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Humphry Hu-Nan

HUMPHRY HU-NAN In the earlier part of the Civil War Humphreys was employed as a topographical engineer with the Army of the Potomac, and rendered conspicuous services in the Seven Days' Battles. It is stated that he selected the famous position of Malvern Hill, before which Lee's army was defeated. Soon after this he was assigned to command a division of the V. corps, and at the battle of Fredericksburg he distinguished himself greatly in the last attack of Marye's heights. General Burnside recommended him for promotion to the rank of major-general U.S.V., which was not however awarded to Humphreys until after Gettysburg. He took part in the battle of Chancellorsville, and at Gettysburg commanded a division of the III. corps under Sickles. Upon Humphreys' division fell the brunt of Lee's attack on the second day, by which in the end the III. corps was dislodged from its advanced position. His handling of his division in this struggle excited great attention, and was compared to Sheridan's work at Stone river. A few days later he became chief of staff to General Meade, and this position he held throughout the Wilderness campaign. Towards the end of the war General Humphreys succeeded General Hancock in command of the famous II. corps. The short campaign of 1865, which terminated in Lee's surrender, afforded him a greater opportunity of showing his capacity for leadership. His corps played a conspicuous part in the final operations around Petersburg, and the credit of the vigorous and relentless pursuit of Lee's army may be claimed hardly less for Humphreys than for Sheridan. After the war, now brevet major-general, he returned to regular engineer duty as chief engineer of the U.S. army, and retired in 1879. He was a member of the American Philosophical Society (1857) and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1863), and received the degree of LL.D. from Harvard University in 1868. He died at Washington on the 27th of December 1883. Amongst his works may be mentioned From Gettysburg to the Rapidan (1882) and The Virginia Campaigns of 1864-1865 (1882).

See Wilson, Critical Sketches of some Commanders (Boston, 1895).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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