Original Wartime CDV of General Christopher C. Auger – Seated view CDV with great contrast by Anthony, NY. Accompanied by a bold ink signature with rank.
Christopher Columbus Augur (July 10, 1821 – January 16,
1898) was an American military officer, most noted for his role in the American
Civil War. Although less well known than other Union commanders, he was
nonetheless considered an able battlefield commander.
Augur was born in Kendall, New York. He moved with his
family to Michigan and entered West Point in 1839. Augur graduated in 1843 in
the same class as General of the Army Ulysses S. Grant. Following his
graduation, Augur served as aide-de-camp to Generals Hopping and Cushing during
the Mexican–American War, and during the 1850s took an active part in the
campaigns of the western frontier against the Yakima and Rogue River tribes of
Washington and, in 1856, against the Oregon Indians. In Oregon, he was
responsible for building Fort Hoskins in Kings Valley.
Augur was promoted to the rank of Major in the 13th Infantry
on May 14, 1861. The American Civil War was just over four months old when
Augur was made Commandant of Cadets at West Point on August 26, 1861, replacing
John F. Reynolds who, newly promoted to Brigadier General, had left that
position on June 25, 1861, to perform other military duties. Augur served as
Commandant of Cadets and West Point's infantry tactics instructor until
December 5, 1861.
In November, 1861, Augur was appointed Brigadier General of
volunteers and assigned a brigade command in Brigadier General Irvin McDowell's
Corps. In July, 1862, Augur was transferred to command a division under Major
General Nathaniel Banks. Augur was severely wounded at the Battle of Cedar
Mountain in August 1862. He was appointed Major General of volunteers by President
Abraham Lincoln on November 14, 1862, with the date of August 9, 1862, as his
effective date of rank. President Lincoln had to submit the nomination three
times before the U.S. Senate finally confirmed the appointment on March 10,
In November, 1862, Augur was reunited with his Corps, the
XIX Army Corps. The XIX Corps comprised the whole of the Army of the Gulf under
the command of Major General Benjamin Butler, which was in Louisiana at that
time. Major General Augur was in command at Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on May 2,
1863, where he unexpectedly received Colonel Benjamin H. Grierson leading his
tattered and exhausted volunteer Brigade of Union cavalrymen from their
sixteen-day, 600 mile raid (Grierson's Raid) behind Confederate lines in
Tennessee, Mississippi and Louisiana. Augur insisted that Grierson’s command be
honored with a parade, and subsequently Grierson and his troopers were regaled
with flying banners and martial music as they entered the city marching in a
column that extended for two miles through the streets of Baton Rouge.
During the Siege of Port Hudson, which lasted from April 27
to July 9, 1863, Augur commanded the First Division in the XIX Corps of Major
General Bank's Army of the Gulf. Banks had replaced Butler as the Army's commander
in December, 1862. Augur's First Division acted as the left wing of Bank's army
throughout the siege. Augur was brevetted first to Brigadier General in the
United States Army on March 13, 1865, for his meritorious service during the
Post Hudson Campaign and then, on the same date, brevetted to Major General for
his service during the war.
After the fall of Port Hudson, Augur was assigned command of
the XXII Corps and the Department of Washington which he held from October 13,
1863 to August 13, 1866.
Augur was one of the Army officers who were present at the
Petersen House where the mortally wounded President Abraham Lincoln was taken
after he was shot by John Wilkes Booth. At Secretary of War Edwin Stanton’s
request, Augur went into the street and called out for a competent phonographer
who knew shorthand well enough to take verbatim notes for Stanton as he
interviewed witnesses to that night’s tragic event. Corporal James R. Tanner
answered Augur's call and volunteered to transcribe the witness accounts for
Secretary Stanton. Augur escorted Corporal Tanner into the Petersen House where
he introduced Tanner to Secretary Stanton and Chief Justice David K. Cartter,
who was also present for the depositions. Augur then outlined to Tanner what
his duties would be for the rest of the night.
Throughout that fateful night, and in the following days,
Augur was instrumental in mobilizing troops in his command to pursue and
eventually capture Booth and his co-conspirators, including detailing the
detachment of the 16th Regiment New York Volunteer Cavalry under the command of
Lt. Edward P. Doherty to follow a lead
given to Stanton by a Union spy which eventually led to Lt. Doherty and his
detachment tracking down and cornering President Lincoln's assassin, Booth, and
his associate, David Herold, in a tobacco barn near Port Royal, Virginia.
At about 9:30 A.M. on the morning of April 15, 1865, about
ninety-minutes after Mr. Lincoln had succumbed to the assassin's bullet, Augur
served as one of the officers who walked as escorts for the president's body
from the Petersen House, where the president died, to the White House. On
Wednesday, April 19, 1865, Augur served as the officer in charge of the
military procession that escorted the president’s body from the White House to
the Capitol where it would lie in state.
Following the war, Augur went on to command several military
departments: the Department of the Platte from January 15, 1867, to November
13, 1871; the Department of Texas from November, 1871, to March, 1875; the
Department of the Gulf from 1875 to July 1, 1878; the Department of the South
from July 1, 1878, to December 26, 1880; and then he returned to the Department
of Texas where he commanded for approximately another three years between
January 2, 1881, and October 31, 1883. He headed up the Military Division of
the Missouri from 1883–85. He also played a major role in negotiating the
Treaty of Medicine Lodge in 1867 and the Treaty of Fort Laramie in 1868. A fort
in the Wyoming Territory was briefly named Fort Augur in his honor. In 1885, he
retired from the Army with the rank of Brigadier General.
He was a member of the Aztec Club of 1847, the Military
Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States and the Military Order of
Augur died in Georgetown, Washington, D.C. on January 16, 1898, and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
Inventory Number: AUT 003