Guide to the U.S. General Horatio Wright Letter, 1865
Horatio Gouverneur Wright was born March 6, 1820, in Clinton, Connecticut. He graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1841, was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers, and directed engineering projects in Florida for ten years. He rose to first lieutenant and in 1855 to captain, and assisted the chief engineer in Washington, D.C., until 1861.
In September 1861, five months after the Civil War broke out, Wright became brigadier general of volunteers and began to lead combat forces, in which capacity he continued until the end of the war. After leading expeditions to Florida and South Carolina, in May 1863 he was given command of the 1st Division of the VI Corps of the Army of the Potomac, and a year later took command of the VI Corps; he then became major general of volunteers, participated in every battle of the Wilderness campaign, and in July 1864 was sent hurriedly to Washington, where he helped repel a Confederate raid; from August to December 1864 he fought under Sheridan in the Shenandoah Valley campaign. He returned to the Army of the Potomac with the VI Corps in early 1865 and seems to have been present at the siege of Richmond when the letter of February 12th was written.
After the Civil War ended, Wright commanded the Department of Texas for a time, participated in important engineering projects around the country, and was promoted to brigadier general in the regular army and chief of engineers in 1879. He retired in 1884 and died July 2, 1899, at Washington, D.C. He was buried in the Arlington National Cemetery, survived by his wife, the former Louisa M. Bradford, and two daughters.
General Horatio Wright’s letter of February 12, 1865, written probably while the VI Corps was on the front lines at the siege of Richmond, consists of four pages written on one folded sheet of stationery with the letterhead “Headquarters Sixth Army Corps.” In the letter, Wright seeks to clarify an apparent misunderstanding with the recipient (“My dear Col”[onel?] ) and discusses family news from a recent leave of absence; he then notes current movements of troops, and expresses admiration for a soldier named McClellan and hopes that McClellan will soon receive a promotion.
This material is open for research.
Permission to publish material from the U.S. General Horatio Wright Letter, 1865 must be obtained from the Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library.
U.S. General Horatio Wright Letter, 1865, MS 108, Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University.
The General Horatio Wright Letter, 1865, was purchased from a dealer September 17, 1962.
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