Thomas Wilberforce Egan

Thomas Wilberforce Egan, the son of Irish immigrants, was born in Watervliet, New York, on June 14, 1834. He received a solid schooling; but what his occupations were prior to 1861 is unknown. During this time he married an actress and fathered a son who died in childhood. Enlisting in the 40th New York, also known as the Constitution Guard and the Mozart Regiment, in April, 1861, he was commissioned its lieutenant colonel on July 1. The following year, at the battle of Seven Pines (Fair Oaks) in the Peninsular campaign, Egan put his colonel in arrest for misconduct, displayed conspicuous gallantry, and was commissioned colonel as of the date of his superior's discharge from the service. Egan was conspicuous on every field in which the Army of the Potomac took part. The losses of the 40th regiment were heavy and were compensated for only by the addition of recruits for the 87th New York in September, 1862, and the consolidation of veterans of the 37th, 38th, 55th, and 101st New York into the command after Chancellorsville. While commanding a brigade in the II Corps during the initial attacks on the defenses of Petersburg, Egan sustained a wound near the spine which resulted in a slight paralysis of his legs. Two months later he returned to duty and was promoted to brigadier general of volunteers on September 3, 1864. On November 14, 1864, during the course of a minor operation in command of John Gibbon's division of the II Corps, Egan was severely wounded in the right arm and disabled. Nevertheless, he returned to active duty in time to be assigned to one of the divisions of Hancock's Provisional Corps, with the brevet of major general to rank from October 27, 1864, "for gallant and distinguished service at the battle of Boydton Plank Road. ..." After his separation from the army in 1866, General Egan was appointed a deputy collector in the New York Customs House, a position he held until about six years before his death. Alone and in obscurity, he died in a charity hospital on February 24, 1887. He was buried in Cypress Hills National Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York.

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