William Babcock Hazen (1830 - 1887)

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Birthplace: West Hartford, Windsor Co., VT
Death: Died in Washington, DC
Managed by: Steven Kelley
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About William Babcock Hazen

William Babcock Hazen (September 27, 1830 – January 16, 1887) was a career U.S. Army officer who served in the Indian Wars, as a Union general in the American Civil War, and as Chief Signal Officer of the U.S. Army. His most famous service was defending "Hell's Half Acre" at the Battle of Stones River in 1862.

Early life and military career

Hazen was born in West Hartford, Vermont, but moved to Ohio at the age of three. He spent his boyhood in the town of Hiram and formed a close personal friendship with future President James A. Garfield. He graduated from the U.S. Military Academy, in 1855, and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the 4th U.S. Infantry. Before the Civil War, he served primarily in the Pacific Northwest and Texas, where he was wounded severely on November 3, 1859, during a fight with the Comanches along the Llano River. He was absent on sick leave until 1861.

Civil War

Soon after the fall of Fort Sumter, he was promoted to captain of the 8th U.S. Infantry, and by October 29, 1861, he was Colonel of the 41st Ohio Infantry. Starting in January 1862, he commanded a brigade in the Army of the Ohio, under General Don Carlos Buell. His first major battle was Shiloh, where Buell's army arrived on the second day (April 7, 1862), in time to counterattack the Confederate army for a Union victory.

In the fall of 1862, Hazen fought under Buell at Perryville. His brigade was reorganized into the XIV Corps (later to be known as the Army of the Cumberland) under William S. Rosecrans, and, in this organization, Hazen served in his most famous engagement, the Battle of Stones River, at Murfreesboro, Tennessee. On December 31, 1862, the Confederate forces under Braxton Bragg delivered a devastating assault that caught Rosecrans by surprise and drove his forces back three miles, leaving their backs to the Stones River. Hazen's brigade defended a four-acre cedar forest known by the locals as "Round Forest". Their defense was so spirited against heavy odds that they arguably saved the Union line and the Round Forest is now known informally (if inexplicably) as "Hell's Half Acre". Hazen was wounded in the shoulder during the fight and was promoted to brigadier general, effective November 29, for his gallantry. Months after the battle, a monument was erected by veterans of the fight in a small Union cemetery at the site. This is considered to be the oldest monument erected on a Civil War battlefield.

Hazen continued with the Army of the Cumberland through the successful Tullahoma Campaign, the serious Union defeat at the Battle of Chickamauga, and the victorious Battle of Chattanooga. He was promoted to brevet major in the regular army for Chickamauga and brevet lieutenant colonel for Chattanooga. He served under William T. Sherman in the Atlanta Campaign, the March to the Sea, and the Carolinas Campaign, as part of the Army of the Tennessee. He was elevated to division command late in the Atlanta Campaign. He was promoted to brevet colonel in the regular army in September 1864 and to major general of volunteers on December 13, 1864. Very late in the war, he commanded the XV Corps of the Army of the Tennessee and was eventually promoted to brevet major general in the regular army, March 13, 1865.

Postbellum career

As the U.S. Army was drawn down following the war, Hazen was redesignated as colonel of the 38th U.S. Infantry in July 1866 and transferred to the 6th U.S. Infantry in March 1869. He served primarily on the Western frontier, but also visited Europe as an observer during the Franco-Prussian War. He offered testimony in one of the procurement corruption scandals that rocked the administration of President Ulysses S. Grant, which resulted in the resignation of Grant's Secretary of War, William W. Belknap.

On December 15, 1880, President Rutherford B. Hayes promoted Hazen to brigadier general and appointed him Chief Signal Officer of the U.S. Army, a post he held until his death. One of the duties of the U.S. Army Signal Corps at the time was the management of the Weather Service and Hazen came under indirect criticism for the government's lack of response to the distress, in 1883-84, of the International Polar Year expedition to Fort Conger, Lady Franklin Bay led by Lieutenant Adolphus Greely.

Hazen married Mildred McLean, daughter of Washington McLean, the owner of The Washington Post.

Hazen died in Washington, D.C., and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Hazen Bay in Alaska is named in his honor.

References

   * Eicher, John H., and Eicher, David J., Civil War High Commands, Stanford University Press, 2001, ISBN 0-8047-3641-3.
   * Warner, Ezra J., Generals in Blue: Lives of the Union Commanders, Louisiana State University Press, 1964, ISBN 0-8071-0822-7.

Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Babcock_Hazen"

Categories: 1830 births | 1887 deaths | People from Portage County, Ohio | United States Army generals | Union Army generals | United States Military Academy alumni | People from Vermont | People of Ohio in the American Civil War | Burials at Arlington National Cemetery

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   William Babcock Hazen was a general in the Union Army during the Civil War.
   Pre-War Profession Graduated West Point 1855, frontier service in Oregon and Texas, instructor at West Point.
   War Service 1861 Capt. of 8th US Infantry, October 1861 Col. of 41st Ohio, commanded 19th Bde/4th Divn at Shiloh, Perryville, commanded 2nd Bde/2nd Divn/XIV Corps at Stone's River, November 1862 appointed Brig. Gen. of Volunteers, Tullahoma, commanded 2nd Bde/2nd Divn/XXI Corps at Chickamauga, commanded 2nd Bde/3rd Divn/IV Corps at Chattanooga, Knoxville, Atlanta campaign, commanded 2nd Divn/XV Corps, March to the Sea, December 1864 promoted Maj. Gen. of Volunteers, Carolinas campaign.
   Post War Career Army service, fought Indians, observer in Franco-Prussian war.
   In 1870, the Signal Corps' founder, Albert J. Myer, committed the Signal Corps to operate a weather service for the United States. However, it was his successor, BG William B. Hazen, who excited the entire country by sending two Signal Corps teams to participate in an international polar project that would greatly increase the scientific knowledge about an unknown part of the world.
   Hazen, a Civil War hero, faced formidable obstacles as he led the Corps through the decade following Myer's death. While the one expedition to Point Barrow, Alaska was carried out flawlessly, the other to Lady Franklin Bay near Greenland resulted in great tragedy. Nineteen of it twenty-five members died after bungled rescue attempts. Many blamed Hazen for the tragedy. In addition, Congress dealt the Corps an almost mortal blow in 1885 when it closed the Signal School at Fort Myer and turned over military signal instruction to individual branches of service.
   When Hazen died on 16 January 1887, the Corps had severe problems. It would be the job of Captain Adolphus W. Greely, nominated on 16 February 1887 as the new Chief Signal Officer, to bring the Signal Corps to prominence.
   William B. Hazen
   from The N.Y. Times, January 17, 1887, p. 5:
   OBITUARY
   GEN. WILLIAM B. HAZEN.
   Chief signal officer William B. Hazen
   died at 8 o'clock last evening in his room at No.
   1,305 F-street, Washington. Although he had
   been in bad health for a long time, his death was
   wholly unexpected up to yesterday morning. A
   short time ago Gen. Hazen obtained a leave of
   absence for a year, which time he proposed
   to spend in resting and recuperating his health.
   He had been troubled for several years with an
   affection of the kidneys, and had at times suf-
   fered severely. Recently, however, he had
   greatly improved, and it was hoped that a year's
   cessation from work would result in his complete
   recovery. On Thursday evening Gen. Hazen at-
   tended the President's reception. In some
   way he caught a hard cold that evening, and on
   Friday he remained in bed with no thought that
   his sickness was dangerous. On Saturday he
   was so much better that he sat up during the
   day, and said he should go to his office on Mon-
   day. Late Saturday night the General felt
   worse, and very early Yesterday morning
   Dr. Philip F. Harvey, Assistant Surgeon
   in the army, was sent for. The physi-
   cian found his patient in an alarming con-
   dition, and giving evidence that his
   blood had been poisoned through diabetes.
   Dr. Harvey felt that the situation was critical,
   and at his suggestion Dr. David L. Huntington,
   also of the army, was called in consultation.
   Then the relatives of Gen. Hazen, now in Wash-
   ington, were told that the Chief Signal Officer
   could not hope for many more hours of
   life, and they gathered in the sick room.
   Their hopes were revived during the
   middle of the day, when the General
   rallied a little, but in the afternoon he grew
   steadily worse, and finally sank into uncon-
   sciousness. Dr. N.S. Lincoln was invited to as-
   sist the other physicians at the request of the
   patient's relatives, but the disease had passed
   beyond the skill of the doctors, and Gen. Hazen
   breathed his last at 8 o'clock. At the end he
   suffered no pain, and he died, without a
   struggle, of diabetic coma. By his bedside
   were Mrs. Washington McLean, Gen. Hazen's
   mother-in-law, and Capt. and Mrs. A.H.
   Burgher, of Cincinnati, his brother-in-law and
   sister-in-law. Washington McLean, his father-
   in-law, was not well enough to attend. These are
   all of Gen. Hazen's relatives now in Washington.
   Mrs. Hazen is in the south of France, where she
   went a few months ago for her health. With her
   is the General's only son, a lad about 10 years
   of age.
   Gen. Hazen had been in the military service
   since 1855, when he was graduated at West
   Point and was assigned to frontier duty at Fort
   Reading, California. For two years he served at
   different posts in that section of the country
   and saw some indian fighting. Then he was
   transferred to Texas, remaining there until 1859.
   Disabled by wounds, he obtained leave of ab-
   sence returning to duty in February, 1861, as
   Assistant Instructor of Infantry Tactics at West
   Point. During that service he was made a Cap-
   tain. In October, 1861, he entered the field as
   Colonel of the Forty-first Ohio. He remained
   in the field throughout the war, becoming
   a Brigadier-General in 1862 and a Major-
   General in 1864. The brevet of Major-Gen-
   eral in the regular army was bestowed upon him
   in March, 1865. Shortly afterward he was regu-
   larly commissioned Colonel of the Thirty-eighth
   Infantry, from which he was transferred in 1869
   to the Sixth Infantry. In November, 1869, he
   went to Europe on leave of absence. He was
   with the Prussian Army during the investment
   of Paris, and on his return wrote a book called
