Virtual Museum of Art | Virtual Museum of History | Virtual Public Library | Virtual Science Center | Virtual Museum of Natural History | Virtual War Museum
   You are in: Museum of History >> Hall of North and South Americans >> Henry Wager Halleck





American’s Four United Republics: Discovery-Based Curriculum

For more information go to Historic.us

 

Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century biographies contain errors and bias. We rely on volunteers to edit the historic biographies on a continual basis. If you would like to edit this biography please submit a rewritten biography in text form . If acceptable, the new biography will be published above the 19th Century Appleton's Cyclopedia Biography citing the volunteer editor





Virtual American Biographies

Over 30,000 personalities with thousands of 19th Century illustrations, signatures, and exceptional life stories. Virtualology.com welcomes editing and additions to the biographies. To become this site's editor or a contributor Click Here or e-mail Virtualology here.



A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

 



Henry Wager Halleck

HALLECK, Henry Wager, soldier, born in Westernville, Oneida County, New York, 16 January, 1815; died in Louisville, Kentucky, 9 January, 1872. He received a common school education at Hudson academy, New York, passed through a part of the course at Union, and was graduated at the United States military academy in 1839, standing third in a class of thirty-one. Among his classmates were General James B. Ricketts, General Edward O. C. Ord, and General Edward R. S. Canby. He was made a 2d lieutenant of engineers in 1839. In 1845 he was on a tour of examination of public works in Europe, and during his absence was promoted to a 1st lieutenancy. On his return to the United States, the committee of the Lowell institute, Boston. Mass., attracted by Halleck's able report on "Coast Defense" (published by congress), invited him to deliver twelve lectures on the science of war. These he published in a volume, with an introductory chapter on the justifiableness of war, under the title of "Elements of Military Art and Science" (New York, 1846; 2d ed., with the addition of much valuable matter, including notes on the Mexican and Crimean wars, 1861). This popular compendium, then the best in our language, was much used by students of the military profession, and during the civil war became a manual for officers of the army, particularly for vohm-teers. At the beginning of the Mexican war Lieutenant Halleck was detailed as engineer for military operations on the Pacific coast, and sailed with Captain Tompkins's artillery command in the transport "Lexington," which, after a seven-months' voyage around Cape Horn, reached her destination at Monterey, California During this long and tedious passage he undertook a translation from the French of Baron Jomini's "Vie politique et militaire de Napoleon," which, with the aid of a friend, he revised and published with an atlas (4 vols., 8vo, New York, 1864). After partially fortifying Monterey as a port of refuge for our Pacific fleet and a base for incursions into California, Lieutenant Halleck took an active part in affairs both civil and military. As secretary of state under the military governments of General Richard B. Mason and General James W. Riley, he displayed great energy and high administrative qualities. As a military engineer he accompanied several expeditions, particularly that of Colonel Burton, into Lower California, and participated in several actions. Besides his engineer duties, he performed those of aide-de-camp to Commander Shubrick during the naval and military operations on the Pacific coast, including the capture of Mazatlan, of which for a time Halleck was lieutenant-governor. For these services he was brevetted captain, to date from 1 May, 1847. After the termination of hostilities and the acquisition of California by the United States, a substantial government became necessary. General Riley, in military command of the territory, called a convention to meet at Monterey, 1 September, 1849, to frame a state constitution. This convention, after six weeks' consideration, agreed upon a constitution, which was adopted by the people; and by act of congress, 9 September, 1850, California was admitted to the Union. In all of these transactions Halleck was the central figure, on whose brow "deliberation sat and public care." As the real head of Riley's military government, he initiated the movement of state organization, pressed it with vigor, and was a