colonel and brigadier general and in 1851 was made colonel of the 2nd Infantry. Refused an extension of a four-month leave of absence for his health by Secretary of War Jefferson Davis, Hitchcock resigned in 1855 and went to St. Louis to live. He wrote many of his literary works here, devoting "himself to general literature and the peculiar philosophical investigations which had for years occupied his thoughts." At the instance of General Scott and after having once before had the tender of his services rejected, Hitchcock was appointed major general of volunteers in February, 1862, only the sixth of this grade. He became successively an intimate of Edwin M. Stanton and Abraham Lincoln, commissioner for the exchange of prisoners, and in November, 1865, Commissary General of prisoners— a post which involved the adjustment of a vast number of complicated claims against the government. In 1867 he was mustered out of service and thereafter, because of his health, lived first in Charleston, South Carolina, and then in Sparta, Georgia, where he died on August 5, 1870. He was buried at West Point. Hitchcock was one of only a half-dozen West Point graduates born in the eighteenth century who became general officers during the Civil War.

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