NYPL RESEARCH LIBRARIES
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Cold Spring Harbor, Long Island
This Book was acquired by
from ^'W^'^^^-a'-g^-Tl^t-^^t^t /- 3il
HENRY GODDARD THOMAS
©cncval t)cunj (&oiiiiavI)
1837 - 1897
THE mw YORK
ASTUK, LK.NdX AW
TILDKN fOl NflAlluNS
« 1S50 L
THE LAKESIDE PRESS
Henry Goddard Thomas, the eldest son
of William Widgery and Elizabeth White God-
dard Thomas, was born in Portland, Maine,
April 5, 1837. He came of sturdy New Eng-
land stock, tracing back on his father's side
to Isaiah Thomas, publisher of the first Bible
in New England, and William Widgery, Judge
and Member of Congress ; and on his mother's
side descended from Timothy Pickering, pres-
ident of the war board in Revolutionary times.
Secretary of State and Postmaster General in
Washington's administration, and General
in the Revolutionary War, and Dr. John
Goddard of Portsmouth, New Hampshire,
who bore the unique distinction, as Charles
Sumner once said, of being the only man who
having been dul}^ elected to the United States
Senate absolutely would not go.
As a boy he attended Master Jackson's and
later Master Libby's schools in Portland.
He entered Bowdoin and was a member of
the Theta Delta Chi Fraternity of that Col-
lege. His final two years of college life were
spent at Amherst, where he was graduated in
185S, receiving the degree of A. B. In July,
1865, he was unanimously elected an honorary
6 MEMOIR OF
member of the Phi Beta Kappa Fraternit\' of
Amherst College, and at the same time received
the degree of A. M. At Bowdoin the degree
of A. B. ad euild^m was conferred upon him
At the age of twenty-one the sub-committee
of the Portland High School came to him and
offered him the place of First Assistant. He
declined, sa^'ing he had never taught. Upon
being told that discipline was the present,
urgent need, he accepted the position.
He read law, 1859-61, in the offices of Judge
Edward Fox and of Josiah H. Drummond,
Esq., and was admitted to the Cumberland
bar at Portland, Maine; also, later, to the
Oklahoma bar, Oklahoma Territory-.
At the breaking out of the Rebellion, 1861,
3-oung Thomas, then twenty-four years of age,
volunteered for the defense of the Union, raised
a compau}' and entered the war, as Captain,
Compan}- G, Fifth Maine Volunteers. He first
" smelled powder" at Bull Run. His Colonel,
Mark H. Bunnell, afterward member of Con-
gress from ^linnesota, said of him : " Captain
Thomas exhibited a coolness and courage not
surpassed bj- anj- other on the field."
Gen. O. O. Howard, commander of brig-
ade, endorses this. " On the daj- of battle,"
he said, "I found 3-011 working hard to rallj'
a broken line." From this and other recom-
mendations Captain Thomas was appointed a
HEXRY GODDARD THOMAS. 7
Captain in the United States Armv, August
5, 1861 ; having been mustered out, as Cap-
tain of the Fifth ]\Iaine, August 26, 1S61.
During the remainder of that vear and the
following \-ear he was engaged in recruiting
service and as mustering officer.
By the recommendation of Governor Andrew
he was nominated bv Brig.-Gen. Daniel Ull-
man, February 26, 1863, as Colonel of one of
the regiments of colored troops which General
Ullman was authorized to raise. The nomi-
nation was approved by the Secretary of War,
March 4, 1S63, and on March 20, 1863, Captain
Thomas was mustered into ser\-ice as Colonel
of the colored regiment then or subsequentlv
kno\\n as the Second Regiment U. S. \'olun-
teers, which was later designated as the Sev-
enth Infantry, Corps d'Afrique, and finally
became the Seventy-ninth U. S. Colored Troops.
He was the first regular officer to accept a
In Louisiana he contracted malarial fever
which developed first into a gastric and after-
\vard a typhoid fever. His 3-outli and fine
constitution enabled him to take the field
again with his company, the Eleventh U. S.
Infantry, serving with them through the cam-
paign of 1S63, and being present in action at
Snicker s Gap, Bristol, Rappahannock, Braudv
\\'ine and Mine Run.
lu the winter of 1S63-64 he was again
8 MEMOIR OF
appointed Colouel, this time of the Nine-
teenth U. S. Colored Troops. After raising
his regiment in Maryland he was placed in
command of Camp Biruey, near Baltimore, the
largest post in the Middle Department, con-
sisting of nearl}' three thousand men. He
joined General Buruside April i8th, and May
3d was assigned to command the vSecond Brig-
ade, Fourth Division, Nintli Corps. This
brigade was composed entirely of raAv, colored
troops. He was obliged to take his staff from
captains and lieutenants of the brigade ; not
one had served on staff before, and but one had
ever been a commissioned officer. At starting,
the brigade numbered but thirteen hundred
men; later on, even in spite of heavy losses,
it increased to about four thousand, as almost
ever}- week brought a large number of recruits,
and constant work was required to drill and
discipline this new material.
Taking the field (Ami}- of the Potomac) at
the head of three regiments at the commence-
ment of hostilities in April, 1864, he took part
in all the battles of his command, — the Wil-
derness, Spottsylvania, Petersburg, Explosion
of the Mine, Weldon Railroad, Hatcher's
Run, Ya., — to the taking of Richmond,
when he was assigned to the only separate
command, that of Manchester, ^^irginia, where
he extinguished the fires set b}' their own
people and saved millions of property; saved
HENRY GODDARD THOMAS. 9
the mills, operated them and fed the people.
He wa.s transferred to the Army of the James,
Twent3'-fifth Corps, about New Year's, 1865,
and commanded the First Division of that
corps for a short period, as also the corps tem-
porarily in the absence of General Weitzel.
General Thomas was made Brigadier-
General December 9, 1864, at the age of
twenty-seven. In recommending him Gen-
eral Burnside sa^'s: " His uniform good
conduct, particularl}' his conspicuous gallan-
try before Petersburg, July 30th, entitle him
to the favorable consideration of the depart-
ment." General Weitzel, taking leave of him
at the close of the war, says: "His brigade
is and alwa3-s has been one of the finest in
my corps." Gen. Benjamin F. Butler, recom-
mending him for Colonel (regular) at the
close of the war, sa3'S : " His record as a true-
hearted and attentive officer stands among the
highest on every report of action or inspection."
Upon one occasion, during mustering and
disbursing dutv in Boston in the winter
of 1861-62, when General Thomas was
alone in the office, all others being off on duty.
Governor Andrew sent his adjutant-general,
and finally came himself, to say that two reg-
iments which were in camp, one some twelve
miles from Boston, the other further and in
an opposite direction, were losing their men
every hour, and they feared that under cover
of the night so many might slip away that
lO MEMOIR OF
there might not be enough to muster a regi-
ment. The General, then a j'outh of twent}'-
four, arranged with the Governor to have relays
of horses in each direction and a driver who
would dare force them at a gallop over the
roads. He rode over fifty miles that night at
break-neck speed, mustered his two regiments,
and at lo A.M., without having tasted food,
awaited the Governor with the muster-rolls,
extended and finished. This made Governor
Andrew his friend — a friendship that lasted
while Governor Andrew lived.
In January, 1S65, after being moved from
the Army of the Potomac to that of the James,
he found on his line that the enemy had cap-
tured a salient point which they had turned
into a veritable bloody angle. One evening,
personallj' heading four picked companies, he
re-took the lost ground. General Butler hear-
ing of this sent for him and had the matter
minutel}^ explained. Prior to these exciting
episodes, arrangements had been made for the
reception of Mrs. Thomas at camp, of which
fact General Butler was aware. After dis-
posing of militar}' matters General Butler
addressed General Thomas as follows: "I
thought your wife was coming."
General Thomas — " She is."
General Butler — "When?"
General Thomas — " Friday."
HENRY GODDARD THOMAS. II
General Butler — "Well, then, it's time
3'ou were off."
General Thojl^s — " But uu- quartermas-
ter goes in my place."
General Butler — "Why?"
General Thomas — " Because I want to
get that broken line across to suit me."
General Butler — "And what about meet-
ing your wife? "
General Tho:\ias — "Anybody can safely
escort IMrs. Thomas, but no one has quite
the interest I have to fix that revetment. I
took it in person, and the Lord willing I'm
going to hold it."
General Butler — "^^'hat's your quarter-
master's name? "
General Thomas — "Captain S. x*\pping-
General Butler — (writing in his note-
book, tearing out a leaf and giving it to
General Thomas) "Very well, give him that."
