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General Henry Wager Halleck

Union Army Chief of Staff, Civil War
Instrumental in Writing California State Constitution


 
Biographies
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Biography from Encarta:

Halleck, Henry Wager (1815-1872), Union general during the American Civil War (1861-1865). Halleck was born in Westernville, New York, and educated at Union College and the United States Military Academy at West Point. He was an expert in military fortifications. In 1846 he wrote Elements of Military Art and Science, which was used during the Civil War as a training manual for volunteer officers.

Halleck served in California during the Mexican War (1846-1848). He resigned from the army in 1854 and had a successful career as a lawyer and industrialist until the outbreak of the Civil War, when he reentered the army with the rank of major general. He commanded the Department of Missouri and planned the western campaign of 1862. In July 1862 he was appointed general in chief of the United States armies, and he held that post until 1864, when President Abraham Lincoln replaced him with General Ulysses S. Grant. Halleck then served as chief of staff of the army until 1865. Although Halleck was an excellent administrator, historians generally agree that he was overly cautious as a field commander and was a poor military strategist. After the war Halleck remained in the army, serving at San Francisco and, after 1869, at Louisville, Kentucky. His writings include Bitumen: Its Varieties, Properties, and Uses (1841) and  International Law (1861). "Halleck, Henry Wager," Microsoft(R) Encarta(R) 98 Encyclopedia. (c) 1993-1997 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

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Biography from Hallock Genealogy

General Henry Wager Hallock was born January 16, 1814, and died January 9, 1872, at Louisville, Kentucky. Married Elizabeth Hamilton April 10, 1855. She was a granddaughter of Alexander Hamilton, was born February 9, 1831, and died September 16, 1887. Her father's name was John C. Hamilton. She was a beautiful and distinguished looking woman. After the General's death she married Major General George Washington Cullum, U. S. A. General Hallock had one son, Henry Wager Hallock, Jr., born 1857 and died May 8, 1882.

Henry Wager Hallock was Major General of the Union Armies, preceding General Grant. He entered the Military Academy July 1, 1835 and received degree of LL.D.. from Union College in 1862. He was ordered to California at the beginning of the Mexican War and virtually drafted the Constitution of the State. Resigned from the army in 1864 and re-entered in 1861. He had written valuable treaties on International Law. He was the oldest of a family of 13 children. His remains are interred in Greenwood Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York. A Hallock Genealogy, William, Charles, Lucius Hallock, 1866, 1906, 1928, Pg 359.

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Biography from: CALIFORNIA PIONEER REGISTER AND INDEX 1542 - 1848  page 177

Halleck (Henry Wager), 1847, nat. of N.Y., graduate of West Point, and lieut of engineers U. S.A., who came with Co. F,  3d U. S. artill. to inspect Pacific coast fortifications. v. 518-20. Besides attending to his duties as engineer officer, being  soon brevetted captain, he went down the coast to take part in the military operations at Mazatlan and in L. Cal.; prepared  a report on Cal. land titles; and acted in '48-9 as govt sceretary and auditor of revenues.

In '49 he was an active and  influential member of the (**California**) constitutional convention; and in '50-4 acted as inspector of light-houses on the Pac. coast. Then  he resigned his commission, and in '54-60 was a member of the law firm of Halleck, Peachy, & Billings in S.F., taking part  as counsellor in many of the great land suits, acting as a kind of director of the New Almaden mines, acquiring a vast estate,  and in '60-1 serving as major-gen. of militia. In '61 he went cast and was commissioned major-gen.; commanded the dept.  of Mo. in '61-2; was the highest mil. authority at Wash. as senior general, and later as chief of staff in '62-5; commanded for  a time at Richmond; was in '65-9 com. of the dept. of the Pacific; and from '69 of the dept of the South until his death at  Louisville, Ky, in '72, at the age of 56.

No analysis of Gen. Halleck's character is called for here; his reputation is national,  though he was essentially a Californian; and the positions held by him are sufficient to show his abilities. He was  a cold-blooded, generally unpopular man; plodding rather than brilliant in all his efforts; arousing bitter enmity as well as  profound admiration. He was the author of several professional works and translations, and his treatises on military, mining, and international law are regarded as of standard value. His wife was a daughter of John C. Hamilton, and survived him with  a son. H., 1847, brother of H.W., said to have been in the Q.M. dept., and to have died at Mont. '48. It may be that there  is an error in the date of death, and that this was Jabez Halleck, who was collector, harbor-master, and com. of deeds in  '49.

Bibliography: Bancroft, Hubert Howe, California Pioneer Register and Index 1542-1848, Including Inhabitants of California, 1769-1800 and List of Pioneers, extracted from Bancroft, Hubert Howe. History of California. San Francisco, CA: History Company, 1884-1890.

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Lineage from Peter Hallock, Immigrant, to General Henry Wager Hallock:

 1   Abt. 1595 - Peter Hallock
..  +Bef. 1600 - Unknown First Wife
........ 2   Bef. 1624 - 1684 William Hallock
............  +Bef. 1624 - Margaret Howell
.................. 3   Abt. 1665 - Peter Hallock
......................  +Bef. 1670 - Eliza
............................ 4   1694 - 1756 Peter Hallock, Jr.
................................  +1703 - 1761 Mary Booth
...................................... 5   1729 - 1791 Peter Hallock, Major
..........................................  +Bef. 1732 - Joanna Mapes
................................................ 6   1761 - 1863 Jabez Halleck
....................................................  +1762 - 1834 Sarah Wines
.......................................................... 7   1785 - 1857 Joseph Halleck, Lt.
..............................................................  +1795 - 1868 Catherine Wager
.................................................................... 8   1814 - 1872 Henry Wager Halleck, General

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Related Links:
General Henry Wager Halleck - Biography and Picture at the Peter Hallock Page.

General Henry Wager Hallock - Biography of Civil War Notables Web Page

The Generals of the Civil War Site has a brief biography on General Henry Halleck. If you have interest in another general, their home is the Generals of the Civil War.

Henry's photograph is included in this web page devoted to photographs of generals of the Civil War.

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