Henry Beebee Carrington


Henry Beebee Carrington was born on March 2, 1824, in Wallingford, Connecticut. He was graduated in the Yale class of 1845. In early manhood he became a profound classical scholar and historian and also a dedicated Abolitionist. Removing to Columbus, Ohio, in 1848, Carrington obtained a law degree at Yale and practiced his profession in partnership with William Dennison, later Ohio's Civil War governor. Carrington was prominent in the Abolitionist movement and was an intimate of Salmon P. Chase. Having reorganized the state militia in 1857 at the behest of Chase, then governor, Carrington became state adjutant general and in 1861 was commissioned a colonel in the Regular Army of the United States as a reward for his efforts in organizing, equipping, and dispatching nine regiments of Ohio militia to aid General George B. McClellan in the western Virginia campaign. His logistic effort did much to hold the area to the Union in a time of general panic. In 1862, as a brigadier general of volunteers, he superintended in Indiana the recruitment of tens of thousands of men for the Union cause. At the same time—in Indiana and Ohio—he ruthlessly suppressed the disloyal Sons of Liberty, the Supreme Court later holding Carrington's military tribunals illegal since neither Indiana nor Ohio was technically "in rebellion." Mustered out of volunteer service in 1865, Carrington joined his regiment in 1866 and became a notoriety as a result of the Fetterman Massacre near Fort Phil Kearny, Dakota Territory. Immediately prior to this debacle, the unfortunate Fetterman, as untrained in Indian warfare as his superior, wrote to a friend: "We are afflicted with an incompetent commanding officer. . . ." Carrington survived this stricture to live for half a century, during which he occupied a prominent position in Indian negotiations, was a prolific contributor to historical publications, and wrote a number of history books. He died in Boston on October 26, 1912, and was buried in Fairview Cemetery, Hyde Park, Massachusetts.

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