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Bill Thayer

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[image ALT: A head-and‑shoulders photograph of an alert-looking old man with a bushy mustache and receding hair; he wears double-breasted military jacket with elaborate epaulets. He is Henry Brown Osgood, a West Point graduate whose career is detailed on this webpage.]

General Henry B. Osgood.

The preceding image, and the text that follows, are reproduced from (the report of the) Fortieth Annual Reunion of the Association of the Graduates of the United States Military Academy, June 10th, 1909.

 p137  Henry Brown Osgood
No. 2185. Class of 1864.
Died March 12, 1909, at Stephentown, N. Y., aged 65.

General Osgood was born at Fryeburg, Maine, on October 13, 1843, of the best American ancestry, being a great-great grandson of General Israel Putnam, and also a descendant of Eleazer Wheelock, founder and first President of Dartmouth College. His father, a distinguished lawyer, married the daughter of Judah Dana (second U. S. Senator from Maine) and sister of Governor John Winchester Dana.

The Danas descended from Richard Dana, born in France in 1612, who fled to England on account of the Edict of Restitution, so-called; emigrated to America in 1640 and settled in Cambridge, Mass.

When only eighteen years, old, General Osgood enlisted in the 27th Maine Infantry, September 30, 1862, was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant of his company and promoted to First Lieutenant on December 15th. The term of service of his regiment (nine months) having expired during the invasion of Pennsylvania by General Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Lee's army, 312 officers and men, including Lieutenant Osgood, volunteered to remain and did remain until the battle of Gettysburg had been fought and won. For this these men were given medals of honor.​a

He was appointed a cadet at the United States Military Academy; reported September 1, 1863, and graduated June 17, 1867. As a cadet he was a fair student, of excellent ability, and while he always maintained a good standing in his class and graduated with credit, he was not a hard student. The hazing of new cadets was the custom in his time, but every Plebe of his date always remembers him with affection, as he was their friend and adviser in all of their troubles. He was  p138 assigned to the Third Artillery upon graduation and like all of his class assigned to that arm, had to serve as a Lieutenant for over twenty years. It was soon discovered that he was a man of unusual energy, having a practical knowledge of many useful things and a sound common sense that makes in the army what we call a born quartermaster. Every Post Commander where he was stationed selected him as Post Quartermaster and Commissary, Ordnance Officer, etc., and to him fell all of the general work of the Post. Having an inherent love of trees and flowers, he accomplished much in landscape improvements at all Posts where he served. It has been said that from the refuse pile of brick and heating material at any Post, Osgood would soon have a pretty greenhouse filled with flowers. At Fort Monroe this certainly happened.

His appointment as Captain-Commissary of Subsistence, October 5th, 1889, gave the Subsistence Department an officer already well trained in its work. The Spanish War found him on the Staff of the General of the Army, Washington, D. C., followed by duty in the field with troops in Florida; Chief and Purchasing Commissary, Department of Santiago, Cuba; Depot Commissary, Manila, P. I.; Chief Commissary of various Departments in the United States until he was retired with the rank of Brigadier General, October 13, 1907, at the age of sixty-four years, when on duty as Chief Commissary, Department of the East.

General Osgood's lovable disposition and strong personality, his thorough fitness for his work in the Army and conscientious regard for its performance made him a very valuable man wherever he served. His personal concern for the destitute Cubans at Santiago was very marked. Under his administration they were fed and cared for not only with promptness but with a personal sympathy that touched their hearts.

The loss of his son Winchester Dana Osgood, who was killed while leading the Cuban insurgent field artillery against  p139 the Spaniards at Guaimara before the Spanish War, was a great blow and may have added to General Osgood's personal interest in the Cubans.

Upon his retirement from active service he settled at Stephentown, N. Y., upon the old homestead of his wife's family and with his accustomed energy started in to rebuild the old buildings, construct new dwellings for his help, etc., work that occupied his whole time, making him contented and happy.

He was a member of the Society of Cincinnati and of the Loyal Legion. He leaves a wife, two sons and two daughters, Henry Douglas and Edwin Putnam Osgood, Mrs. Basil Taylor and Mrs. Bernard Cogan.


Thayer's Note:

a See my note to Gen. Osgood's entry in Cullum's Register.

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Page updated: 17 Dec 13