John Henry Hobart Ward

John Henry Hobart Ward, whose father and grandfather both ultimately died of wounds received in defending their country, was born on June 17, 1823, in New York City. He was educated at Trinity Collegiate School and at the age of eighteen enlisted in the army. From April, 1842, until April, 1847, he served successively as private, corporal, sergeant, and sergeant major in the 7th Infantry, took part in the siege of Fort Brown, was wounded at Monterrey, and was present at the capture of Vera Cruz, where he subsequently was wed to one of the belles of the town. For nine years during the 1850's, he was the assistant to the state commissary general and then commissary general. When the Civil War broke out Ward was commissioned colonel of the 38th New York, which he led at the battle of First Manassas, in all of the battles of the Peninsular campaign, at Second Manassas, and at Chantilly. In the latter campaign he temporarily commanded David Birney's brigade of the III Corps and on October 4, 1862, was made a brigadier general of volunteers and placed in permanent command of the brigade. He fought at Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg (where he was wounded) and in the II Corps at the Wilderness and Spotsylvania (where he was wounded again); meanwhile he occasionally commanded Birney's division, which went from the III to the II Corps in the post-Gettysburg consolidation. Up until the battle of the Wilderness in May, 1864, Ward had been almost universally eulogized by his superiors for bravery and ability. Thus, it was a distinct shock to many of his associates when he was relieved from command on May 12, 1864, "for misbehavior and intoxication in the presence of the enemy during the Battle of the Wilderness." He was, however, honorably mustered out of service on July 18, 1864. Many prominent persons asked that Ward be restored to rank and then brought to trial so that his guilt could be ascertained, but as late as October 2, 1864, the Secretary of War refused to revoke the dismissal order. For thirty-two years after the war General Ward served as clerk of the superior and supreme courts of New York. On July 24, 1903, while vacationing in Monroe, New York (where one of his daughters was buried), he was run over by a train and killed. After a Masonic funeral in Brooklyn, New York, his body was brought back to Monroe for burial in Community Cemetery.

Previous Page

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