Monday, February 21, 2011

His Heart Gave Out

Career United States Army officer and Confederate General John Henry Winder died February 21st 1865.

John Henry Winder was born February 7th 1800 at his families plantation “Rewston” in Somerset County, Maryland, the son of Brigadier General William H and Gertrude [Polk] Winder. He attended the United States Military Academy at West Point graduating 11th in a class of 30 in 1820. After 4 years of military service Winder resigned to run the family plantation. Do to some family deaths and economic hardships Winder was forced to rejoin the army. He was promoted to First Lieutenant November 30th 1833 and given the job of teaching tactic at West Point, where one of his students was Jefferson Davis. Winder saw service during the Mexican - American war including the Battles of Contreras, Churubusco and Mexico City. Following the war Winder held the rank of Major in the United Army, receiving this promotion on November 22nd 1860.

Winder resigned his United State commission on April 27th 1860 and became a Colonel in the Confederate Army. He was made the Assistant Inspector General of Camps on June 21st 1861 with the rank of Brigadier General. Winder’s duties included prisons, handling deserters, setting prices for commodities and command of Libby Prison in Richmond, Virginia. It was Winder who appointed Captain Henry Wirz in April 1864 to command the Confederate Prison camp in Georgia known as Andersonville Prison. On November 21st 1864 Winder was placed in charge of the Confederate Bureau of Prison Camps a post he held until his death.

Winder was on duty in Florence, South Carolina when he had a heart attack and died February 7th 1865. He is buried in the Green Mount Cemetery in Baltimore, Maryland.

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