Henry Warner Birge

David Bell Birney, son of antislavery leader James G. Birney, was born at Huntsville, Alabama, on May 29, 1825. The family moved to Cincinnati when the boy was thirteen. After graduation from Andover young Birney entered business, studied law, and was admitted to the bar. He moved to Philadelphia, was active in business, and practiced law from 1856 until the outbreak of the Civil War, meanwhile studying military subjects which equipped him better professionally than most volunteer officers mustered into service. Birney began as lieutenant colonel of the 23rd Pennsylvania, a three-month militia regiment. When his unit became a three-year regiment he was commissioned its colonel and on February 17, 1862, became brigadier general of volunteers. His first important field command was a brigade of General Philip Kearny's division of the III Corps, which he led through the Peninsular campaign. He was tried and acquitted of disobedience of an order allegedly issued by General S. P. Heintzelman at the battle of Fair Oaks (Seven Pines), was restored to command, and fought at Chantilly in support of John Pope's Army of Virginia. Succeeding Kearny in command of the division, Birney served with distinction with the Army of the Potomac until July, 1864. He was again charged with dereliction of duty at Fredericksburg, but the charge was not substantiated and Birney was, in fact, highly praised by General George Stoneman. Birney was promoted to major general to rank from May 20, 1863, for his able leadership at Chancellorsville and commanded the III Corps at Gettysburg after the wounding of General Daniel Sickles. He took part in the Overland campaign and on July 23, 1864, was selected by U. S. Grant to command the X Corps. However, he fell ill with a virulent species of malaria, was ordered home, and died in Philadelphia on October 18, 1864. He was buried in Woodlands Cemetery there.

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