Samuel P. Heintzelman

Samuel Peter Heintzelman (September 30, 1805 – May 1, 1880) was a United States Army general. He served in the Seminole War, the Mexican–American War, the Yuma War and the Cortina Troubles. During the American Civil War he was a prominent figure in the early months of the war rising to the command of a corps.

The World War II Liberty ship SS Samuel Heintzelman, launched on 30 September 1942, was named in his honor.

Samuel Peter Heintzelman
Samuel P. Heintzelman - Brady-Handy
Samuel P. Heintzelman
BornSeptember 30, 1805
Manheim, Pennsylvania
DiedMay 1, 1880 (aged 74)
Washington, D.C.
Place of burial
Forest Lawn Cemetery, Buffalo, New York
AllegianceUnited States of America
Service/branchUnited States Army
Union Army
Years of service1826–1869
RankUnion Army major general rank insignia.svg Major General
Commands heldIII Corps
XXII Corps
Battles/warsSeminole War

Mexican–American War

Yuma War

  • Battle of Coyote Canyon
  • Battle of the Gila River

Cortina Troubles

American Civil War

Appletons' Heintzelman Samuel Peter signature

Early life and military service

Heintzelman was born in Manheim, Pennsylvania, to Peter and Ann Elizabeth Grubb Heintzelman. He graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1826 and was commissioned a brevet second lieutenant in the 3rd U.S. Infantry, July 1, 1826, then in the 2nd U.S. Infantry and served on the Northern frontier at Fort Gratiot, Fort Mackinac, and Fort Brady. On March 4, 1833, he was promoted to first lieutenant and served on quartermaster's duty in Florida during the Second Seminole War. On July 7, 1838, he was appointed captain in the Quartermaster's Department, remaining in Florida with the 2nd Infantry until the close of the war in 1842. In 1847, during the Mexican–American War, he joined General Winfield Scott's army in Mexico, taking part in several engagements, for which he was appointed brevet major on October 9, 1847. In 1848–49 he accompanied his regiment around Cape Horn to California, and for several years served in California and the Arizona Territory.

In December 1851, Major Heintzelman led the Yuma Expedition from the post of San Diego to put down the Yuma uprising, called the Yuma War. His expedition established Fort Yuma and peace was made in October, 1852. He received the brevet of lieutenant colonel for his conduct in the campaign against the Yuma Indians and on March 3, 1855, he was promoted to major of the 1st U.S. Infantry and served with that regiment on the Texas frontier.[1] In 1859, during the First Cortina War in Texas, he was largely responsible for the defeat of Juan Cortina's forces.

Heintzelman was the first president of the Sonora Exploring and Mining Company which established the Cerro Colorado, Arizona, mining town in southern Arizona. The town became famous during the American Civil War for the massacre of mine employees by Mexican outlaws and for buried treasure.

Civil War

When the Civil War began, Heintzelman was promoted to colonel of the 17th U.S. Infantry and brigadier general of volunteers in May 1861. He led a division at First Bull Run in July and was wounded in the elbow.

Heintzelman was in overall command of the 2nd Michigan Infantry regiment that was responsible for the raid, ransacking, and devastation of Pohick Church in Lorton, Virginia, on November 12, 1861. The historic church was built in 1769 by George Washington, George Mason, and George William Fairfax, among others, and restored after the War of 1812 by President Martin Van Buren, John Quincy Adams, and Francis Scott Key, among others. This ransacking caused the loss of a myriad of irreplaceable artifacts.[2]

