HENRY W. SLOCUM
M A J O R G E N E R A L
commander, xii cORPS
Henry Warner Slocum was born on September 24, 1827 in Delphi, Onondaga County, New York. Even in his early life, young Henry displayed an aptitude for conducting military-style operations. Henry and several of his friends saved the money they had earned and purchased a small two-pound cannon to aid in the communityís July 4th celebrations. When one of the boys moved to a neighboring village and took the gun with him, the remaining boys were unimpressed with this action. Some were in favor of going to the village and retrieving their possession that had been taken without permission, using whatever force was necessary to regain possession. Henry was reading the Life of Napoleon at the time convinced his friends that he would devise a strategy that would regain possession of the cannon. He did and Henry and his friends took their prized possession back to Delphi.
Young Henry attended school in his early years and worked in his fatherís general store. Henry not only had a talent for military-style operations, but also when it came to his educational prowess and business acumen. He was able to attend Cazenovia Seminary and earned a public school teacherís certificate at the age of 16. Later, he was selected to attend the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York in 1848. At graduation, Henry stood seventh in a class of 47. His roommate, Philip Sheridan, wrote that his roommate was instrumental in his own success with graduation from the institution. Second Lieutenant Henry Slocum received his commission in June of 1852 and received an assignment for duty with the First United States Artillery. Shortly thereafter, his unit was dispatched to Florida to maintain the peace with the Seminole Indians. In 1853, Second Lieutenant Slocum and his company were assigned to Fort Moultrie, South Carolina. Securing some leave, Lieutenant Slocum returned to his native New York and married Miss Clara Rice of Woodstock, New York. In due time, the young couple would return to his post in South Carolina.
It was during this time at Fort Moultrie, that Lieutenant Slocum met the Honorable B.C. Presley. When not engaged in his military duties, he studied the law under the tutelage of Mr. Presley. On March 3, 1855, Second Lieutenant Slocum became First Lieutenant Slocum. Having received this promotion, he continued with his military service. The promotion was welcome news as the Slocumís welcomed a daughter into their family. Sadly, on October 20, 1855 she passed from this world. On October 31, 1855, First Lieutenant Slocum resigned from the Army and returned to Onondaga County, New York with his wife. He was admitted to the bar and opened a law office in Syracuse, New York. In 1858, he was elected to the lower house of the New York State Legislature. In 1860, he would be elected to the office of Treasurer for Onondaga County. From 1859-1860, he also served as an instructor of artillery for the militia as a Colonel.
After the rebel bombardment of Fort Sumter, Henry Slocum offered his services to his native state of New York. The 27th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment was formed with Slocum appointed to its command with the rank of Colonel. The regiment left Elmira, New York on July 10, 1861 bound for Washington City. The regiment was assigned to Porterís First Brigade, Hunterís Second Division, McDowellís army. The regiment would march towards Manassas, Virginia and be engaged in the First Battle of Bull Run. At this battle, Colonel Slocum is wounded in the right thigh while leading his regiment. As soon as it was practicable, the Colonel returned to Syracuse to complete the recovery from his wound. While recovering from his wound, he received a dispatch from the War Department, dated August 9, 1861, indicating he had been promoted to the rank of Brigadier General.
Upon his return to the Army, Brigadier General Slocum assumed command of the Second Brigade, Second Division, of the First Corps. This regiment contained his former command, 27th New York, in addition to the 16th New York, Fifth Maine, and the Ninth Pennsylvania regiments. During General McClellanís reorganization of the Army while at White House Landing in Virginia in 1862, Brigadier General Slocum was given command of a division in the newly formed Sixth Corps under Major General Franklin. In July of 1862, Brigadier General Slocum became Major General Slocum.
After the battle at Antietam and the death of General Mansfield at that battle, General Slocum was given command of the Twelfth Corps. General Slocum would lead the corps for approximately 18 months, when in April of 1864 it is combined with the 11th Corps and designated the 20th Corps and moved to the western theater of operations. The General is also sent to the western theater and assumes command of the District of Vicksburg on April 12, 1864. Following the untimely death of General James McPherson on July 22, 1864, General Slocum is assigned to command the Twentieth Corps on the 30th of that month. He reported to General Sherman on August 26, 1864 and assumed command of the corps.
Special Field Orders Numbers 119 and 120 having been issued, General Slocum announced on November 11, 1864 his assumption of command of the Left Wing, Army of Georgia comprising of the XIV and XX army corps. He would remain with the command until the end of hostilities.
Major General Henry Slocum would command troops in many of the campaigns in the eastern theater from Antietam through the Gettysburg campaign. At Gettysburg his 12th Corps would face the longest hours of fighting in that battle and hold the right flank of the Union Army defeating numerous rebel attempts to dislodge them from their position. In the western theater, General Slocumís troops are the first to enter the city of Atlanta, Georgia on Shermanís famous march to the sea. At Bentonville, NC, the last full-scale action of the American Civil War, saw the Confederate forces defeated at the hands of Slocumís fighting men and the rest of Shermanís army. As a source of pride for the General, no pieces of artillery were captured and retained by the enemy during the entire length of the conflict.
Post war: Lawyer, President of Brooklyn Transportation Line, member of Congress, Commissioner of Public Works in New York City, Commissioner of the Brooklyn Bridge, Gettysburg Battlefield Memorial Commission