James S. Wadsworth
1807 - 1864

from The Burlington (Iowa) Weekly Hawk Eye, 21 May 1864:

        James S. Wadsworth
 Many good men have freely given their
lives to save our country from disruption
and overthrow, and more we apprehend,
must yet die that the nation may live; but
New York has never before laid so noble a
sacrifice on the alter of national integrity
as when General James S. Wadsworth fell
gloriously leading his division in stern re-
sistance to the desperate charge of the co-
horts of slaveholding treason, in the terrible
struggle of Friday last.
 General Wadsorth became a soldier
only at the call of patriotism.  Wealthy by
inheritance, and in the enjoyment of every
temporal blessing, he took the field only at
the imerative call of duty.  A Federalist
by education, a Democrat by conviction,
he early took part in the "Free Soil" move-
ment that divided the Democracy of this
State, and gave a zealous, effective support
to Van Buren and Adams in the Presiden-
tial contest of 1848, as also to Fremont and
Dayton in 1856, and to Lincoln and Hamlin
in 1860.  Appointed a delegate to the
"Peace Conference" or "Congress" of 1861,
he sognalized himself throughout its delib-
erations by a ready and cordial support of
every proposal of conciliation that a Re-
publican could honorably assent to, and a
stern resistance to the other sort.  He was
a most zealous and efficient supporter of
Governor Chase for a leading postion in
President Lincoln's cabinat, and of the
maintainance of the Union against every
open or covert effort to subvert it.
 Secession having culminated in civil war,
Mr. Wadsworth volunteered to serve the
Union cause in any capacity. Gov. Mor-
gan proposed him and Gen. Dix, for Major-
Generals of the force (17 regiments) requir-
ed from this State.  The Government
decided that we were entitled to but one,
and appointed Gen. Dix.  Mr. Wadsworth
asked no rank whatever, but was appoint-
ed an aid on the staff of Gen. McDowell,
and in that capacity participated in the
Bull Run disaster.  Appointed a Brigadier,
he spent the winter of 1861-2 with the army
of the Potomac encamped in Virginia, and
shared its passionate indignation at being
cooped up and virtually beseiged there by
a force but half as large as its own.  He
afterward served several months as mili-
tary governor of Washington, but was in
due time restored to service in the field,
resisting as Major-General a rebel force at
least double his own in the first day's con-
flict at Gettysburg, and sharing in the glo-
rious victory which ultimately crowned
the Union arms on that bloody field. Had
Gen. Meade listened to his urgent advice
in the council of corps commanders the
night before Lee escaped across the Poto-
mac into Virginia last July, there would
have been no great battles to fight in 1864.
 Gen. Wadsworth was the enthusuatic
choice of the Republicans and War Dem-
ocrats of our State for Governor in 1862,
and received the votes of so many of them
as were not absent in the Union armies.---
But seventy or eighty thousand of them
were thus absent, and hence denied a voice
in the election; so a base intrigue among
the mercenary and unprincipled camp-fol-
lowers of the Republican standard was en-
abled to rejoice the heart of every open or
secret traitor from the St. John to the Rio
Grande by defeating him and electing in
his stead Horatio Seymour.  It was the
triumph of cowardice, treachery, and ev-
ery base impulse, and of course short-lived;
The blood of Gen. Wadsworth will lie
heavy on the souls of those pretended  sup-
porters of the government in its hour of
trial who devised and achieved this na-
tional calamity.---N.Y. Tribune.

Maintained by Sue Greenhagen.
E-mail: greenhsh@morrisville.edu