Colonel Henry W. Birge

Colonel Henry Wagner Birge (shown above as a Brigadier General) was a brigade commander in General Grover's division at the time of the May 27th assault.  His men unsuccessfully attacked Fort Desperate and took heavy casualties.  When General Paine was wounded during the June 14th assault on the Priest Cap, Colonel Birge was ordered to assume his command, and he directed the continuing, but ultimately failed attack.  Later, when General Banks called for a thousand volunteers to form a storming party to mount a "forlorn hope" attack, Colonel Birge volunteered to lead it.  Birge drilled and trained this party, but the surrender of the Confederates came before the attack could be mounted.

Birge was born on August 25, 1825 at Hartford, Connecticut.  He was appointed colonel of the 13th Connecticut Infantry Regiment in winter, 1861.  The regiment was assigned to General Butler and arrived in Louisiana in March, 1862.  After the surrender of Port Hudson, Birge was promoted to Brigadier General and participated in the Red River Campaign of 1864.  Later he was at the Battle of Cedar Creek in Virginia.

Birge died on June 1, 1888 at New York, NY and was buried at Yantic Cemetery, Norwich, CT.


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