   "School and Army of France and Germany."
   Frontier duty then occupied him until 1877,
   when he became Military Attache of the United
   States Legation at Vienna. In 1874 he wrote a
   book on "Barren Lands in the Interior of the
   United States." From his return from Vienna
   until Dec. 15, 1880, when he was appointed
   Chief Signal Officer, with the rank of Brigadier-
   General, he spent most of his time in Washing-
   ton.
   Gen. Hazen's temperament was aggressive and
   disputatious. During the latter part of his ca-
   reer, if not in early life, he made his way by a
   display of these characteristics that did not help
   his popularity among army officers. He mar-
   ried a daughter of Washington McLean, of Cin-
   cinnati, and social influences came to his aid in
   getting the post of Signal Officer and perhaps in
   retaining it. It had been filled by a Brigadier-
   General. Much resentment was accordingly felt
   in the army that a Colonel should be ele-
   vated to it. The agitation at that time
   in favor of transferring the Signal Service
   to a civil department had many advocates
   in the army as a consequence of Gen. Hazen's
   promotion. His official life bore him a good deal
   of trouble in various ways, particularly in con-
   nection with the ventures into the arctic regions
   which he undertook to relieve. Of late, how-
   ever, he had been getting along quietly. He was
   very pleasantly situated in Washington, living in
   one of the finest houses in that city - a gift to his
   wife from her father - and enjoying means for
   all the social advantages to be had there, of
   which he was fond.
   1830–87, American general, b. West Hartford, near Hartford, Vt. In the Civil War he fought at Shiloh, Perryville, and Murfreesboro, and in the Chattanooga campaign. Promoted to major general of volunteers (1864), he led a division in General Sherman’s campaign through Georgia and the Carolinas. After the war he served many years in the West. His criticism of army contracts and the post-trader system helped to expose the misdealings of William Worth Belknap in the War Dept. Hazen was appointed chief signal officer in 1880. As ex officio head of the Weather Bureau, he organized the polar expedition of Adolphus W. Greely.
   ***********************
   Ancestry.com. Ohio Biographical Sketches, 1876 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: MyFamily.com, Inc., 2000. Original data: The Biographical Encyclopedia of Ohio of the Nineteenth Century. Columbus, Franklin Co., OH, USA: Galaxy Publishing Co., 1876.
   Name: General William Babcock Hazen
   was born at West Hartford, Windsor county, Vermont, September 27th, 1830. His parents were Stillman and Ferone (Fenno) Hazen. Their ancestors were from Connecticut, and members of the Hazen family, serving with distinction in the war of the Revolution. Stillman Hazen removed to Huron, Portage county, Ohio, in 1833. Of his family of three sons and three daughters, William B. was next to the youngest. After receiving a good common school education, he was made a cadet at West Point, entering there about the time he came of age. After he was graduated, in June, 1855, he was made a Brevet Second Lieutenant in the 4th Infantry, and sailed in September to join his regiment, at Fort Reading, on the Pacific coast. He served throughout the Indian troubles in Oregon, and in 1856 built Fort Yamhill. Being promoted to a Second Lientenancy in the 8th Infantry, he proceeded to Texas in the fall of 1856 to join his regiment at Fort Davis. During the Indian troubles in western Texas and New Mexico he served with great credit, and was several times complimented in general orders. In the fall of 1859, while in a hand-to-hand encounter with a Camanche brave, he received severe gunshot wounds. After this, and while convalescent, citizens of Texas presented him with a sword for services rendered on the frontier. Early in 1860 he left Texas, and the same year was brevetted a First Lieutenant for gallant conduct in that department, and in the following spring was promoted to a full Lieutenancy. When he had sufficiently recovered from his wounds to go on duty, he was made Assistant Professor of Infantry Tactics at West Point. In September, 1861, after repeatedly requesting to be sent into active service, he was given leave of absence with authority to take command of the 41st Ohio Infantry. After being stationed for a few weeks at Gallipolis, he reported to General Buell at Louisville, and on the 6th of January, 1862, was appointed to command the 19th Brigade, Army of the Ohio. In the succeeding April he took part in the battle of Pittsburgh Landing, and in a charge at the head of his troops captured two batteries and a large number of prisoners. He moved with the army to the siege of Corinth, and afterward served in northern Alabama until ordered to take command of the post at Murfreesboro'. His brigade made a determined stand in the battle at this point, and for this and other soldierly qualities, its commander was made a Brigadier-General. During 1863 he was very active in the military district, and at Chickamauga was in the hottest part of the battle, his being the last organized command to leave the field. His brigade was engaged in several successful military operations after this, and his personal courage was conspicuous on many occasions. In August, 1864, he was transferred to the Army of the Tennessee, and placed in command of the 2d Division of the 15th Army Corps. He commanded this division in the "march to the sea," and was detailed by Sherman to storm Fort McAllister, near Savannah. This he accomplished successfully, capturing the garrison, ordnance, and everything connected with its armament. In January, 1865, he was sent with his division to South Carolina, and participated in several engagements in that campaign. For bravery displayed in the capture of Fort McAllister, he was created a Major-General, and soon after appointed to command the 15th Army Corps. Since the war he has been in continued service, and in the army holds the rank of Colonel and Brevet Brigadier-General.