This proved to be an order on the captain
of his despatch boat to transport the captain
and the lad\- in his charge and show them
ever}^ attention. In this wa}- they escaped
the dirt}', over-crowded, regular boats, with
all sorts of such hard characters on board as
follow in the wake of a great army. It
is needless, perhaps, to add after that that
General Thomas was set down as one of But-
12 MEMOIR OK
Soon after the close of the war he was
appointed Major Forty-first Infantry and
declined it, because his medical advisers held
that a return to the extreme .South in his case
would bring death or permanent invalidism.
General Thomas's subsequent army life
was as follows: Portland, Maine, October,
1866, to September, 1867; Fort Wood, from
September, 1867, to expiration of detail ;
Freedmen's Bureau in Kentucky and Vir-
ginia to spring of 1869; joined regiment
at St. Paul, serving at Fort Snelling, Fort
Totten, D. T. ; at Fort Ransom, D. T., in
command of troops protecting construction of
Northern Pacific Railroad from Cheyenne
River to Missouri River, 1872; stationed at
Fort Snelling, from October, 1S72, to the
spring of 1876; removed Wennebago Indians
from Wisconsin, winter of 1874-75; on duty
with government exhibits at Philadelphia
Centennial, 1876; at Fort Fred Steel, Wyo-
ming, until the fall of 1878; promoted to be
]\Iajor Fourth U. S. Infantry in 1876, and in
1878 transferred to the Pay Corps, stationed
successively at Omaha, Fort Sidney, Omaha,
Fort Buford, D. T., Pueblo and Denver; and
on sick leave dating from March 7, 1884.
After more than thirty years of army ser-
vice, nineteen of them on the Frontier among
the Indians, and four full years in the war,
his health failed so that he could no longer
HKNRV GODDARD THOMAS. 1 3
staud the strain of active service, and at his
own request he was retired, July 2, 1891.
Reference has been made to General
Thomas's literary- tastes. His love of music
was very marked. He made quite a stud}' of
its technical difficulties and played iipon the
piano with expression and skill. He was
fond of 3'achting, driving and horseback ; and
of travel, mingling a keen stud}' of human
nature with a genuine love of architecture
and fine works of art.
In quotation he was quick and read}-, the
right phrase springing instantly to his lips,
for he was a good scholar and memorized
remarkably well. Naturally this quick wit
and fondness for books set his own pen in
action. He had a literary style of a rather
rare distinction — epigrammatic, spirited and
keen. As illustrations of his ability as a
writer, one might quote from an exceedingly
accurate and interesting chapter which he
contributed to his brother's book, " Sweden
and the Swedes," entitled "The King and
His Men." It gives an excellent idea of the
military manoeuvres of the army at the bien-
nial grand encampment, with accounts of the
mock charges and encounters reproduced with
a noteworthy verve and originality.
The same graphic force and clear-cut liter-
ary style are prominent in his " Century War
Series " contribution on the colored troops at
14 MKMOIR OF
Petersburg. The fearful assault aud charge
into the crater^ followiug the mine explosion,
is given with great vigor, and the recital
has the unmistakable story teller's art where
General Thomas writes out the bars of
" We-e looks like ine-en a-a-marchin' on,
We looks li-ike ineii-er-war."
Or again where he describes some of his
men, in the midst of bloodshed and slaughter,
spell-bound by the heroic action of young
Lieutenant Pennell, " this superb bo}-," he
says, " who was an onl}- child of an old Mass-
achusetts clergjman, and to me as Jonathan
to David." A characteristic production also
is his " Twentj'-two Hours' Prisoner of War
in Dixie," given at a meeting of the Loyal
Legion and recently published by them,
where a wonderfully powerful description of
the battlefield strewn with the dead intro-
duces his recital, merging into a most realistic
and thrilling account of his entry b}- mistake
into the rebel camp and of how he fared
in the enem3''s midst. Here again unity,
strong construction and the use of climax
mark the natural raconteur and writer — the
man who can tell a story or can equally well
deliver it bj^ the stroke of an effective pen.
Upon the occasions of General Thomas's
various promotions many especiall}' interest-
ing, recommendator}' letters were forthcom-
HKNRY GODDARD THOMAS. 15
iug; from the officers and men of the Colored
Troops (though at this time General Thomas
had resigned the Colonelcy of the Nineteenth
U. vS. Colored Troops) ; from Governor An-
drew, endorsing these rec[uests; from \\^illiam
Pitt Fessenden, Governors Coburn, Washburn
and Cony, Senators Morrill and Hamlin, Gen-
eral Burnside, Major Casey and IMajor Gordon,
Colonel Bunnell, Colonel Howard and others.
Governor Andrew writes to Secretar}' Stan-
ton, November 6, 1S64, as follows:
" I have the honor to join in the recommen-
dations of Col. H. G. Thomas, a Captain of
the Eleventh U. S. Infantry and Colonel of
the Nineteenth U. S. Colored Troops, to be
appointed Brigadier-General of Colored Troops.
He is one of the first officers who in the Reg-
ular Army sought an appointment in this
branch of the service, in which he is reported
to have accjuitted himself with honor.
"I had occasion to form the acquaintance
of Colonel Thomas while he was on staff duty
in Massachusetts during the year 1862, where
I received an agreeable impression of his
fidelity' and capacit}' as a useful and zealous
In 1884 Governor Robie wrote to General
Rochester, Pajanaster General U. S. A., in
regard to a change of station for General
Thomas : " I have been long acquainted with
1 6 MEMOIR OF
the members of his family in Maine. The}^
are held in high estimation by myself and
the citizens of onr vState and are descrying of
great consideration for what they haye done
for its religious, political, social and material
prosperity. I understand from his \yorth3^
and venerable father, who is now in advanced
3'ears [Mr. Thomas, senior, liv^ed, strong in
mind and body, thirteen j'ears after this
date I, tliat tlie General is suffering in his
health in consequence of long-continued ser-
vice in the extreme western portions of our
countr3-. I think that it is so. I need not
add that his meritorious seryice in the ami}-,
covering over a period of twenty-two years,
has won for him the respect and regard of his
fellow-citizens ; and the earnest wishes in his
behalf of his family and many friends, who
hold high and honorable positions in Maine,
are entitled to consideration. I trust, my
dear General, that the application of Pa^--
niaster Thomas, when made, may be in the
interests of the seryice and maj- thereby
receive \ our favorable action." To which
application the Paymaster General made a
courteous and interested response, suggest-
ing an exchange of stations.
It was not in General Thomas's nature to
be idle. From time to time he mafic trips to
luirope for his health and for the intellectual
benefits that only such culture can bring. In
HENRY GODDARD THOMAS. 1 7
Janiiar}', 1893, he went to Oklahoma City and
there took up his residence. With energy
and ardor he entered into the life of the new
West, where he made man}' friends. He
espoused the cause of single statehood. He
became President of the Oklahoma National
Bank, President of the Oklahoma City Water
Company, Treasurer of the National Loan and
Investment Company, and was talked of for
Senator in the event of Oklahoma's admission
Upon going to Oklahoma he received the
following letter from Gen. Benjamin F.
to whom it may concern :
Whereas, Gen. Henry G. Thomas, U. S.
Arni}- (retired), is aboiit to make his home in
the far West, and whereas I alone of his com-
manding officers (save General Howard, now
absent in Europe) survive, and therefore have
the necessar}' personal knowledge in the prem-
ises, I therefore wish to speak now as unqual-
ifiedly in the present as I have in the past of
his patriotism, skill, courage and ability as
an officer and his accomplishments and char-
acter as a gentleman. His family, moreover,
is equal to that of any in his section and
Benjamin F. Butler.
An undermining disease, contracted during
the war, from which he had been suffering
for man}- years, resulted finally in pneumonia
iS MEMOIR OF
and extreme prostration. He could not rally
at the close of an illness of fonr months, and
at the time of his father's death was too ill
to travel. He died Jannar}- 23, 1897, at Okla-
homa, his brother, William W. Thomas, Jr.,
being with him at the last.
General Thomas left a son, Henry G., and
three danghters. Mar}- L. T., wife of Lient.
William N. Blow, U. S. Army, stationed at
Fort Wingate, New Mexico, Louise Webster
and Ellen Widgery.
TRIBUTES BY THE PRESS.
The following extracts from the press are
appended : —
GEX. H. G. THOMAS, FORMERLY
Oklahoma City, Jan. 23d. — Gen. H. G.
Thomas, of Portland, ^le., died here to-day.