In March 1862, President Lincoln organized the Army of the Potomac into corps, and Heintzelman received the III Corps of the Army of the Potomac in the Peninsula Campaign. His corps played a prominent role in the siege of Yorktown where Heintzelman and division commander Fitz John Porter were among the first to use the Union Army Balloon Corps. The corps bore the brunt of the fighting at Williamsburg and saw significant action at Fair Oaks, Oak Grove, and Glendale. His corps was temporarily attached to the Army of Virginia and took part in the Second Battle of Bull Run. He was commissioned as a brevet brigadier general in the regular army for the battle of Fair Oaks and a major general of volunteers for the battle of Williamsburg. At the Battle of Glendale, Heintzelman was bruised in the wrist by a spent bullet and was unable to use his left arm for a few weeks. After the Seven Days Battles, he was promoted to major general of volunteers to rank from May 5. His popularity and confidence in the army were eclipsed by the aggressive nature of his subordinate division commanders Joseph Hooker and Philip Kearny, and he did not display any notable leadership or tactical prowess in either the Peninsula Campaign or Second Bull Run, although following the Union retreat from Gaines Mill, he was one of three corps commanders to advocate launching a counterattack against the Army of Northern Virginia.[3]

The Second Bull Run campaign had been very hard on the III Corps, which sustained heavy losses, including one of its division commanders, and had come close to being driven from the field in panic. On September 4, Heintzelman was relieved from command, being judged as too old and insufficiently aggressive. He spent the remainder of the war commanding the Washington defenses. At war's end in 1865, Heintzelman reverted to the rank of colonel in the regular army. He served on army boards of inquiry and on occupation duty in Texas as part of Reconstruction.

Heintzelman retired on February 22, 1869 and was granted a promotion to major general, entitling him to the pension of that rank. He died in Washington, D.C., on May 1, 1880, at the age of 74. He is buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery, Buffalo, New York. According to his doctor, he died of complications arising from an attack of pleurisy during the Peninsula Campaign eighteen years earlier.[4]

His grandson Stuart Heintzelman, a West Point alumnus of the class of 1899, served in World War I and rose to the rank of Major General.

See also


  1. ^ Robinson, p. 4.
  2. ^ Pohick Church history
  3. ^ Heintzelman's obituary by John C. Robinson
  4. ^ Roll of Honor, The Buffalo Commercial, (Buffalo, New York) May 31, 1900, page 8, accessed May 19, 2017 at


  • Eicher, John H., and David J. Eicher. Civil War High Commands. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2001. ISBN 0-8047-3641-3.
  • Robinson, John C. Obituary Notice of Major General Samuel P. Heintzelman, First Commander of the Third Army Corps. New York: Charles H. Ludwitt, 1881.]
  • Warner, Ezra J. Generals in Blue: Lives of the Union Commanders. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1964. ISBN 0-8071-0822-7.
  • Pohick Church history

External links

Preceded by
Commander of the III Corps (Army of the Potomac)
March 13 – October 30, 1862
Succeeded by
George Stoneman
Army of Virginia

The Army of Virginia was organized as a major unit of the Union Army and operated briefly and unsuccessfully in 1862 in the American Civil War. It should not be confused with its principal opponent, the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, commanded by Robert E. Lee.

Battle of Huamantla

The Battle of Huamantla was a U.S. victory late in the Mexican–American War that forced the Mexican Army to lift the Siege of Puebla.

Battle of La Ebonal

The Battle of La Ebonal was fought in December 1859 near Brownsville, Texas during the First Cortina War. Following the Brownsville Raid, on September 28, and a few skirmishes with the Texas Rangers, rebel leader Juan Cortina led his small army into the hills outside of town and dug in near a series of cattle ranches. The United States Army responded by sending an expedition into the area, under the command of Major Samuel P. Heintzelman, with orders to pacify all resistance. A minor battle began on December 13, at a ranch called La Ebonal, and continued for a few hours as the Americans routed and then pursued the retreating Cortinistas.

Cerro Colorado, Arizona

Cerro Colorado is a ghost town in southern Pima County, Arizona. The town is located off Arivaca Road, near Arivaca, and is best known for the massacre of mining employees by Mexican outlaws and buried treasure.

Chantilly Union order of battle

The following Union Army units and commanders fought in the Battle of Chantilly of the American Civil War. The Confederate order of battle is shown separately.

Dead man's hand

The dead man's hand is a nickname for a particular poker hand, popularly a two-pair of black aces and black eights, although definitions of the hand have varied through the years.

