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Brigadier General Henry Clay Hodges, West Point Graduate

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Brigadier General Henry Clay Hodges, West Point Graduate
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8/19/2020 4:03:54 PM
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Robert Underhill
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Henry Clay Hodges (1831 - 1917 grew up in Clarendon, the son of Hannibal Hodges (1790 - 1851) and his 2nd wife Eveline Atwill (1801 - 1841), the middle child of five born to that marriage. 

Henry married Ann Abernathy (1836 - 1911) in 1859 in Oregon City, OR  Her father George Abernathy had been Governor of the Provisional Government of Oregon before it officially became a territory of the US.  Henry & Ann had 4 children, the youngest 3 of which died in infancy. 

Military service played a big role in this family.  Henry's military career began upon his graduation from West Point in 1851.  His grandfather Dr. Silas Hodges (1741 - 1804) who was the first of the family to come to Clarendon had served as physician to George Washington during the Revolutionary War.  Henry's son, Henry Clay Hodges, Jr. (1860 - 1963) also became a Brigadier General.

Henry's military career kept this family on the move.  After marrying in Oregon City, OR in 1859, his son Henry Jr. was born at Ft. Vancouver in WA in 1860.  In 1863 he was living in Detroit, MI after being in NYC.  In 1864 his son George was born at Ft. Leavenworth, KS.  A year later George died on the steamer Constitution off the coast of Point Conception, CA.  In 1868 the family is back at Ft. Vancouver, WA where son William was born.  In 1870 they are living in Philadelphia, PA and it was there in 1871 that his daughter Annie was born.  In 1880 they are living in Washington DC where Ann is working as a teacher.  By 1900 Henry is retired and they are living in Buffalo, NY

The first 10 years of his military career itself included assignments in Wisconsin, California, Oregon, and Washington as he rose to the rank of 1st Lieutenant.  His frontier service included the 1853 - 54 Pacific Railway Explorations, scouting against the Snake Indians, and the 1855 Yakima Expedition.  In 1861 he was promoted to Captain and thereafter served in the Quartermaster Dept. of the Army.  That included service in NYC until 1863.  During that period he was called upon to provide transportation for General McClellan's army for the Peninsular Campaign against Richmond.  A contemporary account of that assignment is as follows:

Capt. Rufus Ingalls and Capt. Henry Hodges were charged by the President and Mr. Stanton with the entire task of transporting the Army of the Potomac to its new base Fortress Monroe and with the utmost diligence was enjoined upon them.  Assistant Secretary of War, Tucker, was assigned as the medium of official communications.  We shall see that they performed the prodigious task intrusted to them in a manner not excelled by any similar feat in the annals of the world

This accomplishment resulted in his promotion to Lt. Colonel and appointment as Quartermaster of the Centre Grand Division of the Army of the Potomac.  Similar assignments and additional promotions followed.  He retired in 1895 as Brigadier General.

At the time Henry took ill at age 86 he was living at the Touraine Hotel (1922 postcard of hotel below) in Buffalo and was packing in anticipation of heading to California for the winter.  That he was an important person is evidenced by his taking ill being a front page news story in the Buffalo Evening News.  Stories of his son Henry Jr. trying to get to Buffalo in time and of Henry's death and funeral service received extensive coverage.  Henry was buried in Arlington Cemetery with his wife Ann following a funeral service in Buffalo.  Their tombstone can be seen below. 

The Rutland Daily Herald also covered Henry's death.  From the Nov. 10, 1917 edition:

Brig. Gen. Henry Clay Hodges whose death in Buffalo, NY., was announced in yesterday's Herald, is survived by four cousins in Clarendon, his native place.  These are Edward W. Hodges, and sons Hannibal W. and Harry S. Hodges, and by Mrs. Edwin Congdon.  When General Hodges came to Rutland as he did summers he always visited in these families

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