-------------------- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Babcock_Hazen

William Babcock Hazen (September 27, 1830 – January 16, 1887) was a career United States Army officer who served in the Indian Wars, as a Union general in the American Civil War, and as Chief Signal Officer of the U.S. Army. His most famous service was defending "Hell's Half Acre" at the Battle of Stones River in 1862.

Early life and military career

Hazen was born in West Hartford, Vermont, but moved to Ohio at the age of three. He spent his boyhood in the town of Hiram and formed a close personal friendship with future President James A. Garfield. He graduated from the United States Military Academy, in 1855, and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the 4th U.S. Infantry. Before the Civil War, he served primarily in the Pacific Northwest and Texas, where he was wounded severely on November 3, 1859, during a fight with the Comanches along the Llano River. He was absent on sick leave until 1861.

Civil War

Soon after the fall of Fort Sumter, he was promoted to captain of the 8th U.S. Infantry, and by October 29, 1861, he was Colonel of the 41st Ohio Infantry. Starting in January 1862, he commanded a brigade in the Army of the Ohio, under Maj. Gen. Don Carlos Buell. His first major battle was Shiloh, where Buell's army arrived on the second day (April 7, 1862), in time to counterattack the Confederate army for a Union victory.

In the fall of 1862, Hazen fought under Buell at Perryville. His brigade was reorganized into the XIV Corps (later to be known as the Army of the Cumberland) under Maj. Gen. William S. Rosecrans, and, in this organization, Hazen served in his most famous engagement, the Battle of Stones River, at Murfreesboro, Tennessee. On December 31, 1862, the Confederate forces under Gen. Braxton Bragg delivered a devastating assault that caught Rosecrans by surprise and drove his forces back three miles (5 km), leaving their backs to the Stones River. Hazen's brigade defended a small cedar forest known by the locals as "Round Forest". Hazen and Brig. Gen. Charles Cruft were at a salient in the Union line, crushing of which would have given the Confederate a complete victory. Maj. Gens. George H. Thomas and Lovell H. Rousseau, Hazen's division commander, concentrated artillery to support them. Several Confederate attacks were beaten off. Their defense was so spirited against heavy odds that they arguably saved the Union line. The 4-acre (16,000 m2) Round Forest is now known informally as "Hell's Half Acre". Hazen was wounded in the shoulder during the fight and was promoted to brigadier general, effective November 29, for his gallantry. Months after the battle, a monument was erected by veterans of the fight in a small Union cemetery at the site. This is considered to be the oldest monument erected on a Civil War battlefield.