member of the committee that drafted the constitution, of which instrument he was substantially the author. He remained as aide-de-camp on the staff of General Riley, and from 21 December, 1852, was inspector and engineer of lighthouses, and from 11 April, 1853, a member of the board of engineers for fortifications on the Pacific coast, being promoted captain of engineers, 1 July, 1853. All these places he held till his resignation from the military service, 1 August, 1854. After leaving the army, Halleck devoted himself to the practice of law in a firm of which for some time he had been a member, and continued as director-general of the New Ahnaden quicksilver mine, an office he had held since 1850. Notwithstanding all these duties, he found time for study and to prepare several works, including "A Collection of Mining Laws of Spain and Mexico" (1859); a translation of "De Fooz on the Law of Mines, with Introductory Remarks" (1860); and a treatise on "International Law, or Rules regulating the Intercourse of States in Peace and War" (1861). The last-named work he subsequently condensed to adapt it for the use of schools and colleges (Philadelphia, 1866). He was also, in 1855, president of the Pacific and Atlantic railroad from San Francisco to San Jose, California, and major-general of California militia in 1860-'1. Union college gave him the degree of A. M. in 1843, and that of LL.D. in 1862. In 1848 he was appointed professor of engineering in the Lawrence scientific school of Harvard university, but declined the honor. At the beginning of the civil war he was at the head of the most prominent law firm in San Francisco, with large interests and much valuable property in California, and living in affluence; but he at once tendered his services in defence of the Union. General Winfield Scott, knowing his worth, immediately and strongly urged upon President Lincoln his being commissioned with the highest grade in the regular army, and accordingly he was appointed a major-general, to date from 19 August, 1861. He went without delay to Washington, was ordered to St. Louis, and on 18 November, 18611, took command of the Department of the Missouri, embracing the states of Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Arkansas, and western Kentucky. Around him was a chaos of insubordination, inefficiency, and peculation, requiring the prompt, energetic, and ceaseless exercise of his iron will, military knowledge, and administrative powers. The scattered forces of his command were a medley of almost every nationality. Missouri and Kentucky were practically but a border screen to cover the operations of the seceding south; and even his headquarters at St. Louis, fortified at exorbitant cost and in violation of all true engineering principles, neither protected the city from insurrection within nor from besiegers without. Hardly had Halleck assumed command when he began to crush out abuses. Fraudulent contracts were annulled; useless stipendiaries were dismissed; a colossal staff hierarchy, with more titles than brains, was disbanded; composite organizations were pruned to simple uniformity; the construction of fantastic fortifications was suspended; and in a few weeks order reigned in Missouri. With like vigor he dealt blow after blow upon all who, under the mask of citizens, abetted secession. But while from headquarters thus energetically dealing with the secessionists at home, he did not neglect those in arms, over whom, by his admirable strategic combinations, he quickly secured success after success, till, in less than six weeks, a clean sweep had been made of the entire country between the Missouri and Osage rivers; and General Sterling Price, cut off from all supplies and recruits from northern Missouri, to which he had been moving, was in full retreat for Arkansas. Halleck now turned his attention to the opening of the Mississippi river. General Scott had intended unbarring it by a flotilla and an army descending it in force; but Halleck was satisfied that this plan would only scotch the serpent of secession, he held that the Confederacy must be rent in twain by an armed wedge driven in between this great stream and the mountains on the east. On 27 January, 1862, the president had ordered a general advance of all the land and naval forces of the United States to be made simultaneously against the insurgents on the 22d of the coming month. In anticipation of his part of the grand movement, early in February Halleck sent his chief of staff to Cairo to direct in his name, when necessary, all operations auxiliary to