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H.C. Merriam

H.C. Merriam

Federal (USV)


Henry Clay Merriam

(1837 - 1912)

Home State: Maine

Education: Colby College

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: 20th Maine Infantry

Before Antietam

Recently a student at Colby College, he was the original Captain, Company H, 20th Maine Infantry when that regiment was organized in the summer of 1862. He was commissioned on 29 August 1862, as his unit was mustered for Federal service in Portland.

On the Campaign

He was later (2 Mar 1867) cited by brevet to Lieutenant Colonel, USA for gallant and meritorious service at Antietam.

The rest of the War

He resigned his Captaincy on 7 January 1863, and was commissioned Lieutenant Colonel of the 80th US Colored Infantry (originally the 8th Corps de Afrique Infantry, organized at Port Hudson, LA) on 11 March. He transferred to the 85th US Colored Infantry (13th Corps de Afrique Infantry, New Orleans) on 21 May 1864, and to the 73rd (1st Louisiana Native Guards) on 3 June 1864. He was awarded the Medal of Honor (28 June 1894) for action at Ft. Blakely, AL on 9 April 1865 while in command of his Regiment. He was given a brevet to Colonel of Volunteers (26 Mar 65) for the Mobile Campaign and mustered out of volunteer service on 24 October 1865.

After the War

He was appointed Major of the 38th US Infantry on 28 July 1866, and transferred to the 24th US Infantry on 15 March 1869. He saw service across the West. He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel of the 2nd Infantry on 10 June 1876, and Colonel of the 7th Infantry on 10 July 1885. He was appointed Brigadier General 30 June 1897. He was Major General of Volunteers for Spanish-American War service from 4 May 1898 to 24 February 1899. He retired from the Army 13 November 1901 and was made Major General on the Retired List on 19 February 1903.

References & notes

Service data from Heitman1. His photograph from a CDV sold by Philip Weiss Auctions in 2008. His gravesite is on Findagrave. Details from famiy genealogists. His first wife Lucy Jane Getchell and only child, daughter Mamie Eugenie, age 2, died in Texas in April 1870. He remarried - Una MacPherson-MacNeil - in 1874, and they had 5 children together. Jack Stokes Ballard wrote a biography of the General's service in Commander and Builder of Western Forts: The Life and Times of Major General Henry C. Merriam (2012).

More on the Web

A photograph of Colonel Merriam and his family c. 1888 is in the collection of Colby College. Probably taken at Fort Laramie, WY.


11/13/1837; Houlton, ME


11/18/1912; Portland, ME; burial in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA


1   Heitman, Francis Bernard, Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army 1789-1903, 2 volumes, Washington DC: US Government Printing Office, 1903, Vol. 1, pg. 704  [AotW citation 14696]