Such a hand is said to have been held by Old West folk hero, lawman, and gunfighter Wild Bill Hickok when he was murdered. No contemporaneous source records this hand's exact cards, but Frank Wilstach's 1926 book Wild Bill Hickok: The Prince of Pistoleers led to the popular modern conception of the "dead man's hand" as containing pairs of black aces and black eights. In Hickok's case these would have been combined with an unknown hole card.

Department of Washington

Department of Washington, was a department of the Union Army constituted on April 9, 1861. It consisted of the District of Columbia to its original boundaries, and the State of Maryland as far as Bladensburg. It was merged into the Military Division of the Potomac on July 25, 1861. Later it was recreated on February 2, 1863 as the consolidated Department of Washington and XXII Corps. It was again made the Department of Washington in 1865 and that command remained until 1869 when it was disbanded.

Fort Yuma

Fort Yuma was a fort in California located in Imperial County, across the Colorado River from Yuma, Arizona. It was on the Butterfield Overland Mail route from 1858 until 1861 and was abandoned May 16, 1883, and transferred to the Department of the Interior. The Fort Yuma Indian School and the Saint Thomas Yuma Indian Mission now occupy the site. It is one of the "associated sites" listed as Yuma Crossing and Associated Sites on the National Register of Historic Places in the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area. In addition, it is registered as California Historical Landmark #806.

Frisco shootout

The Frisco shootout was an Old West gunfight that began on December 1, 1884, involving lawman Elfego Baca. The shootout happened in Reserve, New Mexico, and stemmed from Baca's arrest of a cowboy who had been shooting into the air and into buildings at random while intoxicated.

George McKelvey (lawman)

George McKelvey was a lawman in Charleston, Cochise County, Arizona during the 1880s. He is known for arresting Johnny-Behind-the-Deuce (Michael O'Rourke) on January 14, 1881 after he killed Tombstone Mill and Mining Company’s chief engineer Phillip Schneider in apparent self-defense. Schneider was well-liked, and residents of Charleston formed an angry mob and threatened to lynch O'Rourke.McKelvey put O'Rourke on a buckboard wagon and hurried towards Tombstone, 10 miles (16 km) away, pursued by the angry citizens. Charleston authorities telegraphed Tombstone Marshal Ben Sippy to let him know that McKelvey was on his way with a prisoner. In an episode that later became famous, McKelvey encountered either Virgil or Wyatt Earp on his way into Tombstone. Various versions of the story differ, but Virgil or Wyatt reportedly put O'Rourke on the back of his horse and escorted him to Vogan’s Saloon. Wyatt, aided by Virgil and Marshal Ben Sippy, stood down the crowd in a nervy display that soon fed his reputation as a fearless lawman.After the mob was calmed down, McKelvey joined a 15-man posse, including Cochise County Deputy Sheriff Johnny Behan and Marshal Ben Sippy, who guarded O'Rourke during the 10 miles (16 km) ride to Tucson.


Heintzelman may refer to:

Ken Heintzelman (1915–2000), professional baseball pitcher

Samuel P. Heintzelman (1805–1880), United States Army General

Stuart Heintzelman (1876–1935), American soldier

Tom Heintzelman (born 1946), former Major League Baseball infielder

III Corps (Union Army)

There were four formations in the Union Army designated as III Corps (or Third Army Corps) during the American Civil War.

Three were short-lived:

In the Army of Virginia, a temporary designation of the command better known as I Corps (Army of the Potomac)::

Irvin McDowell (June 26, 1862 – September 5, 1862);

James B. Ricketts (September 5, 1862 – September 6, 1862);

Joseph Hooker (September 6, 1862 – September 12, 1862)

In the Army of the Ohio:

Charles C. Gilbert (September 29, 1862 – October 24, 1862)

In the Army of the Cumberland:

Charles C. Gilbert (October 24, 1862 – November 5, 1862)The other, the III Corps, Army of the Potomac (March 13, 1862 – March 24, 1864), is the subject of this article.

