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General Henry Wager Halleck


General Henry Wager Halleck (1815-1872):  Halleck was a New York native and West Pointer (1839) was posted to the engineers and earned a brevet in Mexico.  He worked on fortifications, taught at the Academy, and studied the French military.  Resigning as a captain in 1854, he became highly successful in the San Francisco law firm (Halleck, Peachy, Billings & Park) and helped frame the state’s constitution. Henry A. Tefft stayed with him during the California Constitutional Convention in 1849.  In Henry Tefft’s correspondence to Capt. Dana in Dec. 1849, he notes that Dana and Halleck were acquainted.  Halleck wrote a letter of condolence to the Captain after Henry’s death.  Later in 1851, Halleck employed William Rich Hutton as his assistant at the New Almaden Quicksilver Mine.  He maintained his interest in martial affairs through the militia and was recommended by Winfield Scott for a high post of Union major general at the outset of the Civil War.  He served as commander in chief (July 11, 1862—March 12, 1864) until Grant took over.  Halleck became the Union Army’s chief of staff and proved highly successful. (Stephen E. Ambrose’s Halleck: Lincoln’s Chief of Staff; Joseph L. Dana, “To Discourage Me Is No Easy Matter”)

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