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Do You Remember?

"Colonel Litchfield was a Bronxite"

(Reprinted from the Bronx Times Reporter of 8-25-2011)

 

When Colonel Henry G. Litchfield passed away in his Bronx home at 2437 Jerome Avenue, the New York Times cited his impressive military record in his obituary. He joined the army in July of 1862 serving as a Second Lieutenant in Company G, Second Battalion, 18th U.S. Infantry. Between April 1863 and August 1864 he served as Inspector of Regular Brigade in the 14th Corps of the Army of the Cumberland.

He saw action at Chickamauga, Tennessee in September of 1863 which was among the last victories for the Confederates but the Union army fought hard and Litchfield was rewarded for his part in the battle by being brevetted a captain. He was also at the Battle of Hoover's Gap among others that summer. He again faced the enemy at the Battle of Missionary Ridge in November of 1863 as part of the Chattanooga Campaign where Union troops eventually defeated the Confederate army under General Braxton Bragg. He would later be brevetted a Major for his "gallant and meritorious" service at Jonesboro, Georgia.

Bronx historian Nick DiBrino stands in front of the Jerome Avenue home of Civil War Colonel Henry Litchfield.

The engagements he was involved with are far too numerous to recount here but the battle of Bentonville, North Carolina in March of 1865 is of special note as it led to General Johnson's retreat. Litchfield had been on the front reconnoitering and reported to General Henry Slocum (for whom Fort Slocum on Davids' Island is named) as follows: "Well, general, I have found something more than Dibrell's [Confederate] cavalry--I find infantry intrenched (sic) along our whole front, and enough of them to give us all the amusement we shall want for the rest of the day."

This information helped save the day by allowing Slocum to alter his battle plan accordingly. The battle lasted from March 19th to the 21st with a Union victory. It also led to Litchfield being brevetted a Lieutenant Colonel.

When the war ended, Henry Litchfield remained in the army serving in the Dakota Territory and from 1886 to 1889 he commanded the fort at St. Augustine, Florida. Later he would serve at Fort Trumbull, Connecticut before accepting his final post here in the Bronx at Fort Schuyler on Throggs Neck. He retired from the army in 1892 after thirty years of service.

Colonel Henry G. Litchfield was born in 1837 and enlisted in the United States Army in 1862. He passed away from a pneumonia at his Bronx home on Sunday, January 26, 1902 and was buried from St. Philip Neri Roman Catholic Church on the following Wednesday.

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