Intrepid (balloon)

The Intrepid was a hydrogen gas balloon or aerostat built for use by the Union Army Balloon Corps for aerial reconnaissance purposes during the American Civil War. It was one of seven balloons constructed for the Balloon Corps and was one of the four larger balloons designed to make ascensions to higher elevations with a larger lift capacity for telegraph equipment and an operator. It was the balloon of choice for Chief Aeronaut Thaddeus Lowe overlooking the Battle of Fair Oaks.The fateful flight over the Battle of Fair Oaks was instrumental in saving the fragmented army of Union Army General Samuel P. Heintzelman from what would have been a sure defeat at the hands of the Confederates. The Intrepid undergoing lengthy inflation was quickly hooked up to the spout of the smaller Constitution by means of a de-bottomed camp kettle by which the gas was transferred in shorter time to make the ascent.

In 1983, the U.S. Postal Service honored the Intrepid with a postage stamp.

Invincible (schooner)

Invincible was a 120-ton topsail schooner, used as a transport for the U. S. Army Department of the Pacific in California from 1849 to 1851.

It was noted in Army reports of Bvt. Major H. D. Rucker, as carrying 13,000 rations to be used to feed starving settlers on the trails to California. It sailed from Benica to Sacramento between September 9–11, 1849, carrying the major who was in charge of organizing the relief parties.On November 1, 1850, the Invincible was later sent from San Francisco on a mission to deliver 10,000 rations to the garrison of the remote post of Fort Yuma on the Colorado River. Captain Alfred H. Wilcox was in command of the 12-man crew, and Lieutenant George Derby was in command of the mission to see if the rations could be delivered by the schooner up the Colorado River from the Gulf of California. Fort Yuma was being supplied by land from San Diego, across the coastal mountains and the Colorado Desert. This route proved to be difficult and expensive, leading to a food shortage.

The schooner arrived in San Diego to pick up the rations, then proceeded to the mouth of the Colorado River, stopping only at Cabo San Lucas and Guaymas. The Invincible arrived at the river mouth on December 25. Captain Wilcox then ascended the river but with difficulty. The Invincible, drawing eight feet of water, was grounded at every ebb tide, which was extreme in the Colorado River Delta. On January 3, 1850, some 30 miles upriver, Captain Wilcox was forced to drop anchor, his way blocked by shoals too shallow to pass. Local Cocopah people there that day agreed to carry a message to Fort Yuma of the arrival of the ship.

After waiting until 11 January without receiving an answer, Derby, who due to an old British chart of the river mouth, believed the fort to be nearby instead of 120 miles away, attempted to continue up the river to reach the fort with the ship's longboat. Two days later, he met the fort commander, Major Samuel P. Heintzelman, coming down the river in a boat. Arraignments were made to unload the boats at the ship's anchorage on the shore of Sonora and loaded onto wagons from the fort on 28 January.

List of Old West gunfights

This is a list of Old West gunfights. Gunfights have left a lasting impression on American frontier history; many were retold and embellished by dime novels and magazines like Harper's Weekly during the late 19th century. The most notable shootouts took place in Arizona, California, New Mexico, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. Some like the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral were the outcome of long-simmering feuds and rivalries but most were the result of a confrontation between outlaws and law enforcement.

List of cowboys and cowgirls

The following list of cowboys and cowgirls from the frontier era of the American Old West (circa 1830 to 1910) was compiled to show examples of the cowboy and cowgirl genre.

Stuart Heintzelman

Major General Stuart Heintzelman (19 November 1876 – 6 July 1935) was an American soldier. He was a grandson of Civil War general Samuel P. Heintzelman.

Tack piano

A tack piano , also known as a harpsipiano, jangle piano, and a junk piano, is an altered version of an ordinary piano, in which objects such as thumbtacks or nails are placed on the felt-padded hammers of the instrument at the point where the hammers hit the strings, giving the instrument a tinny, more percussive sound. It is used to evoke the feeling of a honky-tonk piano (a piano in which one or more strings of each key are slightly detuned).Tack pianos are commonly associated with ragtime pieces, often appearing in Hollywood Western saloon scenes featuring old upright pianos. The instrument was originally used for classical music performances as a substitute for a harpsichord.

Yuma Expedition

The Yuma Expedition was a U.S. Army military operation from 8 February 1852, to October, 1852 in the Yuma War.

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