He owned the Oklahoma City Water Works,
and had other large investments in the
Henrj? Goddard Thomas, Brigadier and
Brevet Major-General, U. S. \'., Major, Brevet
Lientenant-Colonel, Colonel and Brigadier-
General of the United States Ami}-, was the
son of the late Hon. VV^illiam W. Thomas,
Portland's war ]\Ia3'or. He was gradnated
from Amherst College in 1S5S. He entered
the army as Captain of Company G, Fifth
Maine. He participated in many battles of
the war. He was retired July 2, 1891, after
a continuous service of thirt}' years, at his own
request, on account of impaired health.
— Hai// /;<<,• Aw r/?. C.J Post.
22 MEMOIR OF
DID GALLANT SERVICE IN THE WAR.
DEATH OK GENERAL HENRY G. THOMAS,
ANNOUNCED FROM OKLAHOMA.
Portland, Me., Jan. 23, 1897. Gen. Henry
G. Thomas, whose death at Oklahoma was
annoiinced in a despatch from there to-day,
was a son of the late Hon. William W. Tlunnas,
President of the Canal National Bank, who
died a few weeks ago, in his 94th year, and a
brother of the Hon. William W. Thomas, Jr.,
ex-Miuister to Sweden and Norway.
General Thomas was born in Portland fiftj--
uine years ago, was graduated from Amherst
in 1858, and a few years later was admitted to
the bar in this count}'. At the In-eaking out
of the war he enlisted as a private. Fifth Maine
Volunteers, served as captain of that company
from June to August, and was then trans-
ferred to the Eleventh United States infantry,
with rank of captain. After the first battle
of Bull Run he was appointed Colonel of the
Second U. S. colored regiment, and engaged in
the actions of Bristoe, Rappahannock and
Mine Run. He then organized the Nineteenth
U. S. Colored Regiment and became its Colonel
in December, 1863. In Februar}', 1864, he was
in command at Camp Birney, Md., and he led
a brigade in the Ninth corp. Army of the
Potomac, from May to November, 1864, being
engaged in the battles of the Wilderness,
vSpottsj'lvania and other important engage-
ments. He was made Brigadier-General of
Volunteers Nov. 30, 1864, and transferred to
the Army of the James. He led a brigade
HKNRY GODDARD THOMAS. 23
and division in the Twentj'-eighth Corps of
that army and temporarily commanded the
corps. He received the brevets of Major for
gallant service at Spottsylvania, Lientenant-
Colonel for service at Petersburg, and Colonel,
Brigadier-General and Major-Geueral for ser-
vices during the war.
He was honorably mustered out of the vol-
unteer service in 1866, but remained in the
U. S. Army as Paymaster, with the rank of
Major, for 3-ears.
— Boston Herald.
A GALLANT OFFICER DEAD.
MAJOR HENRY G. THOMAS PASSFIS AWAY
AFTER LONG SERVICE.
Washington, D. C, Jan. 25th. — The War
Department has received notice of the death
of Major Henry G. Thomas, retired, in Okla-
homa. IVIajor Thomas, a native of Maine,
entered the army in June, 1861, as captain of
the Fifth Maine Infantry, and was a Brevet
Major-General when he was mustered out as a
volunteer in 1866. He maintained his con-
nection with the Regular i\rmy as Major until
1 89 1, when at his request he was retired, hav-
ing served more than twenty years. He owed
his promotions during the war to gallant
conduct in the battles of Spottsylvania and
— San Francisco Call.
24 MEMOIR OF
GENERAL HEXRV G. THOMAS.
Portland, ]\Ie., Jan. 23d (special). — General
Henry G. Thomas died to-da}- in Oklahoma,
where he had been ill for some time. He
was a son of the late Hon. William W.
Thomas, of Portland, and a brother of W.
W. Thomas, Jr., ex-Minister to Sweden.
General Thomas was fifty-nine years of age.
He was born in Portland, and was gradnated
at Amherst College in 185S, and later admit-
ted to the bar. He enlisted as a private in
the Fifth Maine \"olnnteers in 1861, and was
Captain in that regiment from June to Angnst,
when he took the same rank in the Eleventh
Regular Infantry. He was present at the first
battle of Bnll Run. Being appointed Colonel
of the Second United States Colored Regiment
in Febrnary, 1S63, he was engaged in the
actions at Bristoe, Rappahannock and Mine
Run, \"a. He then organized the Nineteenth
Colored Regiment, and became its Colonel in
December, 1863. In Febrnary, 1S64, hewasin
command at Camp Birnej-, INId., and he led a
brigade in the Ninth Corps, Army of the
Potomac, from Alay to November. He was
made Brigadier-General of \^olnnteers on
November 30, 1864, and transferred to the
Army of the James. He led a brigade and a
division in the Twenty-fifth Corps of that
ami}', and temporarilv commanded the corps.
He was mustered ont of the volunteer service
in 1 866, but remained in the ITnited vStates
Armv as Pa^-master, with the rank of ]\Iajor,
for some years. General Thomas was the
first regular officer to accept the colonelcy of
colored troops. — yW.c )'(';7>- Tribune.
HENRY GODDARD THOMAS. 25
GKN. H. G. THOMAS DEAD.
PASSED AWAY YESTERDAY IN OKLAHOMA CITY.
WAS ONE OF Maine's most distinguished
SOLDIERS in civil WAR.
HAD ALSO SEEN MANY YEARS OE SERVICE
AGAINST T?IE INDIANS.
Portland, Me., Jan. 23.— Mr. Elias Thomas,
of thi.s city, received a telegram from Hou.
William W. Thomas, Jr., this afternoon an-
nouncing the death at Oklahoma City of Gen.
Henry G. Thomas, U. vS. A., retired.
General Thomas had a distinguished mili-
tary career. He was born in Portland, April
5, 1837, and was a son of the late Hon. Wil-
liam W. Thomas, of this city. He was mus-
tered into the service of the United States
May 27, 1S61, as Captain of Company G, P'ifth
Maine Regiment. He was in the first Bull
Run battle and was complimented for his cool-
ness and bravery by Col. Mark H. Bunnell.
In the same battle he won the applause of Gen.
O. O. Howard and was appointed Captain of
the Eleventh U. S. Infantry. He received, on
the recommendation of Governor Andrew of
]\Iassachusetts, a commission as Colonel of a
colored regiment, and was the first regular
officer to command a regiment of colored
He was made a Brigadier-General December
9, 1864, at the age of twenty-seven. This
promotion was given on recommendation of
General Burnside for " conspicuous gallantry
26 mk:\ioir of
before Petersburg." He was giveu the brevet
of colouel and Brigadier-Geueral U. S. A. and
Major-Geueral of vohniteers for distinguished
services through the entire war. General
Thomas was in the teniporar3' command of
the first division of the Twenty-fifth Corps in
1865, and was later in temporar^^ command of
He was an officer of the Regular Army after
the war and was almost constantlj' on active
duty. He was engaged in service against the
Indians and in 1S74 removed the W'enuebago
Indians from Wisconsin.
After thirty years of service General
Thomas retired and for some time lived in
Portland. He then went to Oklahoma City,
where he was extensively engaged in business
at the time of his death.
After retiring from the army General Thomas
traveled extensivel}'. He visited vSweden and
while there was present at a review of the
vSwedish army, and later wrote a vivid descrip-
tion of that event under the title of "The King
and His Men." He also wrote considerable
historical matter regarding the war.
During the war General Thomas was almost
constantly at the front, and won every promo-
tion bj' gallant conduct on the field of battle.
He was present at the battles of Bull Run,
Snicker's Gap, Bristoe, Rappahannock, Brand}'
Station, ]\Iine Run, all the battles of the Wil-
derness, Spottsylvania, Petersburg, the Mine
Explosion, Weldon Railroad, Hatcher's Run
and the taking of Richmond.
General Thomas was a member of the bar
of this county and also of Oklahoma. He
HENRY GOUDARD THOMAS. 27
was ineutioued for U. vS. Senator in the event
of the admission of the territorj' to statehood,
and also for the ofHce of Governor of the
territory. He was no politician and never
sought civil office.
When the news of his illness reached here
his brother, Hon. William W. Thomas, Jr.,
at once went on and was with him when he
died. General Thomas was one of the most
distinguished of the soldiers of INIaine in the
— Boston Globe, Jan. 2^.
GENERAL THOMAS DP:AD.
CLOSE OF THE LIFE OF A DLSTINGUISHED SOL-
DIER .-^ND CIVILIAN.
