Henry Eugene Davies

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For other people of the same name, see Henry Davies.
Henry Eugene Davies
Henry Eugene Davies.jpg
Born (1836-07-02)July 2, 1836
New York City, New York
Died September 7, 1894(1894-09-07) (aged 58)
Middleboro, Massachusetts
Place of burial St. Luke's Churchyard in Beacon, New York
Allegiance United States United States of America
Union
Service/branch United States Union Army
Years of service 1861–1866
Rank Union army maj gen rank insignia.jpg Major General
Battles/wars American Civil War

Henry Eugene Davies (July 2, 1836 – September 7, 1894) was an American soldier, writer, public official and lawyer. He served in the Union Army as a brigadier general of volunteers in cavalry service during the American Civil War ("Civil War") and was promoted to the grade of major general of volunteers at the end of the war. Davies was one of the few nonprofessional soldiers in the Union cavalry in the East to be promoted to the grade of general. He led his brigade in several major battles, especially during the Overland Campaign, the Battle of Trevilian Station, the Siege of Petersburg and the Appomattox Campaign at the end of the war.

Early life[edit]

Henry Eugene Davies was born in New York City, the eldest son of Judge Henry E. Davies.[1] He was educated at Harvard, Williams, and Columbia colleges, and was admitted to the bar in 1857. On August 10, 1858, he married Julia Rich, daughter of John T. Rich and Julia Van Voorhies, at Fishkill-on-Hudson, New York. They had one son, Henry Eugene.[2] Henry Davies was the nephew of Union Army Brigadier General and Brevet Major General Thomas Alfred Davies.[3]

Civil War service[edit]

At the outbreak of the Civil War, Henry E. Davies became a captain of the 5th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment and fought in one of the first battles of the war, the Battle of Big Bethel, Virginia on June 10, 1861.[3] In August 1861, Davies was appointed major of the 2nd New York Volunteer Cavalry Regiment.[3] The regiment was attached to Major General Irvin McDowell's corps on the Rappahannock River line during the Peninsula Campaign.[3] The regiment was heavily engaged in the campaign of Second Manassas.[3] Davies was promoted to lieutenant colonel in December 1862 and to colonel in June 1863.[3] In June 1863, the 2d New York Cavalry suffered heavy casualties at Beverly's Ford, Virginia during the Battle of Brandy Station on June 9, 1863 and at the Battle of Aldie, Virginia on June 17, 1863.[3] The regiment was stationed at the Union Army supply base at Westminster, Maryland during the Battle of Gettysburg.[3]

Davies was appointed brigadier general of volunteers on September 16, 1863, although his appointment was not confirmed by the United States Senate until April 1, 1864.[4] He served with distinction in the Cavalry Corps, Army of the Potomac in brigade and three brief periods of temporary division command[5] until the end of the war. Davies was one of the few nonprofessional soldiers in the Union cavalry in the Eastern theater of the Civil War to be promoted to the grade of general.[6]

Davies's brigade initially was the 1st Brigade of the 3rd Cavalry Division of the Army of the Potomac. In late 1863, the brigade participated in the inconclusive Bristoe Campaign.[7] Before the Overland Campaign, it became the 1st Brigade of the 2d Cavalry Division of the Army of the Potomac, commanded until early February 1865 by Brigadier General and later Brevet Major General David McMurtrie Gregg. The brigade included the 1st New Jersey Volunteer Cavalry, the 10th New York Volunteer Cavalry, the 24th New York Volunteer Cavalry, five companies of the 1st Pennsylvania Volunteer Cavalry and Battery A of the 2d United States Artillery.[8]

During the Overland Campaign, Davies's brigade participated in cavalry corps commander, Major General Philip Sheridan's May 1864 raids toward Richmond, Virginia and in the Battle of Trevilian Station in June 1864.[3] At the Battle of Haw's Shop on May 28, 1864, Davies's saber was cut in half by a Minié ball and his horse's tail was shot off.[9]

