William Haines Lytle

Taken in the Spring Grove Cemetery, Cincinnati, Ohio, Hamilton County.

WILLIAM HAINES LYTLE was born November 2,1826, in Cincinnati. He was the son of Robert Lytle. A United States congressman from Cincinnati, and the grandson of William Lytle, one of Cincinnati's pioneer settlers. William H. Lytle was graduated from Cincinnati College when he was sixteen years old. He wanted to go to West Point but was persuaded by his family to pursue the study of law. He served in the Mexican War and by its end had attained the rank of captain. After the Mexican War he resumed the practice of law in Cincinnati. In 1852 and 1854 he was elected a member of the Ohio state legislature as a Democrat serving for a time as speaker of the house. He was an unsuccessful candidate for lieutenant governor of Ohio in 1857, but shortly thereafter the Republican governor, Salmon P. Chase, appointed him a major general of the Ohio militia.

At the outbreak of the Civil War General Lytle established Camp Harrison, the first Civil War training camp in southwestern Ohio. He sought and received appointment as colonel of the 10th Ohio, the Irish regiment from Cincinnati. Campaigning in western Virginia, he was severely wounded in the battle at Carnifex Ferry on September 10,1861. He was wounded again in the battle of Perryville, Kentucky, on October 8,1862, and was taken prisoner. He was soon paroled and was returned to Cincinnati where he was promoted to brigadier general. He returned to duty as a brigade commander in the Army of the Cumberland in time to take part in the sanguinary battle of Chickamauga. General Lytle was killed during the second day of that battle, on September 20,1863. No event during the Civil War produced such a demonstration of grief as did his death at age thirty-six. He was the only son of a distinguished family and had never married. With his death the family name ceased to exist. Before the war General Lytle had written a poem entitled "Anthony and Cleopatra," in which the main character of the romantic narrative was a soldier who died in battle. The poem was first published in the Cincinnati Commercial on July 29,1858, and William Haines Lytle had gained instant recognition as a lyric poet Like the main character in his poem, General Lytle had died in battle. His body was recovered and was returned to Cincinnati where funeral services were held on October 22,1863. It was Cincinnati's most impressive funeral. The services were held in the early afternoon at Christ Church on Fourth Street, and so many people lined the streets that the funeral cortege did not reach Spring Grove Cemetery until dusk. General Lytle's monument, one of the most impressive ones there, is near the entrance to the cemetery.

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