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Encyclopedia > Andrew A. Humphreys
Andrew A. Humphreys

Andrew Atkinson Humphreys (November 2, 1810December 27, 1883), was a career U.S. Army officer, civil engineer, and a Union general in the American Civil War. He served in senior positions in the Army of the Potomac, including division command, chief of staff, and corps command, and was Chief Engineer of the U.S. Army. November 2 is the 306th day of the year (307th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 59 days remaining. ... 1810 was a common year starting on Monday (see link for calendar). ... December 27 is the 361st day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. ... Events January January 16 - The United States Civil service, is passed January 19 - The first electric lighting system employing overhead wires begins service (Roselle, New Jersey) It was built by Thomas Edison. ... The Army is the branch of the United States armed forces which has primary responsibility for land-based military operations. ... The Union Army refers to the United States Army during the American Civil War. ... General is a military rank, in most nations the highest rank, although some nations have the higher rank of Field Marshal. ... The American Civil War was fought in the United States from 1861 until 1865 between the United States – forces coming mostly from the 23 northern states of the Union – and the newly-formed Confederate States of America, which consisted of 11 southern states that had declared their secession. ... Generals Burnside, Hancock, Couch, Ferro, Patrick, Wilcox, Cochrane, Buford and others. ... A division is a large military unit or formation usually consisting of around 10,000 soldiers. ... This article is about a military unit. ...

Humphreys was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to a family prominent in naval architecture; his grandfather, Joshua, designed "Old Ironsides", the USS Constitution. Andrew graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 1831 and spent much of the next thirty years as a civil engineer in the Army. He saw combat in the artillery in the Seminole Wars. Much of his service involved topographical and hydrological surveys of the Mississippi River Delta. This article refers to the largest city of Pennsylvania. ... The USS Constitution, known as Old Ironsides is a wooden-hulled, three-masted frigate of the United States Navy. ... Alternate meanings: West Point (disambiguation). ... 1831 was a common year starting on Saturday (see link for calendar). ... Osceola, Seminole leader, detail from an 1838 lithograph The Seminole Wars were three wars or conflicts in Florida between the Seminole Native American tribe and the United States. ... Red states are Mississippi Delta states or states that border the Mississippi River The Mississippi Delta is a geographical and political term that may be used in various ways. ...

After the outbreak of the Civil War, Humphreys was promoted (August 6, 1861) to major and became chief topographical engineer in Major General George B. McClellan's Army of the Potomac. Initially involved in planning the defenses of Washington, D.C., by March, 1862, he shipped out with McClellan for the Peninsula Campaign. He was promoted to brigadier general of volunteers April 28 and on September 12 assumed command of the new 3rd Division in the V Corps of the Army of the Potomac. He led the division in a reserve role in the Battle of Antietam. At the Battle of Fredericksburg, his division achieved the farthest advance against fierce Confederate fire from Marye's Heights; his corps commander, George G. Meade, wrote: "He behaved with distinguished gallantry at Fredericksburg." For an officer with little combat experience, he inspired his troops with his personal bravery, as he later wrote: August 6 is the 218th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (219th in leap years), with 147 days remaining. ... 1861 is a common year starting on Tuesday. ... For non-military meanings, see major (disambiguation). ... Insignia of a United States Air Force Major General German Generalmajor Insignia Major General is a military rank used in many countries. ... George Brinton McClellan (December 3, 1826 - October 29, 1885) was a Major General of the Union Army during the American Civil War. ... Aerial photo (looking NW) of the Washington Monument and the White House in Washington, DC. Washington, D.C., officially the District of Columbia (also known as D.C.; Washington; the Nations Capital; the District; and, historically, the Federal City) is the capital city and administrative district of the United... For alternative meanings, see March (disambiguation). ... Events January-March January 10 - End of term for John Gately Downey, 7th Governor of California. ... Map of the events of the campaign. ... A Brigadier General, or one-star general, is the lowest rank of general officer in the United States and some other countries, ranking just above Colonel and just below Major General. ... April 28 is the 118th day of the year (119th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 247 days remaining. ... September 12 is the 255th day of the year (256th in leap years). ... The V Corps (Fifth Corps) was a unit of the Union Army of the Potomac during the American Civil War. ... Battle of Antietam Conflict American Civil War Date September 17, 1862 Place Near Sharpsburg, Maryland Result (Union strategic victory) The Battle of Antietam (known as the Battle of Sharpsburg in the South), fought on September 17, 1862, near Sharpsburg, Maryland, part of the Maryland Campaign, was the first major battle... The Battle of Fredericksburg, fought on December 13, 1862 between General Robert E. Lees Army of Northern Virginia and the Army of the Potomac commanded by Maj. ... For other meanings of confederate and confederacy, see confederacy (disambiguation) National Motto Deo Vindice (Latin: Under God our Vindicator) Official language English de facto nationwide Various European and Native American languages regionally Capital Montgomery, Alabama February 4, 1861–May 29, 1861 Richmond, Virginia May 29, 1861–April 9, 1865 Largest... George Gordon Meade (December 31, 1815 - November 6, 1872) was an American military officer during the American Civil War. ...

