Francis Channing Barlow, the son of a minister, was born in Brooklyn, New York, on October 19, 1834, but was raised in his mother's hometown, Brookline, Massachusetts. Graduated from Harvard in 1855, he went to New York, studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1858, and practiced until the outbreak of the war. Barlow enlisted as a private in the 12th New York, a three-month regiment from which he was mustered out in August. He reentered the army as lieutenant colonel of the 61st New York to commence a meritorious military career. As colonel of the 61st and later as brigadier general of volunteers (September 19, 1862), he served throughout the Peninsular campaign and at Sharpsburg under George B. McClellan, where he was severely wounded. At Chancellorsville, Barlow's brigade was a part of Howard's XI Corps which was driven off the field in confusion by Stonewall Jackson's celebrated flank attack. In the retirement of the XI Corps to Cemetery Ridge on the first day of Gettysburg, Barlow was wounded by a ball which temporarily paralyzed his arms and legs. Left for dead on the field, he was succored by Confederate General John B. Gordon. He did not rejoin the army until the inception of Grant's Overland campaign, in which he commanded a division of Hancock's II Corps. The high point of his career occurred in the dawn hours at Spotsylvania where, on May 12, 1864, his and David Birney's divisions captured some three thousand Confederates, including two generals, thirty stands of colors, and twenty guns. Soon after the investment of Petersburg he went on sick leave, but returned to active duty in time to be present at Sayler's Creek and the closing scenes of the war. He was promoted to major general of volunteers on May 25, 1865. General Barlow then entered politics and was twice elected secretary of the state of New York; served as United States marshal; was elected state attorney general, in 1871, and initiated the prosecution of the "Tweed Ring." After the expiration of his term he practiced law until his death in New York City on January 11, 1896; he was buried in Brookline.
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