Colonel Guy Vernor Henry
40th Massachusetts Mounted Infantry


Colonel Guy Vernor Henry, 40th Massachusetts Mounted Infantry,
commanded the Union cavalry brigade at Olustee.

Carte de Visite from the Richard Ferry Collection. Used with permission.

Born on 9 March 1839 in Fort Smith, Indian Territory, in 1856 Guy V. Henry entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, from which he graduated in early 1861 (placing 25th out of 45). First detailed as a 2nd and then a 1st lieutenant in the 1st United States Regular Artillery, in November 1863 he was commissioned into the volunteers as colonel and assigned command of the 40th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. Colonel Henry commanded the Union cavalry brigade on the Florida Expedition.

After the Battle of Olustee, he commanded his 40th Massachusetts in the 1864 Virginia campaign. On 5 December 1893, he received the Medal of Honor for his services at the Battle of Cold Harbor, on 1 June 1864, where he led assaults upon the enemy works and had two horses shot from under him.

After the Civil War, Henry continued to serve in the U.S. Army as an artillery officer. Later, from 1870 to 1897, he was asssigned to the cavalry, serving in the 3rd and 9th Regiments. He served in numerous actions during the Indian wars, fighting the Apaches, Cheyenne and Sioux. It was during this period that he picked up the nickname "Fighting Guy." He was wounded in the face at the Battle of the Rosebud in Montana and lost an eye. It was for his heroic actions during this battle, continuing to urge on his men until he collapsed, that he was brevetted to brigadier general. In 1892, he became the lieutenant colonel of the 9th Cavalry and was later transferred to the 3rd Cavalry. In 897, he became colonel of the 3rd Cavalry.

In 1898, while serving during the Spanish-American War, he was given the rank of brevet brigadier general of volunteers and then brevet major general. He commanded the "Provisional Division" in Puerto Rico. On 11 October 1898, he was promoted to brigadier general in the U.S. Army. At the war's end, on 6 December 1898, he was designated as governor of Puerto Rico and served in that position until 17 May 1899.

In October 1899, General Henry died from pneumonia while in active duty in New York City, and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. When his body was carried from his house to the ferry, on its way to Arlington Cemetery, Henry's body was accompanied by detachments of three national and state regiments: the 7th U.S. Infantry, and the 69th and 73rd New York Militia. He was survived by his wife, three sons and one daughter.

His grandfather was Daniel P.Tompkins, a governor of New York (1807-1817), and Vice-President of the United States (1817-1825) under President James Monroe.

One of his sons, Guy V. Henry Jr., graduated from West Point in 1898 and was serving with the 26th U.S. Infantry in the Philippines at the time of his father's death. Guy Henry Jr. eventually rose to the rank of major general, serving in the Spanish-American war, the Philippine-American War, and both world wars. Some of his major commands included: the 3rd Cavalry Regiment, 7th Cavalry Brigade, Army Cavalry School, Commandant of Cadets at West Point (19161918), Commander of Fort Myer, Virginia (1927-1930), Chief of Cavalry (19301934), and Commandant of the US Army Cavalry School and Commander of Fort Riley (19351939). Retiring in 1939, he was recalled to active duty in September 1941 and saw active duty in World War II in both the Mediterranean and European Theaters of Operations. He served as head of the Inter-Allied Personnel Board and as Senior Army Member, U.S.-Canadian-Mexican Defense Board from December 1948.

External Web sites related to the Battle of Olustee
Wikipedia page on BGen Guy V. Henry
Arlington National Cemetery page on BGen Guy V. Henry
BGen Guy V. Henry's grave site
BGen Guy V. Henry's New York Times obituary

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