" ... for certain good reasons connected with the effect of what I did upon the spirit of the men and from an invincible repugnance to ride anywhere else, I always rode at the head of my troops." Lt. Cavada of the general's staff recalled that just before he took his troops up to the Stone Wall at Fredericksburg, Humphreys had bowed to his staff in his courtly way, "and in the blandest manner remarked, 'Young gentlemen, I intend to lead this assault; I presume, of course, you will wish to ride with me?'" Since it was put like that, the staff had done so, and five of the seven officers were knocked off their horses. After his men had taken as much as they could stand in front of the Stone Wall on Marye's Heights, the next brigade coming up the hill saw Humphreys sitting his horse all alone, looking out across the plain, bullets cutting the air all around him. Something about the way the general was taking it pleased them, and they sent up a cheer. Humphreys looked over, surprised, waved his cap to them with a grim smile, and then went riding off into the twilight. In this way Humphreys had turned his first division's dislike of him into admiration for his heroic leadership ...1

Although respected by his men for his bravery under fire, Humphreys was not well liked by them. In his mid-fifties, they considered him an old man, despite his relatively youthful appearance. His nickname was "Old Goggle Eyes" for his eyeglasses. He was a taskmaster and strict disciplinarian. Charles A. Dana, the Assistant Secretary of War, called him a man of "distinguished and brilliant profanity." The Secretary of War was a member of the Presidents Cabinet, beginning with George Washingtons administration. ...

At the Battle of Chancellorsville, Humphreys' division did little, principally because most of his soldiers were near the ends of their enlistments. On May 23, 1863, Humphreys was transferred to the command of the 2nd Division in the III Corps, under Major General Daniel E. Sickles. When Meade assumed command of the Army of the Potomac just before the Battle of Gettysburg, he asked Humphreys to be his chief of staff, replacing Daniel Butterfield, who was considered to be too close politically to the previous commander, Joseph Hooker. Humphreys declined the opportunity to give up his division command. His new division immediately saw action at Gettysburg where, on July 2, 1863, Sickles insubordinately moved his corps from its assigned defensive position on Cemetery Ridge. Humphrey's new position was on the Emmitsburg Road, part of a salient directly in the path of the Confederate assault, and it was too long a front for a single division to defend. Assaulted by the division of Lafayette McLaws, Humphrey's two brigades were demolished; Sickles had pulled back Humphrey's reserve brigade to shore up the neighboring division (David B. Birney), which was the first to be attacked. Humphreys put up the best fight that could have been expected and was eventually able to reform his survivors on Cemetery Ridge, but his division and the entire corps were finished as a fighting force. Battle of Chancellorsville Conflict American Civil War Date April 30 – May 6, 1863 Place Spotsylvania County Result Decisive Confederate victory The Battle of Chancellorsville was a major battle of the American Civil War in 1863. ... May 23 is the 143rd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (144th in leap years). ... 1863 is a common year starting on Thursday. ... Daniel Sickles and staff after the Battle of Gettysburg There were four formations in the Union Army designated as III Corps (or Third Corps) during the American Civil War. ... Portrait of Daniel Sickles during the Civil War Daniel Edgar Sickles (October 20, 1825–May 3, 1914) was an American soldier, statesman and diplomat. ... Battle of Gettysburg Conflict American Civil War Date July 1–3, 1863 Place Adams County Result Union victory The Battle of Gettysburg (July 1–3, 1863), fought in and around the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, as part of the Gettysburg Campaign, was the largest battle ever conducted in North America... Brigadier General Daniel Butterfield Brigadier General Daniel Butterfield commanded the 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, V Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, during the American Civil War. ... This article is about Joseph Hooker, the U.S. Civil War Major General. ... July 2 is the 183rd day of the year (184th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 182 days remaining. ... 1863 is a common year starting on Thursday. ... Lafayette McLaws Lafayette McLaws ( January 15, 1821 – July 24, 1897) was a U.S. Army officer and a Confederate general in the American Civil War. ...