The brigade was involved in several engagements during the siege of Petersburg, including the defense of the Union position along the Vaughan Road against a much larger force during the Battle of Vaughan Road, which was related to the larger Battle of Peebles' Farm. Davies's brigade participated in raids on the Weldon Railroad in December 1864.[10] Davies was wounded during the Battle of Hatcher's Run on February 6, 1865.[11] After Gregg's resignation in early February 1865, the brigade had temporary commanders, including Davies between March 14 and March 27, 1865.[11] On March 8, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln nominated Davies for the award of the grade of brevet major general of volunteers to rank from October 1, 1864 for his role in the Battle of Vaughan Road[12] during the Battle of Peebles' Farm.[13] The U.S. Senate confirmed the award on March 10, 1865.[13]

On March 26, 1865, Major General George Crook was appointed commander of the 2d Cavalry Division of the Army of the Potomac to replace Gregg.[14] Davies's brigade was heavily engaged in cavalry operations, including those during the Battle of Dinwiddie Court House on March 31, 1865, that contributed to the Union breakthrough at Petersburg and the evacuation of Petersburg and Richmond by the Confederates on the night of April 2, 1865. The brigade also was engaged in the Appomattox campaign, including its role as the main Union force in the Battle of Amelia Springs, Virginia in which the brigade, near Paineville, Virginia, destroyed about 200 wagons of a Confederate supply train, captured equipment and animals and took more than 300 and perhaps as many as 1,000 prisoners and several battle flags.[15] The campaign ended with the surrender of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865.[3]

A staff officer of Major General Crook, Major Henry E. Tremain, stated that Davies's men were "as fine a body of cavalry for their size as could be found in the service."[16]

On June 7, 1865, Davies was appointed to the full substantive grade of major general of volunteers to rank from May 4, 1865.[17] The promotion was not confirmed by the U. S. Senate, however, until February 23, 1866.[17] Following the war, Davies stayed in the army briefly, but resigned on January 1, 1866 while commanding the military Middle District of Alabama.[3]

Later life[edit]

General Henry E. Davies subsequently became a prominent New York lawyer and held the public offices of Public Administrator of the City of New York from January 1, 1866 to January 1, 1869 and Assistant District Attorney of the United States for the Southern District of New York from July, 1870 to January 1, 1873. He then returned to the private practice of law.[18] He later moved to Beacon, New York. Davies was the author of Ten Days on the Plains (1871), Davies Memoir (1895 posthumous) and General Sheridan (1895 posthumous), in the "Great Commander Series."[11]

