William Babcock Hazen

William Babcock Hazen was born in West Hartford, Vermont, on September 27, 1830; however, at the age of three his parents took him to Hiram, Ohio, where he spent his boyhood and formed a close friendship with James A. Garfield. He was graduated from West Point at the age of twenty-five, with the brevet of second lieutenant of infantry. Hazen's pre-Civil War service was mainly in the Pacific Northwest and Texas, where he was severely wounded in a fight with Comanches in 1859. From then until 1861 he was on sick leave, disabled by his wounds, but was promoted to captain of the 8th Infantry with the reorganization of the army following the fall of Fort Sumter. In October he became colonel of the 41st Ohio, and the following spring commanded a brigade of D. C. Buell's Army of the Ohio on the second day at Shiloh. With promotion to brigadier general in April, 1863, and major general in April, 1865, Hazen took a most commendable part in the successive campaigns and battles of Perryville, Stone's River, Tullahoma, Chickamauga, Chattanooga, Knoxville, Atlanta, the "March to the Sea," and the Carolinas. In August, 1864, he took command of the 2nd Division of the XV Corps and in May, 1865, led the corps in its grand review in Washington. By the end of the war he had received all the brevets through major general in the regular service and in July, 1866, was appointed colonel of the 38th Infantry, transferring to the 6th Infantry in 1869. Hazen put in years of duty on the western frontier, visited Europe as an observer with the German armies during the Franco-Prussian War, and became involved in the post-trader dispute, testifying to the extravagance and corruption which marked the system, which resulted in the resignation of U. S. Grant's Secretary of War, General William W. Belknap. In 1880, President Rutherford B. Hayes appointed Hazen chief signal officer with the staff rank of brigadier general, a post he held until his death. Because of the Signal Corps's management of the Weather Bureau. A. W. Greely's arctic expedition of 1881 came under Hazen's command and the general was bitterly critical of the supineness of Secretary of War Robert Lincoln in failing to authorize relief for the expedition. When rescued in 1884, only seven of the party's twenty-five members were alive. Hazen died in Washington on January 16, 1887, and" was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

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