Henry Morris Nagley

Henry Morris Naglee (January 15, 1815 – March 5, 1886) was a civil engineer, banker, vintner, and a Union general in the American Civil War. Naglee was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1835.

Naglee came to California in 1846 during the Mexican-American War as a captain in the 1st New York Infantry regiment. In 1849, Captain Naglee became the first commanding officer of the 1st California Guards, a militia unit in San Francisco, the beginning of what would become the California National Guard. He also entered into a career in banking.

In 1858 Naglee left San Francisco to study viticulture in Europe. Later that year, he bought 140 acres (0.570 km˛) just east of downtown San Jose, California, where he built an estate and planted vineyards of Riesling and Charbono grapes, from which he distilled brandy.

In 1861 Naglee reentered the U.S. Army as a lieutenant colonel, but he resigned in January 1862. Naglee was made a brigadier general of volunteers the next month and commanded a brigade in the Army of the Potomac during the Peninsula Campaign, where he was wounded at the Battle of Fair Oaks in May. Later that year he commanded a brigade and a division in North Carolina. In 1863 he commanded the VII Corps and the District of Virginia. In 1864 he was mustered out of the army and returned to San Jose to resume banking and brandy making.

After returning to California, General Naglee was involved in two very public scandals. In 1865, Mary Schell, whom Naglee had met in 1858 and corresponded with while at war, published his love letters in a book entitled The Love Life of Brigadier General Henry M. Naglee, Consisting of a correspondence on Love, War and Politics, after he broke off their relationship. In 1877 his nanny Emily Hanks filed a lawsuit against Naglee, claiming he proposed marriage to her and then seduced her. This led to two trials and three years of headlines in the local newspapers. The court ruled in Hanks's favor in the first trial, but in Naglee's in the second.

Henry Naglee died in San Francisco and is buried in Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia. His estate was developed into the residential Naglee Park neighborhood in 1902 by Henry's two daughters, Marie and Antoinette. They erected a stone and brass memorial to Naglee in San Jose's St. James Park.

Previous Page