the armies about to take the field on the Mississippi, Tennessee, and Cumberland rivers, which their respective commanders soon set in motion. The Confederate first line of defence was screened behind Kentucky's quasi neutrality, with its flanks strongly protected by the fortifications of Columbus and Bowling Green; but its centre was only feebly secured by Forts Henry and Donelson. The second line of defence followed the railroad from Memphis on the Mississippi to Chattanooga--a most important position in the mountains, threatening both South Carolina and Virginia by its railroad connections with Charleston and Richmond. Still a third line, with almost continuous communication by rail, extended from Vicksburg through Meridian, Selma, and Montgomery to Atlanta, with railroad branches reaching to the principal ports on the Gulf and the South Atlantic. In a little more than three months of Halleck's sway in the west, General Ulysses S. Grant, aided by Commander Andrew H. Foote's gunboats, captured Forts Henry and Donelson; the strategically turned flanks of the enemy's line, protected by the powerful works of Bowling Green and Columbus, were deserted; and Nashville, the objective of the campaign, was in the possession of the National forces. In the mean time General Samuel R. Curtis had been sent to drive the Confederates out of Missouri, and early in March gained the decisive battle of Pea Ridge, in Arkansas, the enemy flying before him to the protection of White river, and General John Pope, despatched to New Madrid, after taking that place, confronted the fugitives from Columbus at, Island No. 10, which, by the happy device of Hamilton's cut-off canal, was taken in reverse, and this strong barrier of the Mississippi removed by the joint action of the army and navy. By these operations the Confederate first line, from Kansas to the Alleghany mountains, being swept away, and the strongholds captured or evacuated, the National forces moved triumphantly southward, pressing back the insurgents to their second line of defence, which extended from Memphis to Chattanooga. On 11 March, 1862, to give greater unity to military operations in the west, the departments of Kansas and Ohio were merged into Halleck's command, the whole constituting the Department of the Mississippi, which included the vast territory between the Alleghany and Rocky mountains. General Don Carlos Buell, marching from Nashville, was directed, on the withdrawal of the enemy from Murfreesborg, to unite with General Grant, proceeding to Pittsburg Landing by the Tennessee, and their union secured the great victory of Shiloh. Then Halleck took the field, and, after reorganizing and recruiting his forces, moved on Corinth. where the enemy was strongly intrenched on the important strategic position at the junction of the railroads connecting the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi river with the Atlantic ocean. By striking a vigorous blow here on the enemy's left centre, Halleck proposed to repeat the strategy that had so admirably accomplished its purpose against the Confederate first line; but success was indispensable, and hence he made every step of his progress so secure that no disaster should entail the loss of what he had already gained. With the National army much shattered by the rude shock of Shiloh, he cautiously advanced upon his objective point through a hostile, rough, marshy, and densely wooded region, where all the roads and bridges were destroyed, and rain fell in torrents. On 30 May he was in possession of Corinth's fifteen miles of heavy intrenchments, strengthened by powerful batteries or redoubts at every assailable point, the whole being covered to the boggy stream in front by a dense abatis, through which no artillery or cavalry, nor even infantry skirmishers, could have passed under fire. When Halleck communicated this success to the war department, the secretary replied: "Your glorious despatch has just been received, and I have sent it into every state. The whole land will soon ring with applause at the achievement of your gallant army and its able and victorious commander." Immediately General Pope was sent in hot pursuit of the retreating enemy; soon afterward General Buell was despatched toward Chattanooga to restore the railroad connections; General Sherman was put in march for Memphis, but the navy had captured the place when he reached Grand Junction; without delay, batteries were constructed on the southern approaches of the place to guard against a sudden return of the enemy; and, with prodigious energy, the