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H. C. Bolinger
H. C. Bolinger

Federal (USV)


Henry Clay Bolinger

(1828 - 1902)
Home State: Pennsylvania
Command Billet: Commanding Regiment
Branch of Service: Infantry
Unit: 7th Pennsylvania Reserves


Before the Antietam Campaign:
Henry was born in Northumberland County and educated in public schools in Centre County. Son of a carpenter, he worked as a store clerk, a carpenter in the family shop, and was Deputy Sheriff in Clinton County before the War. He entered service as a recruiting Sergeant and was elected First Lieutenant in the Rifle Guards company of Lockhaven in April 1861. In June he was appointed Captain of the company (when Captain Chauncey Lyman was appointed Major) as it became part of the 7th Pennsylvania Reserves Regiment. He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel of the Regiment on 5 May 1862 and Colonel on 1 August.

In the Antietam Campaign:
Colonel Bolinger was wounded in the chest and arm in action at Turner's Gap on September 14th while in command of the Regiment. He was succeeded in command in Maryland by Major Lyman.

The remainder of the War:
He recovered from his wounds sufficiently to lead the Regiment at Fredericksburg in December. He was wounded again in action there, in the leg. He and the unit were then detached to garrison and rail-guarding service near Washington DC until April 1864. They rejoined the Army of the Potomac in the field for service on the Wilderness Campaign. On 5 May 1864 Colonel Bolinger and 271 of his officers and men were captured, only about 40 of the regiment escaping. First imprisoned in Richmond with his men, [later, perhaps at Camp Ogelthorpe in Macon, Ga.] the Colonel was then one of 50 captured senior Federal officers sent to Charleston to be under fire of the Federal fleet there in hopes of stopping the bombardment.

On 3 August a special prisoner exchange was arranged, and Bolinger was one of the officers returned North. He resigned his commission effective 1 August 1864 - his Regiment having been mustered out of service in June. In late 1864 he and his family moved to Illinois.

After the War:
He was cited by brevet to Brigadier General in March 1865 for "gallant conduct" at the battle of the Wilderness. He bought a 160-acre plot of land in Potter County, South Dakota in 1889.

References, Sources, and other notes:
Service history from Heitman1, with additional family and War service from Sypher. 2 Thanks to GGGGrandson Grant Potts for clearing up our confusion about his burial place (no, he is not in Pennsylvania). The photo above is probably from the USAMHI collection (image RG98S-CWP196.24 - Wartime bust portrait).

Birth Date: 05/29/1828    Place of Birth: Pottsgrove, PA    
Death Date: 07/21/1902    Burial Place: Gettysburg Cemetery, Gettysburg, SD


1   Heitman, Francis Bernard, Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army 1789-1903, 2 volumes, Washington DC: US Government Printing Office, 1903, pg. 228  [AotW citation 129]

2   Sypher, Josiah Rhinehart, History of the Pennsylvania Reserve Corps, Lancaster, PA: Elias Barr and Company, 1865, pp. 512-515  [AotW citation 833]

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