A special to The Leader 3-esterday an-
nounced the demise of Gen. Henry G.
Thomas, at Oklahoma Cit}^ at au earl}- hour
yesterday morning. The announcement will
create surprise and cause regret to hundreds
of people in the territory who were intimately
acquainted with the distinguished veteran and
who respected and loved him. The end was
peaceful and serene.
General Thomas was aged fift3--nine 3'ears,
and came to Oklahoma four 3'ears ago. He
located at Oklahoma City and became closely
identified with its business interests. He was
President of the Oklahoma City Water Works
and was interested in other public institutions.
General Thomas was ever3' inch a gentleman.
He served with distinction in the war, where
28 MEMOIR OF
he won his title. A brother of the deceased,
Hon. W. W. Thomas, Jr., was at his bedside
during his last hours. The funeral will take
place at 2 o'clock this afternoon from the Pres-
byterian Church at Oklahoma City. It will
be conducted by Colonel Stiles and a battalion
of the First Regiment, O. N. G. After the
service the remains will be taken to the depot
under military escort, and the body will be
sent to Portland, Maine, the old home of
the deceased, for interment. Governor Ren-
frow and staff officers, Colonel Huston, Major
Jennison, Major Niblack and Captain Uelane\-,
Captain Barnes and others will attend the
funeral from this cit}'. Company A, O. N. G.,
and the regimental band will leave on the
noon train to take part in the obsecjnies.
— Guthrie, O. T., Dai/y Leader, fan . 2^.
HKXRY GODDARl) THOMAS.
News of the death of Gen. H. G. Thomas
was received in this citj' Saturday afternoon.
General Thomas has been an ailing man for
man}' 3'ears, his infirmities dating back to the
closing daj'S of the civil war, in which he took
so conspicuous a part.
It is superfluous to mention General Thom-
as's militarj' record, known to all ; it is need-
less to say anj'thing about his ancestry' in the
city his ancestors have helped to build, and
where his kinspeople dwell to-day honored
amid troops of friends.
General Thomas was fifty-nine years old.
He was born in this city and was graduated at
HENRY GODDARD THOMAS. 29
Amherst College iu 1858, and was later
admitted to the bar.
General Thomas enlisted as a private in
the Fifth Maine \'olunteers in 1861, and was
Captain in that regiment from June to August,
when he was given the same rank in the Elev-
enth Regular Infantrj'.
He was present at the lirst battle of Bull
Run and was appointed Colonel of the vSecond
U. S. Colored Regiment in February-, 1863,
and engaged in the actions of Bristoe Station,
Rappahannock vStation and Mine Run, Vir-
ginia. He then organized the Nineteenth U.
S. Colored Regiment and became its Colonel
In Februar}', 1864, he was in command at
Camp Birnej-, Maryland, and he led a brig-
ade in the Ninth Corps, Arnij' of the Potomac,
from May to November, 1864, being engaged
in the battles of the Wilderness, SpottS3-lvania
and other important engagements.
He was made Brigadier-General of Volun-
teers November 30, 1864, and transferred to
the Army of the James. He led a brigade
and division in the Tvvent\'-fifth Corps of that
arni}' and temporarily commanded the corps.
During the war he received the brevets of
Major for gallant service at vSpottsylvania ;
Lieutenant-Colonel for services at Petersburg;
and Colonel, Brigadier-General and Major-
General for services during the war.
He was honorably mustered out of the vol-
unteer service in 1866, but remained in the
ITnited States Army as Paymaster, with the
rank of Major, for many j-ears, being retired
in 1 89 1.
30 MEMOIR OK
The immediate cause of Geueral Thomas's
death was pneiimonia, though he has been on
a sick-bed since vSeptember. A week ago
Satiirday his brother, Hon. W. W. Thomas,
Jr., heard of his dangerous illness and hast-
ened to his bedside, reaching Oklahoma last
The funeral took place in Oklahoma yes-
terday and the body will be brought to Port-
land for iuterment the coming Wednesdaj-.
— .hxus, Jan. 2^.
MILITARY FUNERAL .SERVICE
AT OKLAHOMA CITY.
GENERAL THOINIAS DEAD.
AT 6.30 YESTERDAY JIORNING GENERAL
THOMAS BREATHED HIS LAST.
A MILITARY FUNERAL TO-DAY.
AT PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH REV. MR. HAWLEY
WILL DELIVER THE FUNERAL ADDRESS.
Yesterda}^ morning at 6.30 Gen. Henry G.
Thomas breathed liis last, after a long illness.
The funeral will take place to-da}^ at 2 P. M.
at the Presbyterian Chitrch.
The funeral will be military and will be
conducted by the First Regiment, Oklahoma
National Guards and the sermon will be
preached by Rev. Mr. Hawley. The First
Regiment band will also attend. His remains
will be taken to Portland, Me., for burial.
General Thomas spent the summer in
Europe, returning to Oklahoma City in
General Thomas had been ill for some time,
but about a week ago, his doctors fearing his
illness might prove fatal, telegraphed his rel-
atives in Maine and his brother. Hem. W. W.
Thomas, Jr., immediately came on.
General Thomas has been a great aid in
the upbuilding of Oklahoma, having invested
as largely in Oklahoma Cit}' enterprises as
any other single individual. x'Yside from his
death being a blow to the city financially, the
34 MEMOIR OF
poor of the citj- will feel his death keenlj\
In his bosom beat a most kiudl}-, charitable
heart and man^- a poor familj- will mourn his
death. As an instance of his charit}-, a few
daj'S before Christmas he had a thoroiigh
canvass made of the need}- of the cit}' and
Christmas eve ever}- destitute family in the
city was bountifully provided for at General
General Thomas was a distinguished mem-
ber of a prominent fauiil}-. His father, Hon.
William W. Thomas, was the war maj-or of
Portland, Me., his brother, W. W. Thomas,
Jr., has been twice minister to »Sweden and
speaker of the Maine House of Representa-
tives, and his ancestors were amoug the first
colonists of New England.
His title of General was earned, not assumed.
He served nineteeti ^^ears of military service,
four 3'ears in the rebellion. At the age of
twentj'-seven he received and earned the title
of General for braver}' in battle.
— flailv OklalioDian , Jan. ^/.
an iiniposing funeral.
governor renfrow axd staff, companies
a and c, first rfxilment, and regi-
mental band attend general
The military funeral of Gen. Henry G.
Thomas, Sunday-, was a most sad and impos-
ing one. The weather was \&xy inclement
and prevented many from attending. The
HENRY GODDARD THOMAS. 35
bitterly cold wind, the frozen streets and the
strict discipline of the marching troops all
seemed to be allegorical of the rugged life
and death of a brave soldier and a gallant
defender of his countr}'.
Governor Renfrow and his staff, Company
A, First Regiment, O. N. G., and the First
Regiment Band arrived from Guthrie at 1.30
o'clock and shortly afterwards formed in line
at the armor}', where the\- were joined b}-
Companj' C of this city, and under the com-
mand of Colonel Stiles were marched to the
corner of Main and Robinson streets, where
the funeral procession was formed as follows :
First Regiment Band.
Company C, O. N. G., Captain Overholser,
Company A, O. N. G., Lieutenant Brewer,
Gun carriage bearing the casket, which
was wrapped in the flag, and the sword of the
dead soldier lying across the casket. On each
side of the casket marched the pall-bearers.
Col. J. H. Wheeler, Lieut.-Col. R. B. Huston,
Maj. Leslie G. Niblack and Capt. L. R.
Delanej' of the Governor's staff; Capt. C. A.
Barnes, Compan}- A, First Regiment, O. N.
G. ; First Lieut. A. W. Dunham, Company
G, First Regiment, O. N. G.
The riding horse of General Thomas. Car-
riage containing Hon. W. W. Thomas, Jr.,
brother of the deceased, and Governor Ren-
The procession marched to the Prcsb^'te-
rian Church, where short but impressive ser-
vices were held, conducted by the Rev. Mr.
^6 MEMOIR OK
After the services, the procession, headed
by the band playing a beantiful funeral
march, wended its way down the frozen streets
to the vSanta Fe depot, where the body of the
gallant soldier was sent to Portland, Me., its
last resting place.
— Daitv Oklahoiiiaii . Jan. 26.
FURTHER PRESS NOTICES.
CIVIL AND MILITARY CAREER OF GENERAL
Portland, Me., Jan. 30. — The announce-
ment of the death of Gen. Henry G. Thomas
took his friends here outside of his immediate
famil}- almost completely b}^ surprise. While
he had been for some years a resident of the
West, General Thomas came here every sea-
son and never lost his interest in his native
A JMajor-General at twenty-seven, his mili-
tary career was remarkably brilliant. He
was in the Regular Army, of which he was a
retired ofiEcer at the time of his death.
