Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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HAYS, Alexander, soldier, born in Franklin, Venango County, Pennsylvania, 8 July, 1819; killed in the battle of the Wilderness, 5 May, 1864. He was graduated at the United States military academy in 1844 with Winfield S. Ihmcock and Alfred Pleasonton. As 2d lieutenant of the 8th infantry, he entered on the Mexican campaign, trod won special distinction in the engagement near Atlixco. In April, 1848, he resigned his commission in the army, and settled in Venango county, Pennsylvania, where he engaged in the manufacture of iron in 1848-'50, was assistant engineer on railroads in 1850-'4, and from 1854 till 1861 was a civil engineer in Pittsburg. When the war began in 1861, Hays re-entered the service as colonel of the 63d Pennsylvania regiment, and with the rank of captain in the 16th regular infantry, to date from 14 May, 1861. in the peninsula he was attached with his regiment to the first brigade of Kearny's division of Heintzelman's corps, and at the close of the seven days' contest he was brevetted lieutenant-colonel. He took part in the Maryland campaign, and was appointed brigadier-general of volunteers, 29 September, 1862. He was wounded at Chancellorsville while at the head of his brigade. He commanded the 3d division of his corps at the battle of Gettysburg, and, after Hancock was wounded, was temporarily in command, gaining the brevet of colonel in the United States army. He was engaged at Auburn and Mine Run. When the Army of the Potomac was reorganized, Hays was placed in command of the second brigade of Birney's 3d division of the 2d corps. In this capacity he fought, and gallantly met his death during the terrible struggle toward the junction of the Plank and Brock roads, which was the feature of the first day's fighting in the Wilderness. General Hays was frank and brave, quick and full of energy, and was a great favorite with his men.
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