Elias Briggs Baldwin

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Elias Briggs Baldwin (June 17, 1834 – Mar 26, 1921) was a Union Army lieutenant colonel, later Provost Marshal, and pioneer of Labette County, Kansas. He is best remembered for his part in the Huntsville Massacre that occurred on January 10, 1863, near Huntsville, Arkansas.

Biography[edit]

Baldwin was born in Dutchess County, New York, and raised on the family farm there. He attended high school in Red Creek, New York, and later taught school in both Rhode Island and Connecticut. On April 13, 1861, he joined the Union Army along with his four brothers, one of whom would be killed in action at the Battle of Resaca. He was initially elected as captain for Company C, 36th Regiment, Illinois Volunteer Infantry. The regiment was dispatched to Missouri, and in February 1862 he was made quartermaster. In August of that same year he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, over the 8th Regiment Missouri Volunteer Cavalry.

While serving under the command of Union General Francis Herron, in Huntsville, Arkansas, Baldwin had nine local men executed on January 10, 1863, for reasons that still today are unknown. This became known as the "Huntsville Massacre". Baldwin was later arrested for this event, and charged with "violation of the 6th Article of War for the murder of prisoners of war." He was transported to Springfield, Missouri and held for trial. However, when many of the witnesses were found to be on active duty and unable to attend the trial, and many local civilian witnesses had been displaced or were otherwise unable to make the trip to Springfield, the charges against Baldwin were dropped, and he was dismissed from the army. By 1870 he was residing in Labette County, Kansas. He died in Oswego, Kansas on March 26, 1921.

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