A Civil War Biography
Henry Warner Birge
Birge was born 25 August 1825 in Hartford Connecticut. At the
beginning of the Civil War Birge, who had worked as a merchant, was
on the staff of Connecticut governor William A. Buckingham. Birge
resigned from the governor's staff to form the 4th Connecticut, what
would be the first three year regiment formed from the state.
Joseph R. Hawley, a founder of the Connecticut Republican party and
a future governor, is usually credited with being the first person
from Connecticut to enlist to serve the Union and with forming the
first regiment, a three month regiment, the 1st Connecticut.
Birge was appointed a major in the 4th CT on 23 May 1861. He would
resign from the 4th CT on 13 November 1861 to form a new regiment,
the 13th CT, of which he became colonel on 18 February 1862. The
13th was sent to the Department of the Gulf and took part in the
capture of New Orleans. Birge commanded the 3rd Brigade of the 4th
Division in the XIX Corps at Port Hudson. He was promoted to
brigadier general of volunteers on 19 September 1863 and commanded
the 2nd Brigade of the 2nd Division in the XIX Corps during the Red
River campaign. Birge, along with most of the XIX Corps was sent to
the Shenandoah Valley. Birge saw action at 3ed Winchester, Fisher's
Hill, and Cedar Creek. He was then sent to the Southern coast and
commanded a brigade that garrisoned Savannah, Georgia. He commanded
the 1st Brigade of Grover's Division in the final stages of the
Carolina campaign. Birge was brevetted major general of volunteers
on 25 February 1865.
He resigned from the army on 18 October 1865 and remained in the
South engaged in several businesses before retiring to New York. He
was voted the thanks of the Connecticut legislature from his service
during the war. Birge died 1 June 1888 in New York City.
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