GEN. HENRY HARNDEN


From History of Dane County, Wisconsin, publ. by Western Historical Company, Chicago, 1880, page 995-996

GEN. HENRY HARNDEN, the son of Jonathan and Rhoda HARNDEN, was born March 4, 1823, at Wilmington, Mass.; his ancestor, Benjamin HARNDEN,settled in Providence, R. I., in 1645; removed to Lynn, Mass., in 1647. Ricahrd HARNDEN, who was probably a son of Benjamin, settled in Reading, Mass., in 1666; he had three sons - one, Benjamin, was born in Reading in 1667, who had three sons - one, Benjamin, born in 1697, who had four sons - one, named Benjamin, born in 1740, in Willington, Mass. (this being a town set off from Reading in 1729), who had seven sons - one, Jonathan, born in 1786, who was father of Gen. Henry HARNDEN, subject of this sketch; receiving a common-school education at the age of 18 years, he sailed on a voyage and visited the coast of Africa; also doubled Cape Horn and visited many of the islands of the Pacific Ocean, as also the entire west coast of South America, returning after an absence of five years, returned to his father in Wilmington afterward made several voyages; was in Mexico during the first part of the Mexican war, and assisted in bringing back the wounded of the battle of Palo Alto to New Orleans; his health failing, he returned home and engaged in clerking at Lowell; in the spring of 1850, he went overland to California and engaged in gold mining, returning from there in a short time; in 1852, he removed to the town of Sullivan, Jefferson Co., Wis.; lumbering; he owned and operated a steam saw-mill. At the commencement of the war he called his work hands together and told them the mill must stop, and that he should enlist and advised them all to do the same, which they did to a man; enlisting in the 1st W.V.C., as a private July 15, 1861; promoted Sergeant Co. D, Jan. 1, 1862; then Captain of Co. L, May 24, 1862, which rank he held when the regiment went to Benton Barracks, St. Louis, Mo., where they were first sent; then, in May 1862, to Cape Giradean, Mo.; they shortly afterward pushed into the interior to Helena, Ark., where the regiment was so reduced by sickness and death that at one time there were only five officers and sixty men who were able to do duty. Capt. HARNDEN being one, and in command, was promoted Major, Jan 6. 1865, then in grades from third to first major, and Lieutenant Colonel March 13, 1865, all further promotion being prevented by the Colonel being in a Rebel prison, but was in command of the regiment up to the close of the war; his services were acknowledged by being brevetted Colonel and Brigadier General March 15, 1865; participated in the following battles and skirmishes: Swamp fight near Bloomfield, Mo.; Chalk Bluff, Ark. (1862); Oak Ridge, Ark.; Black Mingo, Mo., near Greenville; Chalk Bluff (1863) and Scattrerville, Ark.; Cape Girardeau, Mo.; the charge at Huntsville, Ala.; at Ostanula Bridge and Dirt Town, Ga.; Chickamauga; crossing the Tennessee River under artillery fire about Chattanooga; at Sequatchie Valley, Tenn.; pursuit of Wheeler's rebel cavalry; night fight with Rhody's men in Tennessee; at Mossy Creek and New Market, East Tennessee; night march and skirmish in Ocoe Valley, N.C.; at Spring Place and Vorndis Station, Ga.; at Buzzard's Roost; reconnaissance on to east end of Buzzard's Roost; at Resaca and Cassville, Ga.; in cavalry charge near Dallas, Ga., where his horse was killed and he was shot in shoulder and right arm broken; in fight with guerrillas near Calhoun, Ga.; at battle Russellville, Ky.; in fight at Duck River bridge, Tennessee, when bridge broke and let part of regiment into the river, was carried down the stream two miles before being rescued, horse was drowned; was at Montevallo, Cahaba Bridge and Scatterville, Ala.; in fight between Selma and Montgomery, Ala., and between Montgomery and Tuscaloosa; at storming and capture of Ft. Tyler, West Point, Ga., where he as wounded by rifle ball. In May 1865, he was selected by Gen. Wilson to take a detachment from the 1st W.V.C. and cross the country towards Savannah and head off Jeff Davis, who was reported to be making his way South through South Carolina into Georgia. This duty was so well performed that it resulted in the capture of the rebel chief at a place called Irwinville, in the southern part of Georgia. At the capture of Davis an unfortunate affair happened which was afterward the cause of some controversy between Gen. HARNDEN and the Lieutenant Colonel of a Michigan cavalry regiment, but was finally settled by Congress, after a full investigation, dividing the reward given for Davis equally between the two parties, and exonerating Gen. HARNDEN from all blame in the collision of the two regiments, in which two men of the Michigan regiment were killed and several wounded, also the wounding of several of the Wisconsin men. On July 10, 1865, at Edgefield, Tenn., his horse fell and rolled over him, breaking his leg; was mustered out at Edgefield, July 19,1865; while in command of the 2d Brigade of the 1st Division, Cavalry of the West; after his return to his home in Wisconsin, he was immediately elected to the assembly from the third district of Jefferson Co.; in the Legislature of 1866, he was Chairman of committee on military affairs; in the spring of 1867, he was appointed by Gov. Fairchild, one of the Trustees of the Soldier's Orphan Home; was appointed United States Collector of Internal Revenue May 20, 1873, which office he still holds. Married in December, 1848, Mary A., daughter of John LIGHTNER, of Roxbury, Mass., by whom he has four children. The General's forefathers were Revolutionary soldiers.


Transcribed and contributed to this site by Carol

 

 

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