Portrait of Gouverneur K. Warren

Gouverneur Warren’s decisive action on the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg at Little Round Top was instrumental in preventing Confederate General James Longstreet’s forces from turning the Union left flank and possibly changing the outcome of the engagement. [Wikimedia Commons]

Gouverneur Kemble Warren - Facts

January 8, 1830 - August 8, 1882

Key facts about Major General Gouverneur K. Warren, a prominent Union officer, who led the 5th Army Corps of the Army of the Potomac, until Major General Philip Sheridan relieved him of his command following the Battle of Five Forks in 1865.

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Full Name:

  • Gouverneur Kemble Warren

Birth Date:

  • January 8, 1830

Birth Location:

  • Cold Spring, New York

Parents:

  • Phebe (Lickley) and Sylvanus Warren

Education:

  • United States Military Academy (1850)

Occupation:

  • Military officer

Career Summary:

  • Lieutenant Colonel (USA)
  • Major General (USVA)

Spouse:

  • Emily Forbes Chase (1863)

Nickname(s):

  • Hero of Little Round Top

Place of Death:

  • Newport, Rhode Island

Date of Death:

  • August 8, 1882

Place of Burial:

  • Island Cemetery, Newport, Rhode Island

Significance:

  • Gouverneur Kemble Warren was born on January 8, 1830 at Cold Spring, New York, roughly fifteen miles up the Hudson River from the United States Military Academy at West Point.
  • Gouverneur Warren was the fourth of twelve children born to Phebe (Lickley) and Sylvanus Warren, a New York State assemblyman.
  • Gouverneur Warren was named after Gouverneur Kemble, a local industrialist and family friend who later represented New York’s 4th District in the 25th and 26th U.S. Congress (March 4, 1837 – March 4, 1841).
  • Gouverneur Warren attended the United States Military Academy from July 1, 1846 to July 1, 1850, graduating second in his class of forty-four cadets.
  • Upon graduating from West Point, Gouverneur Warren was brevetted to 2nd lieutenant and assigned to the Corps of Topographical Engineers.
  • On September 1, 1854, Gouverneur Warren was promoted to the full rank of 2nd lieutenant.
  • While exploring the West, Gouverneur Warren experienced his first combat at the Battle of Ash Hollow, an engagement against the Sioux Indians in the Nebraska Territory on September 3, 1855.
  • On July 1, 1856, Gouverneur Warren was promoted to first lieutenant.
  • Gouverneur Warren was a mathematics instructor at the U.S. Military Academy from August 29, 1859 until the Civil War erupted in April 1861.
  • On May 14, 1861, Gouverneur Warren accepted a commission as a lieutenant colonel with the 5th New York Volunteer Infantry, also known as Duryee’s Zouaves.
  • Gouverneur Warren participated in the Battle of Big Bethel Church on June 10, 1861.
  • On August 31, 1861, Gouverneur Warren was promoted to colonel and placed in command of the 5th New York Volunteer Infantry.
  • On September 9, 1861, Gouverneur Warren was promoted to captain in the regular army.
  • During the initial stages of the Peninsula Campaign, Gouverneur Warren put his engineering skills to use leading reconnaissance missions and drafting detailed maps of the Virginia Peninsula for the Army of the Potomac.
  • Major General George B. McClellan chose Gouverneur Warren to command the 3rd Brigade of the 2nd Division when he formed the 5th Corps on May 18, 1862.
  • Gouverneur Warren was slightly wounded at the Battle of Gaines’ Mill on June 27, 1862.
  • Gouverneur Warren was brevetted to lieutenant colonel for his “Gallant and Meritorious Services at the Battle of Gaines’s Mill.”
  • During the summer of 1862, Gouverneur Warren’s brigade was withdrawn from the Peninsula and attached to the Army of Virginia.
  • During the Second Battle of Bull Run, Gouverneur Warren’s brigade fought valiantly, suffering over 2,000 casualties while futilely trying to halt a Confederate assault against the Army of Virginia’s left flank.
  • Gouverneur Warren’s remained in reserve at the Battle of Antietam.
  • President Abraham Lincoln appointed Gouverneur Warren to the grade of brigadier general in the volunteer army, effective September 26, 1862. The promotion was confirmed in General Orders, No. 181, published on November 1, 1861.
  • During the Union defeat at the Battle of Fredericksburg, Gouverneur Warren’s brigade covered the Federal retreat across the Rappahannock.
  • On February 2, 1863, Major General Joseph Hooker promoted Gouverneur Warren to a staff position, naming him Chief Topographical Engineer of the Army of the Potomac.
