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Brevet Brigadier-General Charles Paine Herring, U.S.V.

Brevet Brigadier-General Charles Paine Herring was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, August 8, 1827. He was of English and French descent, and was a nephew of Rembrandt Peale. He was, until the opening of the Rebellion, engaged in mercantile pursuits in Philadelphia. In June, 1861, he became second lieutenant of Company C of the Gray Reserves, commanded by Captain Charles M. Prevost. In May, 1862, he acted as adjutant of the battalion, under Colonel Charles S. Smith, which was employed in quelling the riots in Schuylkill County. In August of the same year, upon the formation of the One Hundred and Eighteenth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, he was commissioned major, and Captain Charles M. Prevost received the commission of colonel. On September 20, a few weeks only after being mustered into the service, the regiment became involved in the memorable disaster at Shepherdstown, Virginia. It had been with the reserve in the preceding battle of Antietam, but with that exception had never been under fire. A gallant stand was made, but it was soon forced from the field by sheer weight of numbers. The action lasted for a few moments only, but the losses were remarkably severe. There were one hundred and seventy-seven killed and wounded, besides ninety-three taken prisoners, of perhaps six hundred taken into action. It was in this engagement that General Charles M. Prevost received the wound which ultimately terminated his life. General Herring rendered himself conspicuous by his services on this occasion, and displayed that remarkable coolness and bravery which characterized his conduct in every succeeding engagement. It was due in large degree to his soldierly conduct, I after General Prevost was disabled, that the balance of the regiment was able to retire from the field. At the battle of Fredericksburg he was wounded in both arms, but for some time refused to leave his command. At Chancellorsville he commanded the rear-guard in the retreat of the army across the river. At Gettysburg, where the position of his regiment on the second day was particularly hazardous, he was again distinguished. He was in 1 command of his regiment during the Wilderness campaign, except on the first day. A brilliant charge led by him on the evening of May 8, while in command of a brigade of five regiments, received the especial commendation of his superior officers. He continued uninterruptedly with his regiment, with great self-abnegation refusing promotions which would have severed his connection with it, until he received at Dabney's Mill, February 6, 1865, the wound which resulted in the loss of his right leg.

General Herring was promoted lieutenant-colonel November 1, 1863, and brevetted colonel United States volunteers December 2, 1864, "for gallant services at the battle of the Wilderness and during the present campaign before Richmond, Virginia;" brigadier-general March 13, 1865, " for gallant and meritorious services in the battle of Hatcher's Run, Virginia."

General Herring was honorably mustered out June 1, 1865. After the close of the war he engaged in business in Philadelphia with General Charles M. Prevost. A friendship and devotion cemented in the varied scenes of the march and camp and battle was continued for many years in the close relations of business. General Prevost's death preceded the death of General Herring by little more than one year.

General Herring was a noble man. There were men as brave as he, although his bravery was remarkable. There were men who, like him, showed not only courage, but presence of mind and skill in the roar of battle. There were men as unselfish and devoted in their patriotism. There were men whose lives revealed the same simple and beautiful faith and earnest piety. But in him were combined an exceptional number of qualities at once noble, manly, and admirable. There must have been a rare charm and worth in his life to cause brave men, soldiers of many battle-fields, to look into his coffin with tear-dimmed eyes.

General Herring died January 17, 1889, at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Source: Officers of the Volunteer Army and Navy who served in the Civil War, published by L.R. Hamersly & Co., 1893, 419 pgs.

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