Warm hearted and generous to a fault,
brave, it was said, to rashness, he was the
very ideal of a dashing soldier.
He was here the past summer, but was far
from well at that time. He showed a deep
interest in political affairs, but even then he
may have understood that he was fighting his
last battle and that it must be a losing one.
He had as a soldier the confidence of his
commanding officers, and every promotion he
received was given him for services on the
field of battle. He was rapidly promoted, but
his advance was due to his own efforts.
He was known here simplj^ as a brilliant
soldier, but in the West he showed that he
had in him the material of which great busi-
ness men are made. There he succeeded in
40 MEMOIR OK
pushing many lines of business and made
them pa}'. His brother, Hon. W. W. Thomas,
Jr., was with him when he died.
— Boston Globe.
DEATH OK GEN. HENRY C. THOMAS IN
News of the death of Gen. H. G. Thomas
was received in this city ^-esterda}- afternoon.
It is superfluous to mention General Tliom-
as's militar}- record, and it is not necessary- to
speak of his ancestry in a city where his kins-
people dwell to-day honored and respected.
Henry Thomas was one of those boys, fresh
from collegiate life, who rallied to the defense
of the Union at the first call to arms. Just
graduated from Amherst and entering upon
the study of the law, he responded to his
countrj-'s call when Ivincoln appealed to the
patriotism and manhood of the North. Enlist-
ing in that grand old fighting regiment, the
Fifth Maine, as a private he came out of the
conflict with the straps of a Major-General
upon his sliapeh' shoulders. He had the
courage to take command of a colored regi-
ment when the negro was almost as much a
subject of ridicule at the North as at the
South, and he conducted those swarthy and
stalwart fellows through many a hard-fought
battle. For his meritorious services he was
given a commission in the Regular Arni}-, and
remained in the service until placed on the
retired list. After that he went to the newly
HENRY GODUARD THOMAS. 4 1
created territoiy of Oklahoma, and was one
of the makers of that new land.
General Thomas was lifty-niue ^ears old.
He was boru in this cit}', and was graduated
at Amherst College in 185S, and was later
admitted to the bar.
He enlisted as a private in the Fifth Maine
Volunteers in 186 1, and was Captain in that
regiment from June to August, when he was
given the same rank in the Kle\ enth Regular
He was present at the first battle of Bull
Run and was appointed Colonel of the .Second
U. S. Colored Regiment in Februar3', 1863,
and engaged in the actions at Bristoe Station,
Rappahannock Station and Mine Run, Yh-
ginia. He then organized the Nineteenth
U. S. Colored Regiment and became its
Colonel December, 1863.
In February, 1864, he was in command at
Camp Birnej', Mar3dand, and he led a brigade
in the Ninth Corps, Army of the Potomac,
from Ma}- to November, 1864, being engaged
in the battles of the Wilderness, Spottsylvania
and other important engagements.
He was made Brigadier-General of \'oluu-
teers November 30, 1864, and transferred to
the Army of the James. He led a brigade
and division in the Twentj'-fifth Corps of that
army, and temporaril}' commanded the corps.
During the war he received the brevets of
Major for gallant service at vSpottsylvania ;
Lieutenant-Colonel for services at Petersburg;
and Colonel, Brigadier-General and IMajor-
Geueral for services during the war.
He was honorably mustered out of the vol-
42 MEMOIR OF
iinteer service in 1866, but remained in the
v. S. Army as Paymaster, with the rank of
Major, for man}' j-ears.
The immediate cause of General Thomas's
death was pneumonia, though he has been on
a sick-bed since September. A week ago j-es-
terda}' his brother, Hon. W. W. Thomas, Jr.,
heard of his dangerous illness and hastened to
his bedside, reaching Oklahoma last IMondaj'.
The funeral takes place in Oklahoma to-da}',
and the body will be brought to Portland for
interment the coming Wednesday.
— SiDidaj Times, Jan. 24.
OBSEQUIES AT PORTLAND.
MEMORIAL ADDRESS BY
REV. ROLLIN T. HACK.
GRAND ARMY BURIAL SERVICE.
FUNERAL OF GENERAL THOMAS.
SERVICES AT HIS HOME.
ADDRESS DELIVERED BY REV. R. T. HACK,
OF THE SECOND PARISH.
The funeral of the late General Henry G.
Thomas took place from the homestead on
Danforth Street yesterday afternoon. A large
number of old friends of the family and of the
deceased gathered to pay the last tribute to
his memory. Delegations were in attendance
from the military order of the Loyal Legion,
the Fifth Maine Regiment Association, and
Bosworth Post, No. 2, G. A. R., of which
organizations General Thomas had been a
member. Among the men prominent in the
late war and in the councils of the state who
were present were Ex-Governor and General
Joshua Chamberlain, Ex-Governor and Colonel
Robie, Major-General Francis Fessenden, U.
S. A., retired, Captain Rogers, Second x'Vrtil-
lery, U. S. A., Col. H. R. Millett, Fifth Maine
Volunteer Infantr}^ Ex-Mayor and Maj. H.
S. Melcher, Twentieth Maine Volunteer In-
fantry, Capt. George E. Brown, Fifth Maine
^"olunteer Infantr}-, Rev. and IMaj. H. S. Birr-
rage, Maj. W. H. Green, Maine A'olunteer
Infantry, V. S. District Attorne}- and Col.
Albert W. Bradbury, Capt. George W. Verrill,
Seventeenth Maine Volunteer Infantr}^, Gen.
46 MEMOIR OF
Charles P. :Mattock.s, U. S. Volunteers, r^Iaj.
Charles H. Boyd, late of the U. S. Coast Sur-
vey, Hod. George F. Emery, Hon. Byron D.
Yerrill, Capt. George F. French, Docter Shan-
non and Mr. Noj^es of Saco, Messrs. Bailey
and Somerby, directors of the Canal National
Bank, Messrs. Fritz H. Jordan, E. M. Rand,
Esq., Charles E. Marwick and others.
The casket was placed in the front parlor,
draped with the American flag and literally
biiried in choice flowers, among which were a
beautiful wreath from the Loyal Legion and
a maltese cross from the Fifth Maine Asso-
ciation. The form of the deceased was attired
in the uniform of his full rank.
The services commenced with the singing
of the beautiful hymn, " Gathering Home,"
by the vSecond Parish choir, after which Rev.
Mr. Hack, pastor of the Second Parish, read
a .selection from Scripture. The choir then
sang " A Charge to Keep I Have," after which
Mr. Hack spoke as follows: —
Friends, we gather to pay the last lionors
to a soldier. I did not know General Thomas;
but he was one of those men who at the first
call sprang to the defense of his country.
The rumble of war has been lost in the dis-
tance of years. To a whole generation it is
but a tradition — a tradition kept alive by mon-
uments and memorial services, by a little
study of history and by the sacred memories
of a dear one who gave his life for his country.
Wc are being educated in these days to
look upon war as unspeakably horrible and
brutal and wicked. Great hearts have so felt
ever since at least the prophet Lsaiah declared
HENRY GODDARD THOMAS. 47
that the "armor of the armed man in the fray
aud the garments rolled in blood shall ever
be for burning, for fuel of fire."
But we are in danger of forgetting that war
ma}' be unspeakably glorious, a chastisement
but also a purification, a discipline but a crown-
ing as well. Such was our civil war, the sad-
dest and costliest known, but inevitable, and
glorious in that wrongs were righted and a
nation burst its own bonds of guilty peace
and indifference to the right and also struck
the shackles of slavery from millions of men
and women. Such was the war General
Thomas entered. He enlisted among the
first and was appointed Captain of Company
G, Fifth Maine. At Bull Run the whole
country learned that there was to be no holi-
da}' excursion, and here Captain Thomas, a
young man of twenty-four, was complimented
for his " coolness and bravery," and entered
upon a career of daring and valor that led to
a steady advancement in rank and honors.
It has been well said that his title of General
was earned, not assumed.