destroyed railroad to Columbus was rebuilt to maintain communications with the Mississippi and Ohio, in jeopardy by the sudden fall of the Tennessee, by which supplies had been received. It was now more than six months since Halleck assumed command at St. Louis, and from within the limits of his department the enemy had been driven from Missouri, the northern half of Arkansas, Kentucky, and most of Tennessee, while strong lodgments were made in Mississippi and Alabama. Sec. Stanton, always chary of praise, had said that Halleck's "energy and ability received the strongest commendations of the war department," and added, " You have my perfect confidence, and you may rely upon my utmost support in your undertakings." Such, in fact, was the very high appreciation of Halleck's merits by both the president and the secretary of war that during the general's occupation of Corinth, while he was organizing for new movements against the enemy's third line of defence, two assistant secretaries of war and a senator were sent there to urge upon Halleck the acceptance of the post of general-in-chief; but he declined the honor, and did not go to Washington till positive orders compelled him to do so. Reluctantly leaving Corinth, to which he hoped to return and enter upon the great work of opening the Mississippi and crushing the Confederacy in the southwest, Halleck reached Washington, 23 July, 1862, and at once assumed command as general-in-chief of all the armies of the United States. The first problem presented was, how safely to unite the two eastern armies in the field so as to cover the capital and make common head against the enemy, then interposed between them and ready to be thrown at will on either, and able generals held different opinions as to the best measures to be adopted to accomplish the desired end. The general-in-chief entered upon the duties of his high office with heart and soul devoted to the preservation of the Union. Often compelled to assume responsibilities that belonged to others, constantly having to thwart the purposes of selfish schemers, and always constrained to be reticent upon public affairs, which many desired to have divulged, Halleck, like all men in high station in times of trial, became a target for the shafts of the envious, the disloyal, and the disappointed. Doubtless, with scant time for the most mature reflection, he made errors; but, says Turenne, the great marshal of an age of warriors, "show me the commander who has never made mistakes, and you will show me one who has never made war." Congress, in recognition of Geno Grant's glorious campaigns of Vicksburg and Chattanooga, revived the grade of lieutenant-general. Though a desire was manifested in high places in some way to retain Halleck in the performance of his functions he at once insisted that compliance should be made with the obvious intentions of the law, and that, being senior in rank, Grant must necessarily be the general-in-chief, Halleck, however, remained at Washington from 12 March, 1864, till 19 April, 1865, as chief-of-staff of the army, under the orders of the secretary of war and the general-in-chief, performing much of the same duties that had before devolved upon him; and from 22 April till 1 July, 1865, was in command of the military division of the James, with headquarters at Richmond. On the termination of hostilities, and the disbandment of the volunteer forces, Halleck was ordered to the military division of the Pacific, of which he took command 30 August, 1865, and on 16 March, 1869, was transferred to that of the south, which he retained while he lived. Since his death, when he can no longer defend himself, much unjust criticism has assailed his reputation. The chief charge was "Halleck's injustice to Grant," which General James B. Fry, by a forcible article in the "Magazine of American History," has proved to be nothing more than "misunderstandings" between these distinguished soldiers. A more serious charge, almost of treason, was made by General Lew Wallace, but has been triumphantly refuted by official documents. Halleck, with few advantages in early life, and hardly the rudiments of a classical education, overcame all obstacles by the power of mind and character. He took at once a prominent place at the United States military academy, was a conspicuous officer of engineers, became a youthful statesman in the creation of a state, rose to the direction of various public trusts, established an enviable reputation for authorship, and held command of great armies in the tremendous struggle for a nation's existence.