  • Gouverneur served as an assistant to Major General Joseph Hooker during the Union defeat at the Battle of Chancellorsville.
  • On June 8, 1863, Major General Joseph Hooker named Gouverneur Warren as Chief Engineer of the Army of the Potomac.
  • On June 17, 1863, Gouverneur Warren married Emily Forbes Chase. Their union later produced two children.
  • On the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg, Gouverneur Warren made his greatest contribution to the Union war effort.
  • Gouverneur Warren is credited with organizing the defense Little Round Top on the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg.
  • Gouverneur Warren suffered a minor neck wound during the defense of Little Round Top on the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg.
  • Gouverneur Warren’s decisive action on the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg was instrumental in preventing Confederate General James Longstreet’s forces from turning the Union left flank and possibly changing the outcome of the engagement.
  • Following the Union victory at the Battle of Gettysburg, Gouverneur Warren was brevetted to colonel in the regular army for his “gallant and meritorious services.”
  • On August 12, 1863, Major General George Meade appointed Gouverneur Warren to temporarily command the 2nd Army Corps.
  • President Abraham Lincoln appointed Gouverneur Warren to the rank of major general, effective May 3, 1863, as confirmed in General Orders, No. 316, U.S. War Department, on September 18, 1863.
  • Gouverneur Warren’s 2nd Corps played a major role in the Union victory at the Battle of Bristoe Station.
  • During the Mine Run Campaign, Gouverneur Warren independently canceled an assault on well-entrenched Confederate lines scheduled for the morning of November 30.
  • Gouverneur Warren assumed command of the 5th Army Corps on March 23, 1864.
  • Gouverneur Warren and the 5th Corps generally performed well during the Overland, Petersburg, and Appomattox Campaigns, participating in the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House (May 8 – 21, 1864), the Battle of North Anna (May 23–26, 1864), the Battle of Totopotomoy Creek (May 29 – 30, 1864), the Battle of Cold Harbor (May 31 – June 12, 1864), the Second Battle of Petersburg (June 15 – 18, 1864), the Siege of Petersburg (June 9, 1864–March 25, 1865), the Battle of Jerusalem Plank Road (June 21 – 23, 1864), the Battle of Peebles Farm (September 30 – October 2, 1864), the Battle of Boydton Plank Road (October 27-28, 1864), Battle of Dabney’s Mill (February 5-7, 1865), the Battle of White Oak Road (March 31, 1865), and the Battle of Five Forks (April 1, 1865).
  • Things came to a head on April 1, 1865, with Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant’s prior authorization, Major General Philip Sheridan relieved Gouverneur Warren from command of the 5th Army Corps.
  • Gouverneur Warren was reassigned to the defenses of Petersburg from April 3 to May 1, 1865.
  • Gouverneur Warren commanded the Department of Mississippi from May 14 to May 30, 1865.
  • On May 27, 1865, Gouverneur Warren resigned his commission in the volunteer army, but he remained in the regular army.
  • Gouverneur Warren was brevetted to the rank of brigadier general on March 13, 1865 for his “Gallant and Meritorious Services at the Battle of Bristoe Station.”
  • Gouverneur Warren was brevetted to the rank of brigadier general on March 13, 1865 for his “Gallant and Meritorious Services in the Field during the Rebellion.”
  • On March 4, 1879, Gouverneur Warren was promoted to lieutenant colonel with the Corps of Engineers.
  • On December 11, 1879 a board of inquiry convened at Governor’s Island, New York to investigate Gouverneur Warren’s charges that he was unduly relieved of command of the 5th Army Corps following the Battle of Five Forks in 1865.
  • Gouverneur Warren died of acute liver failure at Newport, Rhode Island, on August 8, 1882.
  • Three months after Gouverneur Warren’s death, the U.S. Army issued the results of a board of inquiry exonerating Gouverneur Warren of his actions during the Battle of Five Forks in 1865.
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Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title Gouverneur Kemble Warren - Facts
  • Coverage January 8, 1830 - August 8, 1882
  • Author
  • Keywords Gouverneur Kemble Warren
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date July 31, 2021
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update April 29, 2021