George H. Sharpe
|George Henry Sharpe|
George Henry Sharpe
|Member of the Board of General Appraisers|
November 16, 1890 – March 1, 1899
|Appointed by||Benjamin Harrison|
|Preceded by||Board created|
|Succeeded by||William Barberie Howell|
February 26, 1828|
Kingston, New York
|Died||January 13, 1900
New York City
|Alma mater||Yale College
George Henry Sharpe (February 26, 1828 – January 13, 1900) was an American lawyer, soldier, secret service officer, diplomat, politician and a Member of the Board of General Appraisers.
Sharpe was born in Kingston, Ulster County, New York. He graduated from Rutgers in 1847, then studied law at Yale College. He was admitted to the bar in 1849 and practiced law at the firm of Bidwell & Strong (now known as Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft). Then he traveled to Europe and served 1851-52 as Secretary of Legation at Vienna. After his return in 1854, he practiced law until he joined the Union Army in 1861 as captain of Company B of the 20th New York State Militia (known as the "Ulster Guard") for three-months service.
Sharpe was appointed colonel of volunteers of the 120th New York Infantry in 1862, and took part in all the battles of the Army of the Potomac. He served on the staffs of Generals Joseph Hooker, George G. Meade, and Ulysses S. Grant, and was appointed brevet brigadier general of volunteers in 1864 and brevet major general of volunteers in 1865.
In January 1863, Sharpe assumed the intelligence role for Hooker that Allan Pinkerton had performed for McClellan. His estimates of enemy troop strength proved to be far more accurate than those of his predecessor.
In April 1865, as head of the Bureau of Military Information and assistant provost marshal, he paroled 28,000 Confederate Army soldiers, among them General Robert E. Lee, after the surrender of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox Court House.
In 1867, on request of William H. Seward, Sharpe became a special agent of the U.S. State Department and went to Europe to locate and investigate Americans who might have been involved in the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. Seward was particularly interested in finding John Surratt, whose mother Mary Surratt had been hanged as one of the assassination conspirators. Surratt was brought back to the United States and put on trial in a civilian court. The trial ended with a hung jury, and Surratt was soon set free, never to be tried again.
On May 5, 1869 he was elected as a veteran companion of the New York Commandery of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States.
From 1870 to 1873, he was United States Marshal for the Southern District of New York, and took the census that demonstrated the great election frauds of 1868 in New York City, which led to the enforcement of the federal election laws for the first time in 1871, and helped to smash the Tweed Ring.
In 1873 he was appointed Surveyor of the Port of New York. In 1877, President Rutherford Hayes asked the Collector of Customs Chester A. Arthur and his principal subordinates, Surveyor Sharpe and Naval Officer Alonzo B. Cornell to resign, which they refused to do. They were removed from office the next year.
Afterward he became head of the commission appointed to promote the commercial relations between the United States and Central/South American countries with the rank of Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary. He resigned after the inauguration of President Grover Cleveland in 1885.
Federal Judicial Service
On July 2, 1890, President Harrison nominated Sharpe to serve as a Member of the newly created Board of General Appraisers. He was confirmed by the Senate on July 16, 1890, and received his commission on November 16, 1890. He served on the board until his resignation on March 1, 1899 and was succeeded on the board by Judge William Barberie Howell.
Personal life and death
Sharpe was married to Caroline Hasbrouck, daughter of Abraham Bruyn Hasbrouck, and their children were Severyn Bruyn Sharpe, a county judge, Henry G. Sharpe, a U.S. Army officer, and Katherine Lawrence Sharpe who married Ira Davenport. He died while visiting the Davenport's residence at 31 East 39th Street in New York City. He was buried at Wiltwyck Cemetery in Kingston, New York.
- The Nominees for Surveyor of the Port and United States Marshal, The New York Times, March 15, 1873.
- "Rutgers in the Civil War," Journal of the Rutgers University Libraries Vol. 66 (2014), page 106 http://jrul.libraries.rutgers.edu/index.php/jrul/article/view/1865/3298
- Biographical Directory of Federal Judges
- Biographical Directory of Federal Judges
- Frank Leslie: Famous Leaders and Battle Scenes of the Civil War (New York, 1896)
- The parole of Gen. Lee
- His lecture on The Last Hours of the Confederacy, in the New York Times, February 21, 1876
- He and his colleagues in a photo of the Secret Service officers in 1863
- Political Graveyard
- Bio at CIA Library
- His work and bio at University of Military Intelligence
- His obituary in New York Times, January 15, 1900
- History of US Marshal, Southern District of NY
- America's Unknown Intelligence Czar in American Heritage, October 2004.
Thomas G. Alvord
|Speaker of the New York State Assembly
1880 - 1881
Charles E. Patterson