He was the first regular officer to command
a colored regiment, being made Colonel of
the Seventj'-ninth U. v'^. Colored Infantry in
March, 1S63, and not quite two years later
receiving the rank of Brigadier-General for
conspicuous gallantrv before Petersburg. It
was at Petersburg that General Thomas
charged with his troops through the "crater,"
up the slope bej-ond, against the enemy's
breastworks, where they were met by so ter-
rific a fire that only a handful of men came
out alive from that "hell" of fire and slaugh-
48 MKMOIR OK
ter. Through all the Wilderness campaign
he was present, having a part in those battles
that wasted our troops like snow under an
April sun. A list of the battles in which
General Thomas was engaged shows how
almost continuousl}' he was at the front dur-
ing the war. The strain of such service, the
privations that attended the life of a soldier
wM'ought their inevitable result. In those
five years were laid the foundations of that
disease which ended his life at the age of fift}'-
nine. He came of a long-lived stock and he
might well have looked forward to his more
than three-score and ten ^-ears. But the truth
is men who served their five j-ears in the war
and came out alive had forfeited from ten to
thirty ^-ears of their normal lifetime.
Honors earned are worth everything, but
we in these days of peace sometimes forget
what we owe the men who bought and con-
quered peace with honor, for us and our chil-
dren. And we sometimes forget the price that
the soldier paid, the abiding penalty that was
exacted from him through all his years of
strength, for those years of strength were too
often years of " labor and sorrow," because
the war was war, and sowed its dragon teeth
of trouble and disease.
I do not speak of those things simply to
glorify the memory of General Thomas, but
to recall to your minds the debt we owe the
men who put their years, their life, into the
crucible of patriotism that there might come
out the divine products, peace and liberty.
To me the empty sleeve, the halting step, the
bent form of the soldier are sacred, and we
HENRY GODDARD THOMAS. 49
should enshrine in our hearts their memories,
and tell over fondly their names that the
cause for which they gave themselves may
not perish from among us.
In 1866 General Thomas was mustered out
as brevet Brigadier-General in the Regular
Ami)- and brevet Major-General of the U. S.
Volunteers. Within a few months he was in
service with the Regular Arm_v, and for about
a cjuarter of a century served in the West.
During that period he removed a tribe of
Indians, the Wennebagoes, from Wisconsin
to their new reservation, and was engaged in
the most difficult and tr3'ing of all services,
that against the Indians. In 1878 he was
transferred to the pa}? department, and after
thirty 3'ears of constant service retired from
Of his travels abroad, of his intellectual
abilities and personal qualities, I cannot speak
except in another's words.
Sa^-s one : " Music was his delight, and he
played and sang with deep insight into the
science. He wielded a brilliant pen, as wit-
ness his Century articles and other publica-
tions. His wit in portraying character showed
him to possess something of the actor's dra-
matic ability. These gifts made him very
The last j-ears of his life were spent in
Oklahoma Cit}', where he was prominent in
business affairs. The end came when he was
thirty-four 3-ears younger than his venerable
father, whom we gathered to mourn and
remember so few weeks ago. In the midst
of what was reallv his last sickness he rallied
and was able to be about for a few weeks.
It was during this period, just before Christ-
mas, in meiuory of his father and in gratitude
for his partial 'recovery, that he did a deed of
such wide and sweet charity as to make his
name cherished in a hundred homes in Okla-
homa. Not satisfied with a few families to
minister to, he advertised for the names of
the worthy poor, and personally investigated
all cases, sending to all the needy a generous
supply of good things for Christmas. And
one remembers with Horace Mann that " to
pity distress is human, but to relieve it is
But the disease that had been upon him for
so many years was not to be stayed, and he
was suddenly prostrated and died January
In the last days of his life he had the com-
fort of the presence of a brother, and his last
intelligible utterance was to repeat the words
of that hymn, doubtless connected with his
boyhood days, made dear by many memories :
"A charge to keep 1 have,
A God to glorify ;
A never-dying soul to save,
And fit it for the sky."
At the close of the address Mr. Hack offered
prayer, and the choir sang "Jerusalem the
Golden." Then Commander KUis and Chap-
lain Samson of Bosworth Post performed the
beautiful burial service of the Grand .\rmy.
Mr. Hack offered the benediction, and the
services were concluded.
After the services a detail from the battery
of U. S. Artillery stationed at Fort Preble
bore the casket to the hearse and the remains
HENRY GODDARD THOJIAS. 5 1
were taken to Evergreen for interment. The
pall-bearers were Gen. Francis Fessenden,
Adjt. Edward U. Rand, Maj. H. S. Barrage
and Captain Rogers, representing the Loyal
Legion ; Col. W. H. Millett and Capt. George
E. Brown, representing the Fifth Maine Asso-
ciation ; Maj. H. S. Melcher and Maj. W. S.
Green, representing Bosworth Post, G. A. R.
— Press, Ja)iiiarx joth.
THE LATE HENRY G. THOMAS.
Portland, Me. — "He was mv f rieud " was
the thought of Imndreds here when the death
of Geii. H. G. Thomas, U. S. A., retired, was
announced last vSaturday afternoon. vSome-
how it was sinipl_v impossible to know General
Thomas without liking him, and there was
something about the man that made other
men cling to him as to a friend.
A more original man never lived. He
blazed for himself his own path through this
world and followed it persisteutlj-. His brill-
iant intellect was not made to go in any
groove, no matter how smooth it might be.
He loved the dash and storm of the battle
field. He was a born fighter. His first battle
showed that the soldier element was strong
in him, and after his own command had been
cut down to a few men, his commanding offi-
cer found that he had reformed a broken line,
and that men of man}^ regiments were facing
the enemy under the leadership of the j^oung
captain. From that time forward he was a
marked man, a soldier to be remembered and
to be promoted. He loved to be at the front
and never wanted to be detached for other duty.
He was one of the very few officers for
whom the late General Butler had a really
hearty liking. The old soldier knew that
56 MEMOIR OF
the yoimg general was devoted to him, and
he fully appreciated the depth and value of
his friendship. To the end of the life of Gen-
eral Butler the two generals met frequently,
and the younger man who was in the West
when General Butler died paid a fine tribute
to his memory.
General Thomas was for many years after
the war in the Regular Army, and in fact
had almost thirty years of army life to his
credit. He did some notable things, for
instance being the first regular officer to com-
mand a regiment of colored troops. He was
then but little more than twenty-five, but to
his great surprise and not a little to his dis-
gust found that his men called him "the old
Colonel," having reference to his rank rather
than to his age.
He saw much of frontier post life. Unlike
his brother, Hon. William W. Thomas, Jr.,
he took little or no part in politics, but he
was a remarkably well-informed man, and
after his removal to the West was a frequent
and always welcome speaker.
The remains of General Thomas were
buried here Friday with military honors. He
will be long remembered not only by those
who knew him in the army, but by many
who will cherish his memory as that of a
good friend as well as a gallant soldier.
It was very like the man that at Christmas
time, after he had made a temporary recovery
from his sickness, in gratitude for that recov-
ery and as a memorial of his father, the late
Hon. William W. Thomas, he advertised for
cases of destitution and helped hundreds to
have a bright Christmas.
HENRY GODDAKD THOMAS. 57
There might, very properl3' it would seem,
be a movement to place the portraits of the
late IMajor-General Beal and the late I\Iajor-
General Thomas in the state house. Maine
would then pa}- at least a tribute of respect
to two of the distinguished soldiers of the
— Bangor Daily 'Commercial.
The death of Gen. Henry G. Thomas, com-
ing so soon after the death of his honored
father, Hon. William \\\ Thomas, gave to
his native city a touch of sadness. His
funeral, yesterday, was attended by a large
delegation of military men, \vho had fought
under his leadership and knew his worth.
General Thomas had a brusque manner, but
his heart overflowed with love and kindness.
— Nciv York Herald.
THE LATE GENERAL THOMAS.
The late Gen. Henry G. Thomas was more
than a brave and distinguished soldier of the
late war, he was more than the faithful ser-
vant of his country on the frontier, he was a
good friend and a warm-hearted gentleman.
General Thomas ^\-as a member of a very
notable family. His father, the late Hon.
William ^\^ Thomas, was a man of weight in
the community and one who always led on-
ward ; he w as a born leader of men and was
especially fortunate in his sons. Mr. Thomas's
58 MEMOIR OF
sons now living are William Widgerj-, Jr.,
ex-Minister to Sweden and Norwaj', and
Elias Thomas, of Portland, Maine.
Gen. Henry G. Thomas was one of the first
to respond to the call of President Lincoln
and he remained at his post until the last
gun was fired. He passed rapidly from posi-
tion to position, but his honors were won by
hard and brilliant service on the field of bat-
tle. He was one of the most distinguished of
the soldiers of the Union at the time of his
death, and will be long remembered by his
With the close of the war he re-entered the
Regular Ami}' and saw much and hard ser-
vice on the frontier. He was no fair-weather
soldier, but took whatever hard service fell to
his lot. He removed a tribe of Indians to a
new reservation, and discharged that ex-
tremely difficult dut}' in a masterh- manner.