Hazen continued with the Army of the Cumberland through the successful Tullahoma Campaign, the serious Union defeat at the Battle of Chickamauga in XXI Corps, and the victorious Battle of Chattanooga in IV Corps. Hazen's brigade played a major role in the crossing at Brown's Ferry near Chattanooga that, together with the arrival of troops under Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker, opened the line of supply or "Cracker Line" to the Army of the Cumberland, penned into its defenses by the Confederates. Hazen was promoted to brevet major in the regular army for Chickamauga and brevet lieutenant colonel for Chattanooga. He served under Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman in the Atlanta Campaign, the March to the Sea, and the Carolinas Campaign, in the Army of the Cumberland and then in the Army of the Tennessee. He distinguished himself at the Battle of Pickett's Mill while still leading a brigade in IV Corps. His brigade had to attack without adequate support and suffered badly. Later, asked where his brigade was, Hazen replied, "Brigade, Hell, I have none. But what is left of it is over there in the woods."

Hazen was elevated to division command in XV Corps late in the Atlanta Campaign. During Sherman's March to the Sea, Hazen's division distinguished itself in the capture of Fort McAllister, Georgia, on December 13, 1864. This action opened communications between Sherman's army group and the United States Navy. He was promoted to brevet colonel in the regular army in September 1864 and to major general of volunteers on December 13, 1864. Very late in the war, he commanded the XV Corps of the Army of the Tennessee and was eventually promoted to brevet major general in the regular army, March 13, 1865.

Postbellum career

As the U.S. Army was drawn down following the war, Hazen was redesignated as colonel of the 38th U.S. Infantry (a Buffalo Soldier regiment, one of four such infantry regiments) in July 1866 and transferred to the 6th U.S. Infantry in March 1869. He served primarily on the Western frontier, but also visited Europe as an observer during the Franco-Prussian War. One of Hazen's most important roles on the frontier was handling the negotiations that preceded the Battle of Washita River. Hazen offered testimony in one of the procurement corruption scandals that rocked the administration of President Ulysses S. Grant, which resulted in the resignation of Grant's Secretary of War, William W. Belknap. The Belknap scandal was tied to other disputes over promotions and squabbles over credit for victories in the Civil war. One of the squabbles pitted Hazen against Maj. Gen. David S. Stanley over the exact location of the monument at Stone's River. Stanley, who was fighting other generals over credit for the Union victory at the Second Battle of Franklin, argued that the monument was in the wrong place. Stanley was a friend of Belknap, which ties the controversies together.

Hazen also engaged in controversy by criticizing George Armstrong Custer's book Life on the Plains in one of his own books. (Custer had criticized Hazen's dealings with chief Black Kettle before Washita River.) Hazen's relationships with Custer and with his superiors in the post-war army were such that the writer Ambrose Bierce called him "The best hated man I ever knew". Hazen even managed to offend Lt. Gen. William T. Sherman, a former friend and an ally against Belknap.

On December 15, 1880, President Rutherford B. Hayes promoted Hazen to brigadier general and appointed him Chief Signal Officer of the U.S. Army, a post he held until his death. His tenure was noted for focusing his department on basic research, rather than the practical matters that occupied his predecessor, Albert J. Myer. But he also continued to generate public controversy. One of the duties of the U.S. Army Signal Corps at the time was the management of the Weather Service and Hazen criticized the government's lack of response to the distress of the International Polar Year expedition to Fort Conger, Lady Franklin Bay (on Ellesmere Island, Canada). The expedition, led by Lieutenant Adolphus Greely, departed in the summer of 1881, and in 1882, a scheduled resupply effort failed, leaving the 25 men of the expedition without support to survive the winter about 500 miles (800 km) from the North Pole. In 1883 a rescue party commanded by Lt. Ernest A. Garlington also failed to the stranded party. By the time the rescue expedition of June 1884 reached Greely, only he and six of his command remained alive. Hazen publicly criticized Secretary of War Robert Todd Lincoln for his handling of the affair, citing his refusal to send further assistance after the failure of Garlington's rescue mission, until Greeley's wife, Henrietta, forced Lincoln to act in response to outraged public opinion. Lincoln censured Hazen for his public criticisms and Hazen was court-martialed in 1885, resulting in a mild reprimand from President Chester A. Arthur. The newspapers, however, backed Hazen against Secretary Lincoln.

Hazen married Mildred McLean, daughter of Washington McLean, the owner of The Washington Post. After his death, she married Admiral George Dewey on November 9, 1899.

Hazen died in Washington, D.C., having been taken ill after attending a reception held by President Grover Cleveland, and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. The New York Times, in its obituary, called Hazen "aggressive and disputatious", traits that served him well on the battlefield but made him powerful enemies in peace time. Hazen Bay in Alaska is named in his honor.

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Maj. General William Babcock Hazen (USA)'s Timeline

1830
September 27, 1830
West Hartford, Windsor Co., VT
1871
1871
Age 40
1887
January 16, 1887
Age 56
Washington, DC