Edited Appletons Encyclopedia, Copyright © 2001 VirtualologyTM

Start your search on Henry Wager Halleck.


 

 


 


Unauthorized Site: This site and its contents are not affiliated, connected, associated with or authorized by the individual, family, friends, or trademarked entities utilizing any part or the subject's entire name. Any official or affiliated sites that are related to this subject will be hyper linked below upon submission and Evisum, Inc. review.

Copyright© 2000 by Evisum Inc.TM. All rights reserved.
Evisum Inc.TM Privacy Policy

Search:

About Us

 

 

Image Use

Please join us in our mission to incorporate America's Four United Republics discovery-based curriculum into the classroom of every primary and secondary school in the United States of America by July 2, 2026, the nation’s 250th birthday. , the United States of America: We The People Click Here

 

Childhood & Family

Click Here

 

Historic Documents

Articles of Association

Articles of Confederation 1775

Articles of Confederation

Article the First

Coin Act

Declaration of Independence

Declaration of Independence

Emancipation Proclamation

Gettysburg Address

Monroe Doctrine

Northwest Ordinance

No Taxation Without Representation

Thanksgiving Proclamations

Mayflower Compact

Treaty of Paris 1763

Treaty of Paris 1783

Treaty of Versailles

United Nations Charter

United States In Congress Assembled

US Bill of Rights

United States Constitution

US Continental Congress

US Constitution of 1777

US Constitution of 1787

Virginia Declaration of Rights

 

Historic Events

Battle of New Orleans

Battle of Yorktown

Cabinet Room

Civil Rights Movement

Federalist Papers

Fort Duquesne

Fort Necessity

Fort Pitt

French and Indian War

Jumonville Glen

Manhattan Project

Stamp Act Congress

Underground Railroad

US Hospitality

US Presidency

Vietnam War

War of 1812

West Virginia Statehood

Woman Suffrage

World War I

World War II

 

Is it Real?



Declaration of
Independence

Digital Authentication
Click Here

 

America’s Four Republics
The More or Less United States

 
Continental Congress
U.C. Presidents

Peyton Randolph

Henry Middleton

Peyton Randolph

John Hancock

  

Continental Congress
U.S. Presidents

John Hancock

Henry Laurens

John Jay

Samuel Huntington

  

Constitution of 1777
U.S. Presidents

Samuel Huntington

Samuel Johnston
Elected but declined the office

Thomas McKean

John Hanson

Elias Boudinot

Thomas Mifflin

Richard Henry Lee

John Hancock
[
Chairman David Ramsay]

Nathaniel Gorham

Arthur St. Clair

Cyrus Griffin

  

Constitution of 1787
U.S. Presidents

George Washington 

John Adams
Federalist Party


Thomas Jefferson
Republican* Party

James Madison 
Republican* Party

James Monroe
Republican* Party

John Quincy Adams
Republican* Party
Whig Party

Andrew Jackson
Republican* Party
Democratic Party


Martin Van Buren
Democratic Party

William H. Harrison
Whig Party

John Tyler
Whig Party

James K. Polk
Democratic Party

David Atchison**
Democratic Party

Zachary Taylor
Whig Party

Millard Fillmore
Whig Party

Franklin Pierce
Democratic Party

James Buchanan
Democratic Party


Abraham Lincoln 
Republican Party

Jefferson Davis***
Democratic Party

Andrew Johnson
Republican Party

Ulysses S. Grant 
Republican Party

Rutherford B. Hayes
Republican Party

James A. Garfield
Republican Party

Chester Arthur 
Republican Party

Grover Cleveland
Democratic Party

Benjamin Harrison
Republican Party

Grover Cleveland 
Democratic Party

William McKinley
Republican Party

Theodore Roosevelt
Republican Party

William H. Taft 
Republican Party

Woodrow Wilson
Democratic Party

Warren G. Harding 
Republican Party

Calvin Coolidge
Republican Party

Herbert C. Hoover
Republican Party

Franklin D. Roosevelt
Democratic Party

Harry S. Truman
Democratic Party

Dwight D. Eisenhower
Republican Party

John F. Kennedy
Democratic Party

Lyndon B. Johnson 
Democratic Party 

Richard M. Nixon 
Republican Party

Gerald R. Ford 
Republican Party

James Earl Carter, Jr. 
Democratic Party

Ronald Wilson Reagan 
Republican Party

George H. W. Bush
Republican Party 

William Jefferson Clinton
Democratic Party

George W. Bush 
Republican Party

Barack H. Obama
Democratic Party

Please Visit

Forgotten Founders
Norwich, CT

Annapolis Continental
Congress Society


U.S. Presidency
& Hospitality

© Stan Klos

 

 

 

 


Virtual Museum of Art | Virtual Museum of History | Virtual Public Library | Virtual Science Center | Virtual Museum of Natural History | Virtual War Museum