Humphreys was promoted to major general of volunteers on July 8, 1863, and finally acceded to Meade's request to serve as his chief of staff; he did not have much of division left to command. He served in that position through the Bristoe and Mine Run campaigns that fall, and the Overland Campaign and the Siege of Petersburg in 1864. In November, 1864, he assumed command of the II Corps, which he led for the rest of the siege and during the pursuit of Robert E. Lee to Appomattox Court House and surrender. On March 13, 1865, he was brevetted brigadier general in the regular army for "gallant and meritorious service at the battle of Gettysburg", and then to major general for the Battle of Sayler's Creek during Lee's retreat. July 8 is the 189th day of the year (190th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 176 days remaining. ... 1863 is a common year starting on Thursday. ... Ulysses S. Grant Robert E. Lee The Overland Campaign, or Grants Overland Campaign, was a series of battles fought in Virginia during May and June, 1864, in the American Civil War. ... Troops in the Siege of Petersburg faced the usual siege armaments — projectiles of all shapes and sizes and attacks on fortifications — but the Union added underground explosives to the mix. ... Events January - March January 21 - Maori Wars: The Tauranga Campaign starts. ... November is the eleventh month of the year in the Gregorian Calendar and one of four Gregorian months with the length of 30 days. ... Events January - March January 21 - Maori Wars: The Tauranga Campaign starts. ... There were five corps in the Union Army designated as II Corps (Second Corps) during the American Civil War. ... For the author of Inherit the Wind and other works, see Robert Edwin Lee. ... The court house The Appomattox Court House is a historic court house located in Appomattox, Virginia famous as the site of the surrender of the Confederate Army under Robert E. Lee to Union commander Ulysses S. Grant on April 9, 1865, effectively ending the American Civil War. ... March 13 is the 72nd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (73rd in leap years). ... 1865 is a common year starting on Sunday. ... In the military, brevet refers to a warrant authorizing a commissioned officer to hold a higher rank temporarily (usually without receiving the pay of the higher rank). ...

After the war, Humphreys commanded the District of Pennsylvania. He became a permanent brigadier general and Chief of Engineers in 1866, a position he held until June 30, 1879, when he retired, serving during this period on lighthouse and other engineering boards. In retirement, Humphreys studied philosophy. He was one of the incorporators of the National Academy of Sciences. Humphreys' published works were highlighted by his 1867 Report on the Physics and Hydraulics of the Mississippi River, which gave him considerable prominence in the scientific community. He also wrote personal accounts of the war, published in 1883: From Gettysburg to the Rapidan and The Virginia Campaign of '64 and '65. He died in Washington, D.C., and is buried there in the Congressional Cemetery. 1866 is a common year starting on Monday. ... June 30 is the 181st day of the year (182nd in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 184 days remaining. ... 1879 was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar). ... The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in the United States is a government-established corporation supporting scientific research. ... 1867 was a common year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar). ... Events January January 16 - The United States Civil service, is passed January 19 - The first electric lighting system employing overhead wires begins service (Roselle, New Jersey) It was built by Thomas Edison. ...


  1. Tagg, Larry: The Generals of Gettysburg, Savas Publishing, 1998, ISBN 1-882810-30-9 (http://www.rocemabra.com/~roger/tagg/generals/)


  • Eicher, John H., & Eicher, David J.: Civil War High Commands, Stanford University Press, 2001, ISBN 0-8047-3641-3



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