Portrait of Hugh Boyle Ewing

At the Battle of Antietam (September 17, 1862) Hugh Boyle Ewing’s brigade was positioned on the extreme left of the Union line. According to commander Major General Ambrose Burnside, Ewing’s men “saved the left from being completely driven in” during a Confederate attack. [Wikimedia Commons]

Hugh Boyle Ewing - Facts

October 31, 1826 - June 30, 1905

Key facts about Hugh Boyle Ewing, a lawyer, writer, ambassador and soldier, who served the Union army as a general officer in the Eastern and Western theaters during the American Civil War.

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Full Name:

  • Hugh Boyle Ewing

Birth Date:

  • October 31, 1826

Birth Location:

  • Lancaster, Ohio

Parents:

  • Thomas and Maria (Boyle) Ewing

Education:

  • United States Military Academy (DNG)

Occupation:

  • Lawyer
  • Military officer
  • Author

Career Summary:

  • Brigadier General (USVA)
  • Brevet Major General (USVA)
  • American Minister to Holland

Spouse:

  • Henrietta Young (1858)

Place of Death:

  • Fairfield County, Ohio

Date of Death:

  • June 30, 1905

Place of Burial:

  • St. Mary Cemetery, Lancaster

Significance:

  • Hugh Boyle Ewing was the fourth child and third son of Thomas Ewing and Maria (Boyle) Ewing.
  • Hugh Boyle Ewing’s father, Thomas Ewing, Sr., was a prominent lawyer, and a U.S. senator who also served as U.S. Secretary of the Treasury and U.S. Secretary of the Interior.
  • Two of Hugh Boyle Ewing’s brothers (Thomas Ewing Jr. and Charles Ewing) and his foster brother (William Tecumseh Sherman) eventually became general officers in the Union army during the American Civil War.
  • Hugh Boyle Ewing entered the United States Military Academy in 1844, but he withdrew from the academy during his final year, after failing an engineering exam.
  • Hugh Boyle Ewing unsuccessfully prospected for gold during the 1849 Gold Rush.
  • In 1852, Hugh Boyle Ewing studied law and was admitted to the bar.
  • From 1854 to 1856, Hugh Boyle Ewing practiced law in St. Louis.
  • In 1858, Hugh Boyle Ewing briefly moved to Leavenworth, Kansas, and joined his brother, Thomas Ewing, Jr., and his foster brother, William T. Sherman in establishing the law firm of Sherman & Ewing.
  • On August 3, 1858, Hugh Boyle Ewing married Henrietta Young, daughter of George W. Young, a large plantation owner in the District of Columbia. Their marriage produced seven children (Edith, Eleanor, George Washington, Hugh, Henrietta, Thomas, and Marie).
  • After the Civil War began, Governor William Dennison appointed Hugh Boyle Ewing as Brigade Inspector of the Third Brigade of the Ohio Militia, holding the rank of major, on May 6, 1861.
  • In June 1861, Hugh Boyle Ewing joined Major General George McClellan’s command in western Virginia, where he took part in the Union victory at the Battle of Rich Mountain (July 11, 1861)
  • On August 15, Hugh Boyle Ewing was promoted to colonel and assigned to command the 30th Ohio Infantry. Early in September, Ewing’s regiment joined General William Rosecrans’s forces in western Virginia and he contributed to the Federal victory at the Battle of Carnifex Ferry (September 10, 1861).
  • Hugh Boyle Ewing was promoted to Brigadier General on November 29, 1862
  • In late summer 1863, Hugh Boyle Ewing and his regiment were transferred to the Army of the Potomac near Washington, D.C.
  • On September 14, 1862, Hugh Boyle Ewing led his regiment during the final charge that secured a Union victory at the Battle of South Mountain.
  • On September 14, 1862, Hugh Boyle Ewing was promoted to commander of the 1st Brigade of the Kanawha Division, attached to the Army of the Potomac.
  • At the Battle of Antietam (September 17, 1862) Hugh Boyle Ewing’s brigade was positioned on the extreme left of the Union line. According to commander Major General Ambrose Burnside, Ewing’s men “saved the left from being completely driven in” during a Confederate attack.
  • At the beginning of the 1863 campaign season, Hugh Boyle Ewing led the soldiers of the 30th, 37th, and 47th Ohio regiments along with the 4th Virginia Infantry to join the Union campaign against the Confederate stronghold at Vicksburg, Mississippi.
  • During the Vicksburg Campaign, Hugh Boyle Ewing served in the Army of the Tennessee, commanded by his brother-in-law, Major General William T. Sherman.
  • When federal troops re-occupied Jackson, Mississippi on July 17, 1863, and General William T. Sherman briefly placed Hugh Boyle Ewing in charge of the city.
  • On July 21, General William T. Sherman elevated Hugh Boyle Ewing to command of the 4th Division of the 15th Army Corps and Ewing returned to the vicinity of Vicksburg.
  • In October, Hugh Boyle Ewing’s division moved east with the Army of the Tennessee to assist in lifting Confederate General Braxton Bragg’s siege of Chattanooga, Tennessee.
  • Two of Hugh Boyle Ewing’s brigades led General William T. Sherman’s initial assault against General Patrick Cleburne’s defenders at Tunnel Hill in the Battle of Missionary Ridge (November 25, 1863).
  • In November 1863, Hugh Boyle Ewing’s division moved north to relieve Major General Ambrose Burnside’s forces that were under siege by Major General James Longstreet at Knoxville, Tennessee.
  • In February 1864, Hugh Boyle Ewing was appointed as commander of the District of Louisville. He served in that capacity for one year.
  • In February 1865 Hugh Boyle Ewing rejoined Major General William T. Sherman in North Carolina, but the war ended before he saw any further action.
  • At the close of the Civil War, Hugh Boyle Ewing was brevetted to the rank of major-general “for meritorious services during the war,” to date from March 13, 1865.
  • Hugh Boyle Ewing mustered out of military service on January, 15, 1866.
  • After the Civil War, President Andrew Johnson appointed Hugh Boyle Ewing as the American Minister to Holland. He served in that capacity from 1866 to 1870.
  • In 1870, Hugh Boyle Ewing settled on a farm near Lancaster, Ohio where he pursued a career as a writer. While living there, he penned The Black List; A Tale of Early California; A Castle in the Air; and The Gold Plague.
  • Hugh Boyle Ewing died on his farm on June 30, 1905.
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Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title Hugh Boyle Ewing - Facts
  • Coverage October 31, 1826 - June 30, 1905
  • Author
  • Keywords Hugh Boyle Ewing
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date July 28, 2021
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update April 29, 2021
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