Galusha Pennypacker

Galusha Pennypacker, the only general officer in the history of the U. S. Army who was not old enough to vote for or against the President who appointed him, was born near the site of the Revolutionary War encampment of Valley Forge in Chester County, Pennsylvania June 1, 1844. Both his father and grandfather had fought for their country, the former in Mexico, the latter against the British during the Revolution. Galusha was well educated in the private schools of the area in which he was born. When he was only sixteen he enlisted in the 9th Pennsylvania, a ninety-day regiment of which he became quartermaster sergeant. He then recruited a company of the 97th Pennsylvania and was commissioned its captain on August 22, 1861, at the age of seventeen. He was promoted to major in October, and for some time thereafter served in the Department of the South, taking part in some minor operations in Florida and against the defenses of Charleston, South Carolina. In 1864 Pennypacker's regiment was transferred to Benjamin F. Butler's Army of the James. In this theater as a twenty-year-old colonel of volunteers he continued to demonstrate why he would one day be not only the youngest general officer ever appointed in the United States service but also the youngest colonel ever to command a regiment of the Regular Army. In the course of the various engagements in front of Petersburg, Pennypacker commanded a brigade of the XXIV Corps, was wounded four times, and took part in Butler's unsuccessful attempt to capture Fort Fisher in December and in its ultimate capture on January, 1865. General Alfred H. Terry called Pennypacker "the real hero of Fort Fisher" and stated that without his bravery the fort would not have been taken. He was desperately wounded in the assault and was hospitalized at Fort Monroe for ten months. On April 28, 1865, a month before his twenty-first birthday, Pennypacker was made brigadier general of volunteers to rank from February 18 and was brevetted major general as of March 13, 1865, and major general, U. S. Army in 1867. Upon the reorganization of the army in 1866 he became colonel of the 34th Infantry but transferred in 1869 to the 16tn Infantry, which he commanded until his retirement in 1883. He served in the South until 1877 and then primarily on the western frontier until his retirement. In his later years he lived in Philadelphia, where he died on October 1, 1916. General Pennypacker was buried in the Philadelphia 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.