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GENERAL GUY V. HENRY IS DEAD
Distinguished Officer Succumbs to an Attack of Pneumonia
Famed As an Indian Fighter
Rewarded For Bravery in the Civil War and on the Frontier
Governor of Puerto Rico
October 28, 1899 – New York, New York - Brigadier General Guy V. Henry, United States Army, who until recently was Military Governor of the Island of Puerto Rico, died at 3:50 o’clock yesterday morning at his home, 139 Madison Avenue. Pneumonia, which developed from a cold contracted nine days ago was the cause of his death.
“Fighting Guy” Henry, as he was called, was known throughout the Army as a brilliant and fearless campaigner. In the Civil War, the subsequent Indian campaigns, and the Spanish-American War he distinguished himself both in the field and in the council tent, obtaining, as a final recognition of his conspicuous services, the appointment to the chief authority in Puerto Rico after that island had come under the rule of the United States. From his entrance into West Point in 1856 to the time of his death, General Henry’s military career was of unbroken success.
If inheritance counts for anything, General Henry was born under decidedly advantageous conditions. His grandfather was Daniel D. Tompkins, Governor of New York and Vice President of the United States, and his father was Major William S. Henry, who was stationed at Fort Smith, Indian Territory, when General Henry was born on March 3, 1839. Accustomed to life in an Army post and to military ways, young Henry decided early in life to follow the profession of arms. He entered the United States Military Academy in 1856, completing the required course, which at that time covered five years, in 1861 – just in time for the Civil War.
As a Second Lieutenant in the First Regular Artillery, and later as a First Lieutenant in the same regiment, he served until November 1863, when he was chosen Colonel of the Fortieth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. Although his more brilliant achievements took place after that time, he had been by no means inactive before, having served in the Bull Run Campaign of 1861 as an aide on General McDowell’s staff, and afterward in the operations at Key West, Florida; Hilton Head, South Carolina, and in the battle of Pocotaligo in South Carolina. He also participated in the attacks on Charleston and the bombardment of Fort Sumter. After being relieved of the volunteer command in 1865, when the Fortieth Massachusetts was mustered out, he returned to duty with the regular artillery. He was brevetted a Major for distinguished gallantry in the Civil War.
It was in the Indian Wars after 1870 that General Henry made his greatest reputation as a fighter. In that year he was assigned to the Third Cavalry, and went to the frontier, where he remained until 1892. From the first year of his experience in the West General Henry saw plenty of lively fighting, chasing the Apaches over the sandy plains of Arizona or ferreting out the wily Sioux from their lairs in the Dakota hills. Rough campaigning on horse and on foot fell to his lot, and through it all the men under his command felt that “Fighting Guy” knew the Indians and their ways and they followed him blindly on his daring raids against the redmen.
When Sitting Bull was the terror of the frontiersmen in Dakota and the neighboring States, there was no officer of greater repute than this dashing cavalryman. He accompanied General Crook in the Big Horn and Yellowstone expeditions as commander of a squadron, and in the battle of Rosebud Creek lost one of his eyes. In this engagement, though shot and apparently dying, he continue to rally his men until his strength gave out and he sunk unconscious on the ground. The wound that partially deprived him of his sight was made by a 44-calibre ball that penetrated both cheeks, severing the optic nerve; and after the battle his condition was found so perilous that he was sent to California. There he recovered after several months, and later was brevetted a Brigadier General for his bravery in the action.
Many are the incidents related of “Fighting Guy” by his old comrades. On one occasion in the Fall of 1874 he was in command of a small troop of cavalry that went in pursuit of some Cheyenne Indians who had been setting fire to placed along the frontier in Dakota. After a brief fight around a village in which the enemy had intrenched themselves, the pursuit led toward the Canadian border, and the Indians rode into a severe storm and camped there. A large storm of sleet and hail came up, freezing the men’s hands and feet and causing many of the horses to drop in their tracks. One of the subordinate officers ventured to suggest a halt. “No,” answered Henry, and rode on. At last, on the following day, a brief halt was ordered, a fire was started and coffee was made. The surgeon of the expedition went to Henry and reported that five troopers were suffering with frozen feet.
The commander’s reply was: “Help me off with my glove.” His hand was frozen. The surgeon said no more and Henry, without permitting any treatment to be applied to the injured member, gave the order to mount. Again the pursuit proceeded, with men dropping by the roadside or enduing the torture as best they could, and a stop was only made when the Canadian boundary line had been reached and the expedition could go no further.
In the Wounded Knee campaign of 1890 and 1891, Henry was Major of the Ninth Cavalry. During that series of engagements he was involved in many fights and always came off with distinction. Once he rode with three troops to Wounded Knee from Fort Robinson, 118 miles, in less than twenty-five hours, and on another occasion he rescued the Seventh Cavalry from a perilous position where they were entirely surrounded by Indians. In 1892 he became Lieutenant Colonel of the regiment and in the next year was transferred to the Third Cavalry. Four years later, in 1897, he was made Colonel of the Tenth Cavalry.
Soon after hostilities began with Spain in 1898, Colonel Henry was appointed Brigadier General of Volunteers and on December 7, 1898 he was made Major General of Volunteers, his commission as Brigadier General in the Regular Army having been given him on October 11, soon after his appointment to the corresponding volunteer rank. He commanded a brigade under General Miles in Puerto Rico and when General Brooke was relieved of the Governorship of the Island he was succeeded by General Henry, who held the position until he was recalled to Washington last May. Since then he had been awaiting orders and last week he was appointed to the command of the Department of the Missouri. It was his intention to leave for Omaha several days ago, and his sickness came on in the midst of preparations for the trip.
General Henry’s brevets for distinguished services in the Regular Army were many. Congress voted him a Medal of Honor for “noteworthy and conspicuous gallantry while Colonel of the Fortieth Massachusetts volunteers, when leading the assaults of his brigade on the enemy’s works at Cold Harbor, Virginia, June 1, 1864, where he had two horsed shot under him, one while in the act of leaping over the breastworks of the enemy.”
General Henry is survived by his wife, three sons and one daughter, Mrs. James W. Benton. One of the sons, Major Guy V. Henry, Jr, is in Iloilo. He was graduated from West Point in 1898 and is now Major of the Twenty-sixth Infantry. O the older sons, T. Lloyd Henry is in British Columbia and W. Seton Henry is here, having been continually by his father’s bedside, together with Mrs. Henry and Mrs. Benton.
It has been decided to take the body to Washington tomorrow afternoon. It will lie in state in St. John’s Church in that city until Monday morning when the interment will take place in Arlington Cemetery. There may be a short funeral service here at the family residence, but that point has not been determined, and it is likely that no service except the one at the grave will be held at Washington. As escort from one of the New York regiments will attend the body to Washington. The body will be escorted from the house to the ferry in this city by National and State troops. Of the latter there will be the Seventh, Sixty-ninth and Seventy-first regiments. An order to the three regiments was issued last night by Brigadier General Smith to assemble in their armories at 10:30 o’clock tomorrow morning.
From the New York Times, 28 Oct. 1899.