Brigadier General Godfrey Weitzel

Brigadier General Godfrey Weitzel was the commander of the forces occupying the right wing of the Union lines at Port Hudson.

Weitzel was born on November 1, 1835 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  He graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1855 and was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant of Engineers.  From 1855 to 1860, he served on the construction and repair of fortifications on the lower Mississippi, was Chief Engineer on the fortifications at Cincinnati, and taught Civil and Military Engineering at West Point. In January 1860, he was assigned as 1st Lieutenant to Company A of the Engineers and sent to Washington, D.C. where Company A became the bodyguard for President Abraham Lincoln at his inauguration.

When war began, he went with Company A to Fort Pickens, Florida.  Ordered to Washington in December 1861, he was placed in command of Company C of the Engineers in the Army of the Potomac.  Ordered to the staff of Major General Ben Butler as Chief Engineer for the New Orleans expedition, his knowledge of Forts Jackson and St. Philip enabled the Fleet to successfully pass those forts, and take the city of New Orleans.  He became Assistant Military Commander and Acting Mayor of New Orleans.  Promoted to Brigadier General August 29, 1862, he led his Brigade at Bayou LaFourche, Bayou Teche, Sabine Pass, and later commanded a division on the right wing at Port Hudson.  Weitzel became full major-general of volunteers on 7 November 1864, and in March and April, 1865, was in charge of all troops north of the Potomac River during the final operations against General Robert E. Lee's army, taking possession of Richmond on 3 April, 1865.

After the war, Weitzel returned to the Army Engineers.  He died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19 March, 1884.


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