William Henry Seward, Jr.

William Henry Seward, Jr., the youngest son of Abraham Lincoln's Secretary of State, was born at Auburn, New York, on June 18, 1839. At the age of eighteen he began clerking in an Albany hardware store, but in 1859 went to Washington to become private secretary to his father, who was then a United States Senator. The following year he organized the banking house of William H. Seward and Company, in Auburn. During the early months of 1862, as secretary of the war committee of his congressional district, he was engaged in recruiting and forwarding troops to the front. In August of that year Seward became lieutenant colonel of the 138th New York, an infantry regiment which was changed to artillery in December and named the 9th New York Heavy Artillery. The regiment served in the Washington defenses until the spring of 1864 when U. S. Grant's heavy losses in the Wilderness caused its reconversion to infantry duty and assignment to Ricketts' division of the VI Corps. In the spring of 1863 Seward is said to have undertaken "a delicate secret mission" to General N. P. Banks in Louisiana at the behest of Lincoln. Seward fought at Cold Harbor and was promoted colonel on June 10, 1864. The following month his command was hurried north to oppose Jubal Early at the Monocacy, where he sustained an arm wound and a broken leg when his horse was shot from under him. On September 13, 1864, he became one of the youngest general officers of the army. After recovery from his injuries he was sent to Martinsburg in command of a brigade of the Department of West Virginia and for a time, after the capture of General George Crook by Confederate partisan rangers, commanded the 3rd Division. He resigned his commission in the volunteer service effective June 1, 1865, and returned to Auburn to resume his place at the head of his banking house. For more than half a century thereafter he was one of the most prominent men in western New York, taking a leading part in political affairs, charitable ventures, and patriotic and historical societies. He was also a director of several corporations and member of a number of clubs. When he died in Auburn on April 26, 1920, only six full-rank general officers of the Union army survived him. General Seward was buried in Fox Hill Cemetery, Auburn.

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