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Civil War Encyclopedia >> People - Confederate Military
A member of General Winfield Scott's staff during the Mexican American War, Benjamin Huger also was Superintendant at the arsenal at Harper's Ferry in the early 1850's. Major Huger entered the Confederate Army a brigadier general on June 17, 1861 and was placed in charge of the garrison of 13,000 men at Norfolk, Virginia. He watched from Norfolk as the Union army arrived across Chesapeake Bay at Fort Monroe, the first person to report the arrival of the Army of the Potomac to Jefferson Davis.
As Joe Johnston withdrew up Virginia's Lower Peninsula, Huger's position at Norfolk was tenuous. After scuttling the ships in the shipyard and port in early May, 1862, he joined the Confederate Army of the Potomac. During the battle of Fair Oaks Huger was expected to advance to Seven Pines via the Charles City Road, but the men under the command of James Longstreet used the same thoroughfare. Huger's men were unable to advance in support of Daniel Harvey Hill. Following the battle Huger and his South Carolinians took most of the criticism for the failure that day. At the start of the Seven Days Retreat Huger absorbed the attack of "Fighting Joe" Hooker in the Battle of Oak Grove. Following the battle, Robert E. Lee ordered Huger and John Magruder to hold the line south of the Chickahominy River at all costs.
Benjamin Huger cautiously advanced towards the Union line at Frayser's Farm, where he was to play a critical role in blocking the Army of the Potomac. When Union lumberjacks closed the road Huger was advancing on, he decided to build a new one adjacent to the old road. He never made it to the battle.
Following the Seven Days he was relieved of duty, never again commanding. His son Frank, who served under him at Norfolk, fought at Seven Days, Sulphur Springs, Harpers Ferry, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg, eventually getting captured by an old friend, George Armstrong Custer.
Links appearing on this page:
"Fighting Joe" Hooker
Benjamin Huger was last changed on - January 27, 2007
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