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P. C. Hains

P. C. Hains

Federal (USA)


Peter Conover Hains

(1840 - 1921)

Home State: New Jersey

Education: US Military Academy, West Point, NY, Class of 1861;Class Rank: 19th

Command Billet: Battery Commander

Branch of Service: Engineers

Unit: 2nd United States Artillery, Battery M


see his Battle Report

Before Antietam

Service Summary:
At graduation from West Point, he was appointed 2nd and then 1st Lt, 2nd US Artillery, 24 June 1861;
He transferred to the Topograhical Engineers 24 July 1862 and to Engineers 3 Mar 1863;
Promoted to Captain 15 July 1863;
Major 22 Sept 1870;
Lt Col 16 Sept 1886;
Colonel 13 Aug 1895;
Brig Gen of Volunteers 27 May 1898;
Honorably discharged from the Volunteers 30 Nov 1898;
Appointed Brig General, Regular Army, 21 Apr 1903;
Retired 1904;
Returned to active duty, appointed Major general, by special act of Congress in 1916 (WWI);
Retired 1918.

Cited for gallantry by brevet for action at Hanover C. H., Va and the siege of Vicksburg Miss.

After the War

He worked on lighthouse construction from 1868 to 1878, including structures off Morris Island, SC and St. Augustine, FL.

By 1882, Hains was working as the chief engineer on the Potomac and Anacostia rivers, and he designed the Tidal Basin, which solved the capital's problem of a foul-smelling, stagnant swamp. The site today is near the Jefferson Memorial, and Hains Point overlooks the basin and the Washington Monument. In 1890, he designed the national road built from Washington to Mount Vernon (now known as the George Washington Parkway).

Hains also served on the Nicaragua Canal and Panama Canal commissions and successfully argued to build it in Panama.

Toward the end of his life, in 1916, he was called to active duty and appointed major general by an act of Congress. This made him the only Civil War officer to serve on active duty in World War I and the oldest U.S. officer in uniform during that war.

References & notes

Source: Heitman, Francis Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army 1789-1903, Washington, US Government Printing Office, 1903.; and
family history gathered for (below).

More on the Web

See more about him, in connection with on of "his" post-war lighthouses, at


7/6/1840; Philadelphia, PA


11/7/1921 Washington, DC; burial in Arlington National Cemetery, VA