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Henry Harnden
Personal Information
Born: March 4, 1823(1823-03-04)
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Died: March 17, 1900 (aged 77)
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Other Information
Allegiance: United States of America
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Branch: Union Army
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Rank: Brevet Brigadier General
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Battles: American Civil War
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Henry Harnden (March 4, 1823 – March 17, 1900) was an officer in the United States Army during the American Civil War. He led the Wisconsin troops who assisted a Michigan military company in the capture of Jefferson Davis.


Harnden was born in Wilmington, Massachusetts. He ventured to sea early in his life, and moved to Wisconsin in 1852, taking up residence in the town of Sullivan, in Jefferson County, Wisconsin. He later moved to Ripon, Wisconsin. He also spent many years in California. He fought in the Mexican-American War and was wounded on several occasions during the American Civil War.

Harnden enlisted in the 1st Wisconsin Cavalry Regiment, Company D, as a private in July 1861, and rose through the ranks. He held the rank of captain from 1862 to 1864, major from 1864 to 1865 and, for a short time, lieutenant colonel. On March 13, 1865, he was brevetted to colonel and to brigadier general. On May 10, 1865, leading a detachment of three companies of the 1st Wisconsin, he assisted the 4th Michigan Cavalry (after an unfortunate initial friendly-fire engagement with that unit) in the capture of Jefferson Davis at Irwinville, Georgia.

Harnden mustered out of the service in July 1865 and returned to Wisconsin, settling in Madison. He served one term in the Wisconsin State Assembly (1866), as well as U.S. Assesor (1867–1873), and U.S. Collector of Internal Revenue (1873–1883). In 1899, Harnden was Department Commander of the Wisconsin GAR until his death.

Harnden died of pneumonia at his home in Madison, Wisconsin, and was buried there in the historic Forest Hill Cemetery. He was survived by his widow and four children.

Due to the controversies surrounding the capture of Jefferson Davis, Harnden authored a short book, The Capture of Jefferson Davis, published in 1898.

See also[]

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