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Alfred Howe Terry (November 10, 1827 – December 16, 1890) was a Union general in the American Civil War and the military commander of the Dakota Territory from 1866 to 1869 and again from 1872 to 1886.

Early life and career

Although born in Hartford, Connecticutmarker, Alfred Terry's family quickly moved to New Havenmarker, where he spent most of his childhood. After attending Yale Law School in 1848, Terry became a lawyer and was appointed clerk of the Superior Court of New Haven Countymarker.

Civil War

South Carolina

When the Civil War started, Terry raised and led a regiment of Connecticut volunteers and was appointed colonel. The regiment fought at First Bull Runmarker, after which Terry and his regiment were transferred to South Carolinamarker. He was appointed brigadier general of volunteers in April, 1862 and placed in command of the Morris Island Division of the X Corps. Terry was heavily involved in the siege operations against Charlestonmarker during 1863 and Morris Islandmarker, South Carolinamarker. Troops under Terry's direct command were engaged at a skirmish at Grimball's Landing and later succeeded in capturing Fort Wagnermarker in September 1863, but the following year the entire X Corps was sent north to Benjamin Butler's Army of the James in Virginiamarker.

Virginia

Terry's Morris Island Division was redesignated the 1st Division, X Corps, and fought at the Battle of Proctor's Creek and in the Bermuda Hundred Campaignmarker around Richmondmarker. Once the Siege of Petersburgmarker began, Terry continued to fight in the battles north of the James River, notably at the Battle of New Market Heightsmarker. Upon the death of X Corps commander David B. Birney in October, Terry briefly assumed command of the corps before it was dissolved. His leadership was never in question, but he had not achieved the same battlefield glory that many of his counterparts had won by this time in the war.

Fort Fisher and North Carolina



Terry's greatest achievement of the war came when he was placed in command of the Fort Fisher Expeditionary Corps. Benjamin Butler had previously failed in an expedition against Fort Fishermarker at the end of 1864. Terry had gained the confidence of General Ulysses S. Grant and was now in command of the ground forces in a second expedition against the fort. Unlike Butler, Terry worked well with the Navy under the command of David D. Porter. On January 13, 1865, Terry sent a division of United States Colored Troops to hold off Confederate forces under Braxton Bragg to the north of Fort Fisher. He sent his other division under Adelbert Ames against the northern part of the fort. After hand-to-hand fighting, the Union troops took control of the fort. For his part in the Battle of Fort Fisher, Terry was promoted to major general of volunteers and brigadier general in the regular army. Reinforcements arrived in February and John M. Schofield arrived to take overall command of the campaign against Wilmington, North Carolinamarker. After the fall of Wilmington, the Fort Fisher Expeditionary Corps was renamed the X Corps, with Terry remaining in command, and participated in the final stages of the Carolinas Campaign. He is generally considered one of the most capable generals with no previous military training to emerge from the war.

Postbellum activities

Alfred Terry after the war
After the war, Terry stayed with the military. He helped negotiate the Treaty of Fort Laramie , which ended Red Cloud's campaign against American troops in the region. Terry became a strong opponent of the Ku Klux Klan after being assigned as the last military governor of the Third Military District, based in Atlantamarker, where he served beginning December 22, 1869.

Terry was the commander of the U.S. Army column marching westward into the Montana Territory during what is now popularly known as the Centennial Campaign in 1876–77. Two other columns marched toward the same objective area (George Crook's from the south and John Gibbon's from the west). A column of troops under his command arrived shortly after the Battle of Little Big Hornmarker and discovered the bodies of Custer's men. In October 1877, he went to Canadamarker to negotiate with Sitting Bull. He was still in command in Montanamarker during the Nez Perce War and sent reinforcements to intercept Chief Joseph.

In 1878, Terry joined Maj. Gen. John Schofield on a presidential board asked to reexamine the conviction by court-martial of Fitz John Porter. The board found that Porter had been unfairly convicted of cowardice and disobedience.

In 1886, Terry was promoted to major general and was given command of the Division of the Missourimarker, headquartered in Chicagomarker. He died four years later in New Haven, Connecticutmarker, where he is buried in Grove Street Cemeterymarker.

In 1967, Terry was portrayed by Robert F. Simon (1908-1992) on the ABC television series Custer. In the series Terry often clashed with the brash Custer, played by Wayne Maunder.

See also



References

  • Retrieved on 2008-02-12


External links




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