Henry Bohlen was born October 22nd 1810 in Bremen, Germany, while his parents were traveling in Europe. He attended a military college in Germany. In 1832 when his parents returned to the United States, he was pulled out of school and did not complete his education. Once in the United States Bohlen did very well by importing foreign liquors and wines. When the Mexican American War started he volunteered as an Aide-de-Camp and saw some action under Major General Winfield Scott. He returned to his business in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania after the war ended. Bohlen traveled to Europe for his son’s health, serving with the French during the Crimean War.
Bohlen was living in the Netherlands when he heard of the surrender of Fort Sumter. Returning to Philadelphia he began recruiting a mostly German regiment. Bohlen was named the Colonel of the 75th Pennsylvania Infantry on September 30th 1861, serving in Union General Louis Blanker’s division. He was promoted to Brigadier General April 28th 1862, and placed in command of the 3rd Brigade in Union General Carl Schurz’s Division. During the 1862 Valley Campaign, his brigade covered the Union retreat from the Battle of Cross Keys, and saw action at the Battle of Cedar Mountain. While on reconnaissance along the Rappahannock River before the Battle of Second Bull Run, Bohlen was shot in the chest, and killed by a Confederate sharpshooter as his Brigade was trying to cross the river on August 22nd 1862. He is buried in the Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.