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Full text of "General Henry Goddard Thomas, 1837-1897 : a memorial"

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MEMOIR 



THE LAKESIDE PRESS 
PORTLAND, ME. 



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 
in 1S94. 

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 
colored regiment. 

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- 
ton." 

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- 
ler's favorites. 



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 
music to 

" 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 
officer." 

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 
to statehood. 

Upon going to Oklahoma he received the 
following letter from Gen. Benjamin F. 
Butler :— 

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 
locality. 

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 
OF PORTLAND. 

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 
Territor}-. 

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 
Petersburg. 

— 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 
troops. 

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 
the corps. 

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 
civil war. 

— 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 
December, 1863. 

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 
Monda}-. 

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 
November. 

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 
Thomas's expense. 

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 
Thomas's funf;ral. 

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, 
commanding. 

Company A, O. N. G., Lieutenant Brewer, 
commanding. 

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- 
frow. 

The procession marched to the Prcsb^'te- 
rian Church, where short but impressive ser- 
vices were held, conducted by the Rev. Mr. 
Francis. 



^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 
THOMAS. 

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 
city. 

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 
OKLAHOMA. 

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 
Infantr}'. 

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 
the army. 

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 
companionable." 

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. 



50 



MEMOIR OF 



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 
godlike." 

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 

23, 1897. 

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. 



LATER CONTRIBUTIONS. 



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 
late war. 

— 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 
former comrades. 

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 
Avant. 



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. 



MAJOR-GENRRAI. THOMAS. 

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 
country. 

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 
highly respected. 
— 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. 



ITn flRentoriam. 



HENRY OODDARD THOMHS, 

Late Major and Paymaster; 
Bvt. Bri^.-Gen., U. S. A.; 
Brig:.-Genera! and 
Bvt. Major-General, U. S. V. 



l\ 



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- 



557:^r^HB 



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., 

Commander. 

HENRY S. BURRAGE, 

BvT. Major, U. S. V., 

Recorder. 



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 



^'b 



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 
Regiment Association. 

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- 
ment Association. 

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 
great majority. 

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, 

1S95. 



RETIRED EROM ACTIVE SERVICE. 

( LIMITED list). 





Service in the Army. 






Name, grade, date of rank 
or commission, highest 
superior hrevet rank, and 




^* 


s 


In volunteers, witli 
higliest brevet 


In permanent 


s 


c S 




ranlv beyond lin- 


cstablisliment. 


05 


< 




eal commission. 








Majors. 










Thomas, Henry G. 22 oct. 7i; 


capt. 5 Me. inf. 

24 June, 61 


capt. 11 inf. 

5 aug. 61 


Me 


Mf. 


Bvt. Brig. (ien. Mar. 13, G5 


hoM. must, out, 
20 aug. 


accepted, 24 aug. 
maj.4liiif.[d'clin'd] 






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, 

11 July, 
col. 19 U.S. c. inf. 

lOjan, G4 
brig. gen. 30 nov. 
accepted, 9 dec. 
bvt. maj. gen. 

13 mar, 05 
hon. must, out, 

15 jail. 65 


21 sept, 
maj. 4 inf. 

22 oct. 76 
trs. to p^y dept. 

23 may, 78 
retired, 2 July, 91 







BREVET COMMISSIONS. 



Brevet rank. 



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 
Spottsylvania, Virginia. 

Gallant and meritorious services in front of Peters- 
burg, Virginia. 

Gallant and meritorious services during the war.