|Born||October 23, 1837
|Died||January 10, 1897
|Buried at||Christ Church (Sears Memorial Chapel)
|Allegiance|| United States of America
|Service/branch||United States Army
|Years of service||1861 – 1865|
|Battles/wars||American Civil War|
|Awards||Brevet Brigadier General|
Early life and education
Caspar Crowninshield was born into one of Boston's elite families. The Crowninshields were known for their wealth and success in shipbuilding and maritime trade. Members of the family also held significant political positions. Caspar's grandfather, Benjamin Crowninshield had served as Secretary of the Navy under Presidents James Madison and James Monroe.
Crowninshield entered Harvard College in 1856. His roommate was Robert Gould Shaw who would go on to be the colonel of the famed 54th Massachusetts Infantry—the first African-American infantry regiment. After graduating in 1860, Crowninshield spent a short time employed in the family mercantile business. The start of the Civil War interrupted his business career as Crowninshield sought out an officer's commission.
Civil War service
Crowninshield started the war as a private in the 4th Battalion of Massachusetts Militia. He became captain of the 20th Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry on August 18, 1861. He transferred to the 1st Massachusetts Volunteer Cavalry as a captain on November 28, 1861. He was promoted to major of the 2nd Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteer Cavalry on January 31, 1863 and became lieutenant colonel on March 18, 1864. He was promoted to colonel of the regiment on November 18, 1864. He was intermittently commander of the Reserve Brigade of Division 1 of the Cavalry Corps of the Army of the Shenandoah between October 19, 1864 and February 10, 1865 when Colonel, and in December, Brigadier General, Alfred Gibbs was in command of Brigade 2 or for brief periods, in command of the division. Crowninshield temporarily commanded the division for five days at the end of January 1865. Crowninshield was mustered out of the volunteers on June 16, 1865. On February 21, 1866, President Andrew Johnson nominated Crowninshield for the award of the honorary grade of brevet brigadier general to rank from March 13, 1865. The United States Senate confirmed the award on April 10, 1866.
Crowninshield was described as a "gentleman of leisure" after the war. He died on January 10, 1897 at Boston, Massachusetts. He was buried in Christ Church (Sears Memorial Chapel) Brookline, Massachusetts.
- Parson, 48.
- Eicher, John H., and David J. Eicher, Civil War High Commands. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2001. ISBN 0-8047-3641-3. p. 193
- Eicher, 2001, p. 743
- Hunt, Roger D. and Jack R. Brown, Brevet Brigadier Generals in Blue. Gaithersburg, MD: Olde Soldier Books, Inc., 1990. ISBN 1-56013-002-4. p. 138
- Bowen, James L. (1889). Massachusetts in the War, 1861–1865. Springfield, Massachusetts: Clark W. Bryan & Co. OCLC 1986476.
- Eicher, David J.; Eicher, John H. (2001). Civil War High Commands. Stanford: Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-3641-3.
- Hunt, Roger D. and Jack R. Brown, Brevet Brigadier Generals in Blue. Gaithersburg, MD: Olde Soldier Books, Inc., 1990. ISBN 1-56013-002-4.
- Parson, Thomas E. (2001). Bear Flag and Bay State in the Civil War: The Californians of the Second Massachusetts Cavalry. MacFarland & Co. Publishers. ISBN 0-7864-1122-8.