John Henry Ketcham

John Henry Ketcham was born in Dutchess County, New York, December 21, 1832. He procured an education at Suffield (Connecticut) Academy and then farmed near his home. He was a Dutchess County supervisor in 1854-55, member of the state assembly 1856-57, and state senator 1860-61. On October 11, 1862, he was mustered into service as colonel of the newly organized 150th New York—a regiment which did guard duty at Baltimore until the battle of Gettysburg where it was lightly engaged as a part of Lockwood's brigade, which after the battle became a part of Williams' division of the XII Corps. In September, 1863, Ketcham and his men went west and until the beginning of the Atlanta campaign, with the rest of Williams' division, were stationed along the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad between Murfreesboro and Bridgeport. The XI and XII Corps became the XX Corps in April, 1864, and thereafter Ketcham led his regiment through the sanguinary battles of Resaca, Cassville, Dallas, Kennesaw, and the battles around Atlanta, where he was wounded and brevetted brigadier general of volunteers. Two days after he rejoined his regiment in front of Savannah, he was again severely wounded. In January, 1865, he was assigned to duty according to his brevet rank; however, the Official Records do not indicate that he was ever so employed subsequently. Although it appears that Ketcham never commanded more than a regiment in combat and although he had resigned his colonel's commission on March 2, 1865, in order to take the seat in Congress to which he had been elected the previous November, he was brevetted major general on March 13, 1865, and given the full rank of brigadier general on October 23, 1865! During the next forty years General Ketcham was elected to the House of Representatives no less than seventeen times, was defeated once, and declined re-nomination once. He also served three years as a District of Columbia commissioner and was a delegate to numerous state and national Republican conventions. While a member of the Fifty-Ninth Congress, General Ketcham died, November 4, 1906, in New York City, and was buried in Valley View Cemetery, Dover Plains, in the county of his birth.

Previous Page

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