Horatio Phillips Van Cleve

Horatio Phillips Van Cleve was born in Princeton, New Jersey, on November 23, 1809. He was educated at the College of New Jersey (now Princeton) and at West Point, graduating from the latter in 1831. He served in garrison in Wisconsin until 1836 when he resigned. During the next twenty-five years he was a farmer near Monroe, Michigan, a teacher in Cincinnati, a farmer again near Ann Arbor, Michigan, a civil engineer in the employ of the state of Michigan, U. S. surveyor of public lands in Minnesota, and from 1856 to 1861 a stockman in Minnesota. On July 22, 1861, Van Cleve was commissioned colonel of the 2nd Minnesota Infantry, a regiment which first saw action in January, 1862, at the battle of Fishing Creek, Kentucky, fighting in the brigade commanded by R. L. McCook. During the siege of Corinth following the battle of Shiloh, Van Cleve, who had been promoted to brigadier general on March 21, 1862, directed a brigade of D. C. Buell's Army of the Ohio. At the battle of Mur-freesboro he was wounded while in command of a division in T. L. Crittenden's left wing of W. S. Rosecrans' army. At Chickamauga his division became involved in the famous Confederate breakthrough of September 20 and was shattered, losing 962 men. The XXI Corps went out of existence the following month, and although the other two division commanders, Thomas J. Wood and John M. Palmer, were retained in the new table of organization, General Van Cleve was relegated to command of the post and forces at Murfreesboro, Tennessee, where he served for the balance of the war. Nevertheless, in the omnibus promotions of March, 1865, he was brevetted major general of volunteers and was honorably mustered out in August. In the postwar years he was adjutant general of the state of Minnesota from 1866 to 1870 and again from 1876 to 1882; he was also postmaster at St. Anthony, Minnesota, from 1871 to 1873. During the last years of his life General Van Cleve resided in Minneapolis, where he died on April 24, 1891. He was buried in Lakewood Cemetery.

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