site logo
C. Devens, Jr.

C. Devens, Jr.

Federal (USV)

Brigadier General

Charles Devens Jr.

(1820 - 1891)

Home State: Massachusetts

Education: Harvard (1838), Harvard Law, Class of 1840

Command Billet: Brigade Commander

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: 1st Brigade, 1st Division, 4th Corps

Before Antietam

Before the war he was a lawyer (since 1840), politician, US Marshal, and General in the state militia. In 1861 he was Major in the 3rd Battalion of the Massachusetts Rifles and in July was appointed Colonel of the 15th Massachusetts Infantry. He led them at Ball's Bluff in 1861, and was wounded there. In April 1862 he was appointed Brigadier General of Volunteers, and commanded the 1st Brigade/1st Division/Fourth Army Corps at Seven Pines in June, where he was wounded again.

On the Campaign

He was in command of the 1st Brigade of the First Division/Fourth Corps in Maryland. The Division was not in the battle on the 17th but was marching between Sharpsburg and Harpers Ferry looking for Confederates (!).

The rest of the War

He commanded the 2nd Brigade/3rd Division/6th Corps at Fredericksburg, the 1st Division/6th Corps at Chancellorsville, where he was again wounded, the 3rd Division/28th Corps at Cold Harbor, and the 3rd Division/24th Corps at Petersburg.

After the War

He was a judge, justice of the Massachusetts state supreme court, 1873-77, 1881-91 and US Attorney General in the Hayes Administration. He was Commander of the Grand Army of the Republic veterans group from 1873-75.

References & notes

His service and biographical basics from Warner.1 Further details from a bio sketch in the Battle of Balls Bluff (PDF) staff ride guide from the U.S. Army Center of Military History. His picture from a photograph in the MOLLUS Massachusetts album.2


04/12/1820; Charlestown, MA


01/7/1891; Boston, MA; burial in Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, MA


1   Warner, Ezra J., Generals in Blue, Lives of the Union Commanders, Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 1964  [AotW citation 29453]

2   US Army, Heritage and Education Center (USAHEC), Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States (MOLLUS)-Massachusetts Photograph Collection, Published 2009, <>, Source page: Vol. 83, pg. 4167  [AotW citation 29454]