In his later years he was a resident of a
western city, and there showed that he pos-
sessed to a very marked degree the family
ability and business acuteness. He made his
mark there as he always had before in any
field of labor to which he was called, and was a
power not onl};- in a business sense, but socially
and politically. He did more than invest
monejr with good judgment, he became of
decided benefit to the poor of that frontier city.
There never was a kinder heart than that
of the old soldier who seemed to man^- to be
so rough and almost harsh. Before the writer
of this poor tribute to his honored memory is
an Indian corn basket, a well-made, l)ut still
far from valuable, affair. It was for a long
HENRY GODDARD THOMAS. 59
time the propertj- of General Thomas, aud
connected with it is a story reflecting the
highest credit on him.
While stationed on the frontier he in some
way discovered that a family living in a dug-
out, a poor little place half below, half above,
the ground, was in desperate need. The poor
people were astonished when the General
called. He found them almost starving, their
sole provision a little meal.
General Thomas was then far from being a
rich man and there were many demands on
his money, but he did not hesitate. To help
them he gave up without the slightest hesita-
tion the many little things he loved and to
which he was accustomed. If other officers
half laughed at him he didn't mind it in the
least ; that poor family, thanks to him, were
hungry and cold no more that winter.
And the kindness of the General did not
stop there. He helped the farmer along until
he had raised a crop, and then accepted the
one thing the grateful family had to offer
him, the Indian basket, in which he found
the youngest child of the family cradled when
he paid them his first visit.
And that act was in keeping with his life.
Outwardly careless and indifferent, as a mat-
ter of fact he tried to do good and succeeded.
The poor of the frontier city where he made
his home knew and blessed him. He flattered
no man. To him the man was everything,
the rank nothing. Once, and once only, did
the public know of one of his numberless acts
of kindness. When unable to be out, he was
forced to advertise for information of cases of
6o MEMOIR OF
And so the brilliant soldier, the good man
of business, the careful and prudent investor,
the kiudl}' giver, the distinguished citizen of
two sections of his country and the defender
of the Union, rests from his labors. His
battles are over; his travels ended. Maine
received back the soldier she gave to the
Union, and here his memory will be cherished.
" O, never hoie his ancient state
A truer son or hra\"er."
He took command of a regiment of colored
troops when Jefferson Davis had proclaimed
that the commander of colored troops if cap-
tured would be instantly executed. That act
struck the kejMiote of his life. He believed
that it was his duty to render that service to
his country and he never thought of any pos-
sible danger to himself. He received his
ever}' promotion for service on the field, and
it is not too much to say that his brave battle
for life during his last year deserved the last
and final promotion, the rest to which the
war-worn soldier has passed.
— Nortlirni Plaiiidralcr.
HIS RKCKNT DEATH IN OKLAHOMA CITY
RECALLS HIS GREAT SERVICES.
One bv one the heroes of the late war are
passing away, and in a few 3'ears, at the
most, but few of the distinguished leaders will
remain. There recently died in Oklahoma
City a man who jilayed a distinguished jjart
HENRY GODDARD THOMAS. 6 1
during the war, and who during thirty event-
ful years was in the military service of his
General Henry G. Thomas was born in
Portland, Me., and was a son of the late Hon.
W. W. Thomas, who died at the age of ninety-
four. General Thomas came of good fighting
stock, Revolutiouar}- stock in fact.
The war found him, as it found many
others, ready for almost anything except the
camp and the battle-field, but he said at once,
"I must do what I can." He was commis-
sioned a Captain, and saw his first actual
fighting at liull Run. There the future gen-
eral was found, after the retreat began, doing
his best to reform a line and to lead his men
against the eneni}-.
Assigned to temporary duty at the North,
and then promoted to the Regular xA.rmy, he
was offered the command of a regiment of
colored troops. The service was a very dan-
gerous one. Capture would have been fol-
lowed by death, the Confederate Government
having outlawed all officers of colored regi-
ments. The offered commission was accepted
by Colonel Thomas, who felt that he ought
to take whatever risk there might be in that
special line of duty. He was the first officer
of the Regular Army to accept the command
of a regiment of colored troops.
His career was remarkable in many respects.
He was for the most part at the front while
the war lasted. He was given the brevet
rank of INIajor for gallant service in the battle
of vSpottsyivania, brevet Lieutenant-Colonel
for gallant services in front of Petersburg,
62 MEMOIR OF
Colonel and Brigadier-General, U. S. A., and
Major-General of Volnnteers for gallant ser-
vices during the entire war.
General Thomas had temporar}- command
of a corps, and is survived by but a single
man who ever gave him an order, Alaj.-Gen.
O. O. Howard, U. S. A., retired.
General Thomas served with General But-
ler, and won the confidence of that distin-
guished commander by his gallant services.
General Thomas was a fighting officer and a
man after General Butler's own heart.
After the war he was able to render many
and distinguished services to the country on
the frontier. To him was assigned the deli-
cate duty of removing an entire tribe of
Indians to their new reservation. He retired
from the army after a service of thirty years.
In civil life he was active and during his
latter years prominent. He was a man of
generous nature, and his last act before his
fatal illness was to make Christmas a bright
day for manj^ poor people.
He was a soldier by nature, rather than
education. He served through the war with-
out once asking to be allowed to leave his
command, and was almost constantly at the
front. His military record was surpassed by
few if anj' officers of his rank.
— From Pennsylvania (iiit, William spoil , Finn.
General Henry Goddanl Thomas, U. S. A.,
retired, who died at Oklalunua City, O. T.,
Jan. 23d, had a distinguished record of ser-
HKNRY GODDARD THOMAS. 63
vice. He went to the front in June, 1S61, as
Captain of the Fifth Maine Infantry, and
soon afterwards was appointed Captain of the
Eleventh U. S. Infantr}'. He was success-
ively Colonel of the Seventj'-uinth and Nine-
teenth U. S. Colored Infantry and in Novem-
ber, 1864, was appointed Brigadier-General of
A'olunteers. On the reorganization of the
Army, in 1S66, he declined the appointment
of Major, Forty-first U. vS. Infantry, was trans-
ferred to the Twentieth V. S. Infantry, pro-
moted ]\Iajor, Fourth U. vS. Infantry, 1876,
transferred to the Pay Department in 187S,
and retired at his own request in 1891. Gen-
eral Thomas held brevets for gallantrj' from
Major to Brigadier-General in the Regular
Army, and Major-General of \"olunteers. He
had large Inisiness interests in Oklahoma
Territory, where he was well known and
— Army a>!d A\ivy Joiinia/, A\ >'. City, Jainiarv jof/i .
The regular March meeting of the Maine
Commandery of the Military Order of the
Loyal Legion of the Fruited States was held
last evening at the Falmouth Hotel. In man}^
respects this meeting was the most interest-
ing and notable that the commander}- has
ever held. Nearlj- sixty members of the
order were present.
The following casualties were reported :
Died in Norway, December 11, 1896, Com-
panion George Lafayette Beal, late Brigadier-
General and brevet Major-General, U. S. \.
64 MKMOIR OF
Died in Oklahoma City, Jalnlar^■ 23, 1897,
Coin])aiiion Heiirj' G. Thomas, late Major
and Paymaster; brevet Brigadier-General, U.
S. A. ; late Brigadier-General and brevet
Major-General, U. S. \'.
A paper in memory- of the late General
Thomas was presented b}- General h'rancis
Fessenden. — Portland /'/rss.
IN MEMORIAL— LOYAL LEGION.
fIDilitarv ®r^cr of tbc
%ov_nl Xcoion of tbc TUnitct) States,
Commandery of the State of Maine.
HENRY OODDARD THOMHS,
Late Major and Paymaster;
Bvt. Bri^.-Gen., U. S. A.;
Bvt. Major-General, U. S. V.
MILITARY ORDER OF THE
LOYAL LEGION OF THE UNITED STATES.
11.va^^lllaltc^■» Comniaiii'ci'v ot tlx State of /iDaiiic.
ClKCl'LAR No. 3.
Series of 1897-
Whole Number 141.
Poillaud, Marcli 6, /Sijj.
The /o//o7lw'//o tribute to tlir iin'iiiorv of
Companion 1bcnr\> 6o^^ar^ (Iboniae,
intr Major and Paymaster : Bvt . Briir .-General U. S.
