A Civil War Biography

Henry Warner Birge

Birge was born 25 August 1825 in Hartford Connecticut. At the beginning of the Civil War Birge, who had worked as a merchant, was on the staff of Connecticut governor William A. Buckingham. Birge resigned from the governor's staff to form the 4th Connecticut, what would be the first three year regiment formed from the state.

Joseph R. Hawley, a founder of the Connecticut Republican party and a future governor, is usually credited with being the first person from Connecticut to enlist to serve the Union and with forming the first regiment, a three month regiment, the 1st Connecticut.

Birge was appointed a major in the 4th CT on 23 May 1861. He would resign from the 4th CT on 13 November 1861 to form a new regiment, the 13th CT, of which he became colonel on 18 February 1862. The 13th was sent to the Department of the Gulf and took part in the capture of New Orleans. Birge commanded the 3rd Brigade of the 4th Division in the XIX Corps at Port Hudson. He was promoted to brigadier general of volunteers on 19 September 1863 and commanded the 2nd Brigade of the 2nd Division in the XIX Corps during the Red River campaign. Birge, along with most of the XIX Corps was sent to the Shenandoah Valley. Birge saw action at 3ed Winchester, Fisher's Hill, and Cedar Creek. He was then sent to the Southern coast and commanded a brigade that garrisoned Savannah, Georgia. He commanded the 1st Brigade of Grover's Division in the final stages of the Carolina campaign. Birge was brevetted major general of volunteers on 25 February 1865.

He resigned from the army on 18 October 1865 and remained in the South engaged in several businesses before retiring to New York. He was voted the thanks of the Connecticut legislature from his service during the war. Birge died 1 June 1888 in New York City.

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