Henry H. Bingham

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Henry Harrison Bingham
Henry Harrison Bingham.png
Henry Harrison Bingham
Born (1841-12-04)December 4, 1841
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Died March 22, 1912(1912-03-22) (aged 70)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Place of burial Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Union Army
Years of service 1862–1866
Rank Union Army brigadier general rank insignia.svg Brevet Brigadier General
Unit 140th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry

American Civil War

Awards Medal of Honor
Other work In 1890 San Francisco Supervisor Henry Bingham introduced a resolution to force residents into segregated neighborhoods. Believing Chinatown was “a cancer on the city,” and wanting to claim the prime real estate it occupied, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed the resolution with the Mayor’s approval. The Bingham Ordinance, as it came to be known, required all Chinese living or working in the city to move their homes and businesses within 60 days to an area reserved for slaughterhouses and other “unhealthful” businesses. Re Lee Sing was the first case to test the legality of the ordinance that would have displaced tens of thousands of Chinese. California Circuit Court Judge Sawyer struck down the law as a violation of the 14th Amendment.

Henry Harrison Bingham (December 4, 1841 – March 22, 1912) was a Union Army officer in the American Civil War, who received the United States Military's highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor, for his actions at the Battle of the Wilderness.

After graduating from college Bingham accepted a commission as a first lieutenant for service in the American Civil War. While participating in the war he fought in several battles and served as Judge advocate.

After the Civil War ended he was postmaster of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from 1867 to 1872, a court clerk from 1872 to 1879, and a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Pennsylvania from 1879 to 1912.

Early life[edit]

Henry H. Bingham was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on December 4, 1841.[1] He graduated from Jefferson College in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, in 1862,[1] where he became a member of the Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity. He later graduated from the law department of Washington and Jefferson College in Washington, Pennsylvania.[2]

American Civil War service[edit]

Bingham enlisted in the Union Army and received a commission as a first lieutenant in the 140th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry on August 22, 1862.[1]

During the Battle of Gettysburg on July 1–3, 1863, he was serving as Captain and Judge-Advocate on the staff of Major General Winfield Scott Hancock's II Corps.[3] During the battle he witnessed Pickett's Charge, and was near the "Angle" where the Confederates reached the "High Water Mark". He received the personal effects from the mortally wounded Confederate Brigadier General Lewis A. Armistead and carried the news to General Hancock, Armistead's friend from before the war.[4] Bingham was a Mason (Chartiers Lodge #297, Canonsburg, PA), and the story of how he provided assistance to the dying fellow Mason, General Armistead, was used in Masonic literature, and commemorated with the Friend to Friend Masonic Memorial at Gettysburg National Cemetery.[5] On the other hand, recent scholarship in 2010 by Michael Halleran shows that while Armistead and Bingham were both Masons, Bingham's encounter with Armistead occurred while the mortally wounded Armistead was being carried from the field by several men and happened purely by chance not because of any appeal of Masonic significance.[6] Bingham never claimed otherwise.[6] Bingham did take Armistead's personal effects and forwarded them to Major General Winfield S. Hancock as Armistead had requested because Hancock was a pre-war friend.[6] Bingham also was wounded on July 3, 1863 at the Battle of Gettysburg.[1]

In 1864, Bingham became aide-de-camp to Major General Gouverneur K. Warren.[1] During the Battle of the Wilderness during the Virginia Overland Campaign, on May 6, 1864, as captain of Company G, 140th Pennsylvania Infantry, he "rallied and led into action a portion of the troops who had given way under fierce assaults of the enemy."[7] He was awarded a Medal of Honor on August 26, 1893, for these actions.

Bingham was wounded again at the Battle of Spotsylvania, May 12, 1864.[1] Bingham was captured at Dabney's Mill, Virginia on October 27, 1864 during the Battle of Fair Oaks & Darbytown Road but escaped the same day.[1]

Bingham was mustered out of the service on July 2, 1866 and returned home to Philadelphia.[1] On December 3, 1867, President Andrew Johnson nominated Bingham for appointment to the brevet grade of brigadier general of volunteers, to rank from April 9, 1865, and the U.S. Senate confirmed the appointment on February 14, 1868.[8]


Henry Bingham was appointed postmaster of Philadelphia[1] by President Andrew Johnson in March 1867 and served until December 1872, when he resigned to accept the clerkship of the courts of oyer and terminer and quarter sessions of the peace in Philadelphia. He was a delegate to the Republican National Conventions of 1872 though 1900. He was elected to Congress as a Republican in 1878, and served until his death.[1] In Congress, he served as Chairman of the Committee on the Post Office and Post Roads, and on the Committee on Expenditures in the Post Office Department.

He died in Pennsylvania March 22, 1912 and is buried in Laurel Hill Cemetery Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[1][9] His grave can be found in section Y, lot 107.[9]

Honors and awards[edit]

Medal of Honor citation[edit]

Rank and organization: Captain, Company G, 140th Pennsylvania Infantry. Place and date: At Wilderness, Va., May 6, 1864. Entered service at: Cannonsburg, Pa. Born: December 4, 1841, Philadelphia, Pa. Date of issue: August 31, 1893.[10]


Rallied and led into action a portion of the troops who had given way under the fierce assaults of the enemy.[7]

Other honors[edit]

Bingham County, Idaho was named in his honor.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Eicher, John H., and David J. Eicher, Civil War High Commands. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2001. ISBN 0-8047-3641-3. p. 141
  2. ^
  3. ^ Order of battle
  4. ^ Brother's War description
  5. ^ Masons at the Battle of Gettysburg
  6. ^ a b c Halleran, Michael A. The Better Angels of Our Nature: Freemasonry in the American Civil War. Tuscaloosa: The University of Alabama Press, 2010. ISBN 978-0-8173-1695-2. pp. 26–30
  7. ^ a b "Civil War (A-L); Bingham, Henry Harrison entry". Medal of Honor recipients. United States Army Center of Military History. July 16, 2007. Retrieved January 22, 2010. 
  8. ^ Eicher, 2001, p. 740
  9. ^ a b "Henry H. Bingham". Claim to Fame: Medal of Honor recipients. Find a Grave. Retrieved November 7, 2007. 
  10. ^ Eicher, 2001, p. 131 says the date of issuance may have been August 26, 1893, August 31, 1893 or November 19, 1897


  • Eicher, John H., and David J. Eicher, Civil War High Commands. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2001. ISBN 0-8047-3641-3.
  • Halleran, Michael A. The Better Angels of Our Nature: Freemasonry in the American Civil War. Tuscaloosa: The University of Alabama Press, 2010. ISBN 978-0-8173-1695-2.

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Chapman Freeman
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 1st congressional district

Succeeded by
William S. Vare