John Parker Hawkins

John Parker Hawkins, brother-in-law of General Edward R. S. Canby, was born in Indianapolis on September 29, 1830. He was graduated from the Military Academy in the class of 1852, ranking 40th out of forty-three members, and was brevetted second lieutenant of the 6th Infantry. So slow was promotion that two years elapsed before he received an appointment as a full-rank second lieutenant, this time in the 2nd Infantry. In the years before the Civil War, Hawkins served mainly on the northwestern frontier, being quartermaster of his regiment from 1858 until 1861. After the war broke out Hawkins shifted to the Commissary Department, serving as assistant commissary at St. Louis for a time, chief commissary of the District of Southwest Missouri, inspecting commissary of the Department of Missouri, chief commissary of the XIII Corps, and finally chief commissary of the Army of the Tennessee. Absent on sick leave for three months in 1863, he returned to command a brigade of Negroes and the District of Northeastern Louisiana until February, 1864. From then until the close of the war he was in garrison at Vicksburg commanding a Negro division, with which he took part in the campaign which resulted in the capture of Mobile. Hawkins had been made a brigadier general of volunteers in 1863 and in 1865 was given the brevets of major general in both the regular and volunteer services. Mustered out of volunteer service in February, 1866, he reverted to his regular rank of staff captain in the Subsistence Department and was not promoted to major until 1874. Meantime, and for many years thereafter, he served on commissary duty at various stations and was gradually promoted: to lieutenant colonel in 1889, to colonel in March, 1892, to commissary general of subsistence with rank of brigadier general on December 22, 1892. He headed the Subsistence Department until his retirement in September, 1894, at the statutory age of 64. General Hawkins lived twenty years after retirement, making his home in Indianapolis. He had married a daughter of Colonel Henry Knox Craig, chief of ordinance from 1851 until the outbreak of the Civil War, and interested himself in the genealogy of the Hawkins, Craig, and Canby families. He died in Indianapolis on February 7, 1914, and was buried in Crown Hill 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.