Portrait of Horatio Wright

Horatio Wright was present when Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia to Lieutenant-General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House (April 9, 1865). [Wikimedia Commons]

Horatio Gouverneur Wright - Facts

March 6, 1820 - July 2, 1899

Key facts about Horatio Wright, a prominent general officer in the Union Army during the American Civil War, who served briefly as commander of the Department of the Ohio from August 19, 1862 to March 12, 1863.

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Full Name:

  • Horatio Gouverneur Wright

Birth Date:

  • March 6, 1820

Birth Location:

  • Clinton, Connecticut

Parents:

  • Edward and Nancy Wright

Education:

  • United States Military Academy (1841)

Occupation:

  • Military officer

Career Summary:

  • Brigadier General (USA)
  • Major General (USVA)

Spouse:

  • Louisa Marcella Bradford (1842)

Place of Death:

  • Washington, D.C.

Date of Death:

  • July 2, 1899

Place of Burial:

  • Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia

Significance:

  • Horatio Wright was the second of three children (all sons) born to Edward and Nancy Wright.
  • Horatio Wright graduated from the United States Military Academy on July 1, 1841, second in his class of fifty-two cadets.
  • After graduation, Horatio Wright remained at West Point for four years, as an assistant to the Board of Engineers and as an assistant professor of French and engineering.
  • Horatio Wright married Louisa Marcella Bradford of Culpeper, Virginia, on August 11, 1842. Their marriage produced three children.
  • Horatio Wright was promoted to first lieutenant with the Army Corps of Engineers on February 28, 1848.
  • Horatio Wright was promoted to the rank of captain on July 1, 1855.
  • When the Civil War erupted, Wright was first assigned as chief engineer of an unsuccessful effort on April 20, 1861, to destroy the Gosport Navy Yard (later, Norfolk Navy Yard), in Portsmouth, Virginia, before it could be occupied by Confederate troops.
  • Horatio Wright was captured by Confederate troops on April 20, 1861, but released four days later.
  • On July 21, 1861, Horatio Wright served a chief engineer for Major-General Samuel P. Heintzelman’s 3rd Division during the Union defeat at the First Battle of Bull Run.
  • Horatio Wright was promoted to the rank of major in the regular army on August 6, 1861.
  • Horatio Wright was promoted to brigadier-general in the volunteer army on September 14, 1861.
  • Horatio Wright led one of three brigades that successfully executed the invasion plan from November 3 – 7, occupying the city of Port Royal and Hilton Head, South Carolina.
  • During the spring of 1862, Wright participated in a combined army-navy expedition the resulted in the unopposed occupation of St. Augustine, Florida on March 11, and Jacksonville, Florida on March 12, 1862.
  • Horatio Wright led a division during Major-General David Hunter’s unsuccessful attempt to dislodge Confederate defenders of James Island at the Battle of Seccessionville (June 16, 1862).
  • Horatio Wright commanded the Department of the Ohio from August 19, 1862 to March 12, 1863.
  • Horatio Wright commanded the District of Louisville from March 26 through April 26, 1863.
  • In May 1863, Horatio Wright was transferred to the Eastern Theater and placed in command of the 1st Division of Major-General John Sedgwick’s 6th Corps of the Army of the Potomac.
  • Horatio Wright’s division was present at the Battle of Gettysburg (July 1 – 3, 1863), but held in reserve.
  • In appreciation for his gallant and meritorious service at the Second Battle of Rappahannock Station (November 7, 1863), Horatio Wright was brevetted to the rank of lieutenant-colonel in the regular army effective November 8.
  • Horatio Wright’s division was heavily involved in Lieutenant-General Ulysses S. Grant’s Overland Campaign (May 5-June 24, 1864).
  • Horatio Wright took part in the Battle of the Wilderness, (May 5‑6, 1864).
  • During the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House (May 8 – 21, 1864), Horatio Wright was slightly wounded by shrapnel.
  • Horatio Wright was placed in command of the 6th Corps following the death of Major-General John Sedgwick during the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, on May 9, 1864.
  • Horatio Wright was promoted to major-general of volunteers on May 12, 1864.
  • Horatio Wright commanded the 6th Corps during the bloody fight at the Battle of Cold Harbor (May 31 – June 12, 1864).
  • Horatio Wright commanded the 6th Corps during the Battle of Fort Stevens (July 11–12, 1864).
  • Horatio Wright commanded the 6th Corps at the Battle of Opequan (September 19, 1864), the Battle of Fisher’s Hill (September 22, 1864), and the Battle of Cedar Creek (October 19, 1864).
  • Horatio Wright was wounded on the left side of his face during the Battle of Cedar Creek (October 19, 1864).
  • Horatio Wright commanded the 6th Corps during the Petersburg Campaign (June 1864–March 1865).
  • Horatio Wright was brevetted to brigadier-general in the regular army on March 13, 1865, for “Gallant and Meritorious Services at the Battle of Cold Harbor, Va.”
  • Horatio Wright commanded the 6th Corps at the Battle of Sailor’s Creek (April 6, 1865).
  • Horatio Wright was brevetted to major-general in the regular army for his “Gallant and Meritorious Services at the Capture of Petersburg, Va.,”.
  • Horatio Wright was present when Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia to Lieutenant-General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House (April 9, 1865).
  • During reconstruction, Horatio Wright commanded the Department of Texas from July 20 to August 18, 1866.
  • Horatio Wright was promoted to lieutenant‑colonel with the Corps of Engineers, in the regular army on November 23, 1865.
  • Horatio Wright served briefly as commander of the District of Texas from August 18 – 28, 1866.
  • Horatio Wright mustered out of the volunteer army on September 1, 1866.
  • On March 4, 1879, Horatio Wright was promoted to the rank of colonel in the U.S. Army.
  • Horatio Wright was promoted to the U.S. Army’s Chief of Engineers, with the rank of brigadier-general, on June 30, 1879.
  • Horatio Wright served as commander of the Corps of Engineers, and of the Engineer Bureau at Washington, D. C., from July 3, 1879, until March 6, 1884.
  • Horatio Wright retired from the U.S. Army on March 6, 1884, at the age of sixty-four.
  • Horatio Wright died at his residence in Washington, D.C. on July 2, 1899, at the age of seventy-nine years.
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Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title Horatio Gouverneur Wright - Facts
  • Coverage March 6, 1820 - July 2, 1899
  • Author
  • Keywords Horatio Gouverneur Wright
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date May 27, 2022
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update April 29, 2021
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