Joseph Abel Haskin

Joseph Abel Haskin was born in Troy, New York, on June 21, 1818. He was graduated tenth in the class of 1839 at West Point—the third man was Henry W. Halleck. Commissioned as a second lieutenant, 1st Artillery, Haskin served five years on the Maine frontier (during the "Disputed Territory" controversy with England. It was there, at Houlton, that he met and married his wife. In the Mexican War he served with Winfield Scott's army, lost his left arm at the storming of Chapultepec, and was brevetted captain and major for gallantry. Thereafter, he performed recruiting duty, was a quartermaster for three years, and was in garrison at various points throughout the South and Southwest. At the time of the secession of Louisiana he was a captain of the 1st Artillery and brevet major in command of the barracks and arsenal at Baton Rouge. On January 10, 1861, the governor, backed by a greatly superior force, summoned him to surrender the U. S. government property under his command. Haskin, possessing no other alternative, was forced to comply. Following garrison duty at various points, he was placed in charge of the northern defenses of Washington, where he served from 1862 until 1864. In the latter year he was appointed chief of artillery, Department of Washington, a post he occupied until the end of the war. He was instrumental in repelling the attack of the Confederate General Jubal Early on Fort Stevens in July, 1864, and for his services was promoted to brigadier general of volunteers with rank from August 5 and brevet brigadier general in the Regular Army the following March. As lieutenant colonel, 1st Artillery, he commanded first Fort Independence in Boston Harbor and then, from 1866 until 1870, Forts Schuyler and Wood in New York Harbor. On December 15, 1870, General Haskin was retired from active service for disability from loss of an arm in battle. For the next two years he lived in Oswego, New York, where he contracted tuberculosis. His last two years were spent principally in Charleston in an attempt to regain his health. On August 3, 1874, he died in Oswego and was buried in Riverside Cemetery. His remains were moved to Arlington.

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