General Davies died suddenly on September 7, 1894 while visiting friends in Middleboro, Massachusetts and was buried in St. Luke's Churchyard in Beacon, New York.[11] He was survived by his wife and son.[18]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ General Davies's name is sometimes, but not always, shown as Henry Eugene Davies, Jr., because he had the same name as his father, Judge Henry Eugene Davies.
  2. ^ Davies, Henry Eugene. Genealogical and Biographical Monograph on the Family and Descendants of John Davies of Litchfield, Connecticut, p. 79. Privately Printed, 1895. OCLC 81121602. Rutland, Vermont: Tuttle Antiquarian Books, Inc., undated, p. 102. OCLC 32568977.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Warner, Ezra J. Generals in Blue: Lives of the Union Commanders, p. 113. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1964. ISBN 0-8071-0822-7.
  4. ^ Eicher, John H., and David J. Eicher, Civil War High Commands, p. 720. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2001. ISBN 0-8047-3641-3.
  5. ^ September 15–25, 1864, December 22, 1864–January 19, 1865 and March 14–27, 1865. Sifakis, Stewart. Who Was Who in the Civil War, p. 169. New York: Facts On File, 1988. ISBN 0-8160-1055-2
  6. ^ Longacre, Edward G. The Cavalry at Appomattox: A Tactical Study of Mounted Operations During the Civil War's Climactic Campaign, March 27 – April 9, 1865, p. 34. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 2003. ISBN 978-0-8117-0051-1.
  7. ^ Sifikas, 1988, p. 169
  8. ^ Longacre, The Cavalry at Appomattox, 2003, p. xiv
  9. ^ Grimsley, Mark. And Keep Moving On: The Virginia Campaign, May–June 1864, p. 151. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2002. ISBN 0-8032-2162-2.
  10. ^ Longacre, Edward G. Lincoln's Cavalrymen: A History of the Mounted Forces of the Army of the Potomac, pp. 321-322. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 2000. ISBN 0-8117-1049-1.
  11. ^ a b c d Eicher, 2001, p. 200
  12. ^ At least one source, Sifikas, p. 169, spells the name as "Vaughn" Road.
  13. ^ a b Eicher, 2001, p. 710
  14. ^ Longacre, The Cavalry at Appomattox, 2003, p. 33
  15. ^ Davis, Burke. To Appomattox: Nine April Days, 1865, p. 232 New York: Eastern Acorn Press reprint, 1981. ISBN 0-915992-17-5 states that Davies took about 1,000 prisoners, five cannons and several hundred thin mules while destroying 180 wagons. This accords with Davies's own brief account of the battle in Davies, Henry Eugene. General Sheridan. New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1895. OCLC 693591497. Retrieved December 27, 2010. pp. 239–240. Eicher, David J. The Longest Night: A Military History of the Civil War, p. 815. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2001. ISBN 0-684-84944-5 says that Davies took 700 prisoners and destroyed 200 wagons, including many of General Lee's headquarters papers. Salmon, John S. The Official Virginia Civil War Battlefield Guide, p. 476 Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 2001. ISBN 0-8117-2868-4 says that Davies took 600 prisoners. Longacre gives figures of 300 in Lincoln's Cavalrymen, 2000, p. 329 but, in accord with Salmon, gives 600 in The Cavalry at Appomattox, 2003, p. 130.
  16. ^ Tremain, Henry Edwin. The Last Hours of Sheridan's Cavalry, p. 124. New York: Bonnell, Silvers and Bowers, 1904. Reprint of 1871–1872 publication. OCLC 4368467 Retrieved December 22, 2010.
  17. ^ a b Eicher, 2001, p. 703
  18. ^ a b Davies, Descendants of John Davies, 1895, p. 80; undated, p. 103

References[edit]

  • Davies, Henry Eugene. Genealogical and Biographical Monograph on the Family and Descendants of John Davies of Litchfield, Connecticut. Privately Printed, 1895. OCLC 81121602. Rutland, Vermont: Tuttle Antiquarian Books, Inc., undated. OCLC 32568977. Retrieved January 28, 2011.
  • Davies, Henry Eugene. General Sheridan. New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1895. OCLC 693591497. Retrieved December 27, 2010.
  • Davis, Burke. To Appomattox: Nine April Days, 1865. New York: Eastern Acorn Press reprint, 1981. ISBN 0-915992-17-5. First published 1959 by Rinehart & Co.
  • Eicher, John H., and David J. Eicher, Civil War High Commands. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2001. ISBN 0-8047-3641-3.
  • Eicher, David J. The Longest Night: A Military History of the Civil War. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2001. ISBN 0-684-84944-5.
  • Grimsley, Mark. And Keep Moving On: The Virginia Campaign, May–June 1864. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2002. ISBN 0-8032-2162-2.
  • Longacre, Edward G. The Cavalry at Appomattox: A Tactical Study of Mounted Operations During the Civil War's Climactic Campaign, March 27 – April 9, 1865. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 2003. ISBN 978-0-8117-0051-1.
  • Longacre, Edward G. Lincoln's Cavalrymen: A History of the Mounted Forces of the Army of the Potomac. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 2000. ISBN 0-8117-1049-1.
  • Salmon, John S. The Official Virginia Civil War Battlefield Guide. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 2001. ISBN 0-8117-2868-4.
  • Sifakis, Stewart. Who Was Who in the Civil War. New York: Facts On File, 1988. ISBN 0-8160-1055-2.
  • Tremain, Henry Edwin. The Last Hours of Sheridan's Cavalry. New York: Bonnell, Silvers and Bowers, 1904. Reprint of 1871–1872 publication. OCLC 4368467 Retrieved December 22, 2010.
  • Warner, Ezra J. Generals in Blue: Lives of the Union Commanders. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1964. ISBN 0-8071-0822-7.

External links[edit]