Thomas Leonidas Crittenden was born May 15th 1819 in Russellville Kentucky the son of United States Senator John J Crittenden. He studied for the bar with his father and began a practice in 1840 in Kentucky. Crittenden served during the Mexican American War as a Lieutenant Colonel in the 3rd Kentucky Volunteers and an aide to General Zachary Taylor. Following the war he served as the United States Consul in Liverpool.
Kentucky declared neutrality when the Civil War began in 1861. Crittenden pledged loyalty to the Union [he had other family members who joined the Confederacy]. He was appointed Brigadier General and given command of the 5th Division in the Army of the Ohio. He saw action at the Battle of Shiloh, Battle of Stones River, during the Perryville Campaign and many others. Crittenden resigned his command December 13th 1864.
In the years after the war Crittenden was the Kentucky State Treasurer. President Andrew Johnson asked him to return to military service, which Crittenden did on July 28th 1866 as a Colonel in the 32nd Infantry. He was given a brevet rank of Brigadier General in the United State regular army for his service at the Battle of Stone River, before retiring in 1881. Crittenden died October 23rd 1893 in Annadale, New York. He is buried in the City Cemetery in Frankfort, Kentucky.
Crittenden’s son John Jordan Crittenden III died at the Battle of Little Bighorn while serving with Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer in 1876.