Henry Lawrence Eustis


Henry Lawrence Eustis was born on February 1, 1819, in Fort Independence, Boston, Massachusetts, where his father Major (later Colonel and Brevet Brigadier General) Abraham Eustis was stationed. Young Eustis was graduated from Harvard in 1838 and accepted an appointment to West Point, where he was graduated first in the class of 1842, leading such luminaries as John Newton, William S. Rosecrans, G. W. Smith, A. P. Stewart, John Pope, Abner Doubleday, D. H. Hill, George Sykes, R. H. Anderson, Lafayette McLaws, Earl Van Dorn, and James Longstreet. Posted to the Corps of Engineers as a second lieutenant, he was in charge of the construction of Fort Warren in Boston Harbor and spent two years at West Point as assistant professor of engineering. Eustis resigned from the army in 1849 in order to become professor of engineering at Harvard, a post he occupied until his death, except for two years' service in the Civil War. On August 21, 1862, despite waning health, he was again mustered into the service of the United States as colonel of the 10th Massachusetts Volunteers. With this regiment, and later in command of a brigade in the division of his old classmate Newton in the VI Corps, he fought at Fredericksburg, in the Chancellorsville campaign, at Gettysburg, and in U. S. Grant's Overland campaign, which culminated in the battle of Cold Harbor in June, 1864. On June 27 his resignation was accepted, two stories having been advanced as a reason therefor. The first was "impaired health"; the other is to be found in a telegram sent by Assistant Secretary C. A. Dana to Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton on June 12: "General Eustis is relieved . . . and ordered to Washington. He is to be informed that if he does not resign, charges of neglect of duty and general inefficiency will be preferred against him. He is said to eat opium." Perhaps the two versions are not incompatible. Eustis, who had been promoted to brigadier general to rank from September 12, 1863, returned to Cambridge and resumed his academic pursuits until his death on January 11, 1885. He was buried in Mount Auburn Cemetery. He is the author of a number of articles on technical and scientific subjects.

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