Henry Warner Slocum

Henry Warner Slocum was born September 24, 1827, at Delphi (also called Delphi Falls), a hamlet in Onondaga County, New York. He was the direct descendant of an Englishman who came to America in 1637. He attended nearby Cazenovia Seminary, taught school for several years, and in 1848 secured an appointment to the Military Academy, where he was graduated in 1852. After some service against the Florida Seminoles and garrison duty in Charleston Harbor, he resigned in 1856 to begin the practice of law for which he had fitted himself while in the army. He took up residence in Syracuse, New York, and served as county treasurer, as a state legislator, and as an instructor in artillery in the New York State militia with rank of colonel. As of May 21, 1861, Slocum became colonel of the 27th New York, a two-year regiment which was mustered in at Elmira on July 9; the regiment fought in Andrew Porter's brigade of David Hunter's division at First Bull Run (Manassas), where it sustained 130 casualties and its commander was wounded in the thigh. Upon his return to duty Slocum was given a brigade of William B. Franklin's division, and, when Franklin became commander of the VI Corps, Slocum succeeded him in divisional command. He had been made a brigadier general of volunteers on August 9, 1861, and on July 25, 1862, was promoted major general to rank from July 4, the next-to-youngest of this rank in the army at this time. He led his division through the Peninsular campaign, aided in covering John Pope's retreat from the battlefield of Second Manassas, and rendered valuable service during the campaign in Maryland. After the bloody battle of Sharpsburg, Slocum was appointed to lead the XII Corps, an organization created the month before from N. P. Banks's II Corps of Pope's Army of Virginia. The XII Corps was not employed at the battle of Fredericksburg, but in the ensuing campaign of Chancellorsville was heavily engaged, losing 2,755 men from its six brigades of infantry. Of all those who became disenchanted with the leadership of Joseph Hooker during this battle, Slocum and Darius N. Couch of the II Corps were the most articulate, each expressing his opinion unreservedly. At the crucial battle of Gettysburg the XII Corps held the extreme right of the Union line, stretching southward from Culp's Hill across the Baltimore Pike; Slocum was the senior major general present on the field. After this battle and the debacle at Chickamauga in September, the XI and XII Corps were moved, under the general command of Hooker, to the west to succor the beleaguered Federals in Chattanooga. Slocum promptly submitted his resignation to President Lincoln, but it was refused. A compromise was ultimately reached whereby one division of the corps, under Slocum, was charged with the protection of the Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad while the other division served directly under Hooker. Just prior to the inception of the Atlanta campaign he was assigned to the District of Vicksburg, where he served until August, 1864. Meantime the XI and XII Corps were consolidated into the XX Corps, with Hooker as commander. After the death of James B. McPherson in July the command of his Army of the Tennessee was given to Oliver O. Howard; whereupon Hooker huffily asked to be relieved, because he considered himself overslaughed by a junior. At this juncture Slocum was called from Vicksburg to succeed to the command of the XX Corps, which was the first Federal command to enter Atlanta on September 2, 1864. In the subsequent "March to the Sea" and the campaign of the Carolinas, Slocum commanded the left wing of W. T. Sherman's forces (XIV and XX Corps), while Howard commanded the right (XV and XVII); toward the end these forces were respectively designated the Army of Georgia and the Army of the Tennessee. On September 28, 1865, Slocum resigned his commission and returned to Syracuse. He ran that year for New York secretary of state on the Democratic ticket but was defeated by General Francis C. Barlow. The following spring he moved to Brooklyn where he practiced law and the same year declined a colonel's commission in the Regular Army. He was a Democratic presidential elector in 1868 and was elected to Congress for three terms as a Democrat (from 1869 to 1873 and from 1883 to 1885). As a Congressman he was one of the staunchest adherents of General Fitz John Porter in his battle to win vindication from his unjust court-martial sentence. Slocum was also a member of the Board of Gettysburg Monument Commissioners. He died in Brooklyn, on April 14, 1894, and was buried in Green-Wood Cemetery.

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