./.,- Brio;. -Genera/ and Bvt. A/a/ .-Genera/ ['. S. f'.,
:eas read and adopted at a stated meeting of t/iis Coin-
nia7ideiy, Marcli j, iSgj:
The committee appointed to prepare a memorial for Brevet
.Major-General Henry Goddard Thomas, United States \'olnn-
teers, and a co4iipanion of this Commandery, snbmit the follow-
inj; : —
I'revet Major-General Henry Goddanl Thomas, United States
X'olunteers, a Major and Brevet Brigadier-General in the Army
of the United States, died in Oklahoma City, January 23, 1897.
General Thomas was born in Portland, Maine, on the 5th of
April, 1837. He was graduated from Amherst College in 185S,
and was preparing for the legal profession when the breaking
out of the Rebellion in 1861 impelled him to volunteer for the
defense of the Union. In a few days he raised a company, and
on the 24th of June, iS5i, was mustered into the United States
service as Captain in the 5th .Maine Infantry. He commanded
his company at I'.ull Run, the first great battle of the civil war.
Heintzelman's division, in whicli he served, bore the heaviest
loss on that historic day, and Captain Thomas was officially
reported " to have discharged his duties with marked courage
and .self-possession." For his coiuIik t in this battle, he was, on
the recommendation of General Howard, his brigade com-
mander, appointed, in August, iS6i, a Captain in the United
States Army. During the autumn of 1861 and the year 1862 he
was employed on recruiting service and in mustering and dis-
bursing duty. The government having decided to employ col-
ored regiments, Captain Thomas at once applied for service
with these troops, and in March, 1863, was appointed Colonel
of the 7gth United States Colored Infantry. With this regiment
he proceeded to the Department of the Gulf, where he was
prostrated by diseases of the climate and, having been ordered
North on sick leave, was, at his own request, mustered out of
this service on July 11, 1863. Recovering his health, he took
command of his company, in the nth United States Infantry, at
Culpepper, Virginia, and was present in the actions of Snicker's
Gap, Bristoe, Rappahannock, Brandy Station and Mine Run.
The government again assigned him to service with the colored
troops, and in January, 1S64, he w-as appointed Colonel of the
19th United States Colored Infantry. He passed the winter of
1864 in organizing and drilling a brigade of colored infantry
near Baltimore, Maryland. With this brigade he joined Burn-
side's gth Corps in April. In the e.\traordinary campaign of
1S64-65, under General Grant, Colonel Thomas commanded
the 2d brigade of the 4th division in the 9th Corps, and subse-
quently the ist brigade of the ist division in the 25th Corps,
participating in the great battles of the Wilderness, Spottsyl-
vania, Petersburg, the Explosion of the Mine, the Weldon Rail-
road, Hatcher's Run and the capture of Richmond. He was
promoted to Brigadier-General of Volunteers on November 30
1S64, on the recommendation of General Burnside, "for his
uniform good conduct, and particularly his conspicuous gallantry
on July ^o, 1864, before Petersburg." In the Regular Army he
received the brevet of Major for gallant and meritorious services
at Spottsylvania, the brevet of Lieutenant-Colonel for gallant
and meritorious services in front of Petersburg, and the brevets
of Colonel and Brigadier-General for gallant and meritorious
services during the war. For gallant and meritorious services
during the war he was also brevetted a Major-General of Vol-
unteers. On the reorganization of the Army in 1S66 he was
appointed a Major, which he declined, as his new regiment was
in the Gulf, the climate of which was fatal to him. For the
next ten years he served as a Captain, with varied duty, on
recniiting .service, in the Freedmen's Bureau, and with his regi-
ment at different posts on the frontier. He became a Major of
the 4th United States Infantry in 1876, and in 1878 was trans-
ferred to the Pay Department, serving for six years as Pay-
master throughout the Western territories.
A severe and chronic disease, caused by his long and arduous
service, having developed in 1884 to an extent which prevented
active duty, he went on sick leave, and afterwards, on his own
application, was placed on the retired list of the Army. Having
taken up his residence in Oklahoma, he became a leading citi-
zen of the territory, engaged in the development of the city, and
was prominent in many enterprises. His disease constantly
advanced and finally undermined his powerful constitution,
causing his death. An impressive funeral marked his obsequies.
General Thomas became a companion of the Order of the
Loyal Legion soon after its organization. He was one of the
charter members of the Maine Commandery, assisting at its
first meeting and first election. His distinguished service needs
no eulogy. It is part of his country's history and stands among
tlie honored records in this conmiandery.
Francis Fessenden, -i
Henry R. Millett, i Committee.
]. H. Knight. >
By order of
PAYMASTER WILLIAM H. ANDERSON, U. S. N.,
HENRY S. BURRAGE,
BvT. Major, U. S. V.,
EXTRACTS FROM LETTERS.
638 West End Ave.,
New York City, Jan. 27, 1897.
Dear Friends: — The papers announce the
death at Oklahoma City of Gen. Henry G.
Thomas. Another brave soldier of the Re-
bellion has answered the last roll-call and
reported for duty in the great army above.
It was my pleasure to serve with the Gen-
eral when it took moral as well as physical
courage to command, colored troops. The
Confederac}' had issued orders not to treat
oiBcers of colored troops as prisoners of war
if captured, but to shoot them down.
The General was gallant, courteous and
loyal, a brave soldier, a staunch friend, who
will ever be missed by those who knew him
best. Sincerely 3'ours,
Louis E. Granger.
From Parker Pillsbury, of Concord.
What a sudden summons that must have
been to General Thomas. He seemed born
and fitted for, and suited to, a brave, even a
heroic, life. And such, too, was his life, it
seems, while it lasted. Nobod}- ever told me
how bravelj' he stood forth as the champion
of my colored clientele, and that too when
74 :\rKMOiR of
the rebel forces had outlawed him and all his
fellow officers if taken prisoners while in com-
mand of colored troops. But, fortunately, I
think none such were ever so taken.
From AIr. Georgk E. Brown, Fifth Maine
Allow me to extend to you and all the
members of your family the heartfelt sympa-
thy of the survivors of the Fifth Maine Regi-
We shall ever treasure the memory of our
dearest comrade. General Henry G. Thomas,
as one of our best and bravest members.
" We shall meet but we shall miss him,
There will be one vacant chair. ' '
From Mr. J. E. IM. Whitney, Montreal.
This morning I received the Portland
papers announcing the death of the General.
I could not realize it. I cannot even now
imagine that he has really gone over to the
How well I remember him when he spent
the day here on his wa}' to England. I met
him at the station and was with him till he
sailed. What marvelous conversational pow-
ers, how brilliant and how intellectual! One
man in ten thousand. A marked man wher-
ever he went.
HENRY GODDARD THOMAS. 75
To show how kiud and thoughtful he was,
he went to the florist soon after his arrival,
before attending to business, although he had
a great man}- things to do, and selected a
large bouquet of roses for ni}- mother, with
whom we lunched.
We called upon ni_v friend. Colonel Hough-
ton, and we then went on board one of the war
ships. It is needless to sa^- that the British
naval officers had seldom if ever before had
the privilege and pleasure of meeting so dis-
tinguished a character as the General.
EXTRACTS FROM ARMY REGISTER,
RETIRED EROM ACTIVE SERVICE.
( LIMITED list).
Service in the Army.
Name, grade, date of rank
or commission, highest
superior hrevet rank, and
In volunteers, witli
ranlv beyond lin-
Thomas, Henry G. 22 oct. 7i;
capt. 5 Me. inf.
24 June, 61
capt. 11 inf.
5 aug. 61
Bvt. Brig. (ien. Mar. 13, G5
hoM. must, out,
accepted, 24 aug.
At liis own request, hav-
col. 79 U.S. c. inf.
28 Jul V, 66
ing served over 20 years.
20 mar. 03
trs. to to 20 inf.
[aet July 3, 841.
lion. must, out,
col. 19 U.S. c. inf.
brig. gen. 30 nov.
accepted, 9 dec.
bvt. maj. gen.
13 mar, 05
hon. must, out,
15 jail. 65
maj. 4 inf.
22 oct. 76
trs. to p^y dept.
23 may, 78
retired, 2 July, 91
Service for which brevetted.
maj 12 mav, G4
It. col 20 July,
col 13 mar. 05 1
briif. gen . 13 uiar.
11K1.I. gen. vol
13 mar. J
Gallant and meritorious services in the battle of
Gallant and meritorious services in front of Peters-
Gallant and meritorious services during the war.