An early wartime photo from the Matthew Brady studio shows the young Maj. Gen. Henry Warner Slocum of the 27th New York Infantry, age 36. (Photo courtesy Library of Congress)
(Oneida, NY – March 2013) Historian Sue Greenhagen will present in words and pictures the extraordinary career of Maj. Gen. Henry Warner Slocum, who led Union troops in many of the Civil War’s most significant battles, at the Oneida Public Library on Saturday March 16 at 2 p.m.
Slocum was born in Delphi Falls in the town of Pompey in Onondaga County in 1827 and attended West Point, where he graduated seventh in the class of 1852. He saw action during the Seminole War in Florida, but as peace-time service didn’t suit him, he resigned his commission in 1856 and took up a law practice in Syracuse.
With the outbreak of the War Between the States, Slocum was appointed a colonel in the 27th New York Infantry. He led a regiment in the First Battle of Bull Run, in which he was wounded, and he subsequently rose in the ranks. In July 1862, at the age of 36, he became the second youngest officer in the army to be appointed a major general of volunteers.
Slocum led troops in a number of the Civil War’s most significant battles, from Bull Run in 1861 to the final battles in the Carolinas in spring 1865. While he was a by-the-book military leader and well-liked by his men, Slocum’s reputation took a hit when he inadvertently arrived late to the Battle of Gettysburg. After that, he became known by the nickname “Slow Come.”
In her presentation the Slocums of New York at the OPL, Greenhagen, the historian for Morrisville and the town of Eaton, will also include the history of Slocum’s marriage to an uncommon woman, Clara Rice, who hailed from New Woodstock in Madison County.
After the war, the Slocums resettled in Syracuse, where he resumed his legal practice. From March 1869 to March 1873, Slocum served in Congress. The Slocums ended up in Brooklyn when Slocum was hired as president of the city works department in 1876. There he died in 1894.
Greenhagen has previously appeared at the OPL for presentations on Flora Temple: Queen of the Turf, the Graveyards of Madison County, the Loomis Gang and Tracing Your Civil War Ancestors. She recently retired from her post as librarian at Morrisville State College.
The program is free and open to the public. For more information, stop by the Oneida Library, 220 Broad St., or call 363-3050.