Saturday, March 28, 2009

Forgotten Generals of the Civil War: Confederate General William H. C. Whiting

William Henry Chase Whiting was born on March 23, 1824 and was an excellent student. He was educated in both Boston and what would later become Georgetown University. Later he graduated West Point in 1845. After graduation he joined the prestigious Army Corps of Engineers and help construct seacoast defenses in both Maryland and Florida. He later served out west for several years aiding the construction of defenses on the West Coast. By 1858 he was back east improving canels and harbors when the Civil War exploded onto the public consenice.

Just a few weeks before Fort Sumter he resigned his commission and joined the Confederate service. He was appointed chief engineer under Joseph Johnston and helped the Confederates defeat northern forces at the First Battle of Bull Run. After being promoted to brigader general in April 1861 he commanded a division at Seven Pines and led some forces under Stonewall Jackson during Jackson's famed Valley Campaign. When Union General George McCellen slowly pushed his forces to Richmond, Whiting and his men traveled by rail to reinforce newly appointed Confederate General Robert E. Lee. After fighting at Gaines Mill and Malvern Hill the Confederate high command saw that Whiting's past as an engineer was far more valuable to the Confederate cause then his leadership on the battlefield. He served the defenses at Petersburg and Wilmington and was promoted to Major General in 1864.

During the Battles at Fort Fisher he was wounded and was take prisoner. Whiting died while a prisoner of war at Fort Columbus in New York Harbor on March 10, 1865. He was buried there until his widow had his body transferred to North Carolina in 1900.


Boatner, Mark Mayo III, The Civil War Dictionary

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