William Badger Tibbits

William Badger Tibbits was born March 31, 1837, in Hoosick Falls, New York. He was graduated from Union College in Schenectady in 1859 and then began the study of law and engaged in manufacturing. Upon President Lincoln's first call for seventy-five thousand volunteers, Tibbits recruited a company of the 2nd New York Infantry, a two-year regiment, and was commissioned its captain on May 14, 1861. The command's first action was at the battle of Big Bethel near Fort Monroe, where the Federals were beaten by the Confederate Carolinians of D. H. Hill. With promotion to major in October, 1862, Tibbits took part successively in George B. McClellan's Peninsular campaign, the campaign of Second Manassas, battle of Fredericksburg, and campaign of Chancellorsville. The 2nd New York was then mustered out upon the expiration of its term of service. Tibbits reentered the army on February 5, 1864, as colonel of the 21st New York Cavalry, also known as the "Griswold Light Cavalry," which he took to West Virginia. He engaged in the battle of New Market, commanding a brigade of cavalry of Stahel's division of Franz Sigel's forces who were beaten and sent North in retreat by the Confederates under John C. Breckinridge. The bitterest pill to swallow in this defeat was the fact that the most celebrated Rebel unit on the field was the cadet battalion of the Virginia Military Institute, theretofore deemed too young for service in an army notable for the youth of its personnel. After the accession of David Hunter to command of the Department of West Virginia, Tibbits was present at the battle of Piedmont and was highly recommended for promotion by General Hunter in August. Tibbits was brevetted brigadier general of volunteers on October 21, 1864, and, after the bulk of Philip Sheridan's Army of the Shenandoah was brought to the. Petersburg theater, he remained in the Middle Military Division commanding a division of cavalry. He was brevetted major general of volunteers in March, 1865, and on October 18 of that year was commissioned a full-rank brigadier general, one of the last such promotions made by the War Department during the Civil War. General Tibbits was mustered out of service in 1866 and returned to Troy, New York, where he resided until his death on February 10, 1880. He was buried in Oakwood Cemetery.

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