Simon Goodell Griffin


Simon Goodell Griffin was born in the New Hampshire hamlet of Nelson on August 9, 1824. Both of his grandfathers were veterans of the American Revolution. After a rudimentary education interspersed with work on his uncle's farm, Griffin taught school, served in the legislature, studied law, and in 1860 gained admittance to the state bar. At the outbreak of war he was elected captain of a company of the 2nd New Hampshire and fought at First Manassas in Ambrose E. Burnside's brigade. The following October he resigned to become lieutenant colonel of the 6th New Hampshire, with which he took part in Burnside's expedition on the Carolina coast. In April, 1862, Griffin became colonel of the regiment and that August led it at Second Manassas in Burnside's IX Corps, a command with which he was associated until the end of the war. The regiment suffered heavy losses in the attempt to carry "Burnside's Bridge" at Sharpsburg, and Griffin's men lost one third of their number at Fredericksburg. In May, 1863, he was assigned to command a brigade of the IX Corps and took part in the Vicksburg campaign. During the winter of 1863-64, Griffin commanded Camp Nelson, Kentucky, for a time, and then engaged in re-recruiting the New Hampshire regiments whose three-year enlistments were about to expire. During U. S. Grant's campaign against Petersburg and Richmond, Griffin commanded first his old brigade and then a division of the IX Corps. He was promoted to brigadier general to rank from May 12, 1864, and received the brevet of major general on April 2, 1865. Upon his muster out the following August it was recorded that he had not missed a day's duty during the war. General Griffin returned to New Hampshire and engaged in manufacturing in the town of Harrisville until 1873, meantime serving three terms in the state legislature and running twice, unsuccessfully, for a seat in Congress. He became interested in land and railroad speculation in Texas, where he spent a number of years. He returned to New Hampshire and settled in Keene, where he occupied himself with literary work and the interests of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion. General Griffin died in Keene on January 14, 1902, and was buried there.

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