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Brevet Brigadier-General Francis E. Pinto. U.S.V.

Brevet Brigadier-General Francis E. Pinto The oldest brick house in New Haven, Connecticut, at this date is the old Pinto house, which was erected in the year 1745 of brick imported from England. In that house was born William Pinto, of Spanish descent, who was the father of Francis E. Pinto. At the time of the invasion by the British during the Revolution he was one of the students of Yale who armed themselves in defence of the town, and did other military service during the war.

Francis Effington Pinto was born in New Haven June 30, 1823, and at a proper age he attended the Lancasterian school. In 1835 he was placed as a boy in a dry-goods house in the city of New York. At the outbreak of the Mexican War, in 1846, he was commissioned second lieutenant in the First New York Volunteers. He was at the landing and siege of Vera Cruz, the storming of Cerro Gordo, the taking of Pueblo, the battle of Contreras, the storming of Chapultepec, and the capture of the City of Mexico. He claims to have placed the first scaling-ladder against the wall of Chapultepec, and assisted the color-sergeant of the regiment up and over the wall, being the first colors in the enemy's works. He was promoted first lieutenant September 14, the date of the capture of the city, and brevetted captain the same date. He was junior member of the first Court of Commissions assembled in the palace of the city. At the close of the war he was mustered out of the service at Fort Hamilton, New York, July, 1848. On Christmas Day, 1848, Captain Pinto took passage, on the steamer " George Law" for the Isthmus, enroute to California, and arrived at San Francisco February 28, 1849. In the spring of 1856 the celebrated Vigilance Committee of San Francisco was formed. He took an active part, and was soon made second in command of the military department of the committee. In July, 1856, he returned to New York, having closed up his business relations and joined his wife, she having preceded him the year previous.

At the outbreak of the war of the Rebellion he joined Colonel Baker and Roderick Mattheson. Baker having an order from President Lincoln to create and equip a California regiment, dissensions soon arose, and Roderick Mattheson, of California, proposed to withdraw from Baker and toss up with Pinto for the command; Mattheson won. The regiment was organized as the Thirty-second Regiment, New York. It was mustered into the United States service in May, 1861, and went to Washington in June. It was engaged in the first battle of Bull Run, and was the last troops to retire from that field, not leaving Centreville Heights till near midnight, and went into camp at Fairfax Court-House and remained till the morning of the next day, when it hauled a four-horse ambulance, which had been abandoned, from Centreville to Alexandria. General Franklin said the ambulance should always belong to the regiment.

At West Point, Virginia, the regiment was severely engaged by the retreating enemy from Yorktown, Virginia. The regiment was engaged at Gaines's Mills, White Oak Swamp, Malvorn Hill, and the second Bull Run. While at Harrison's Landing, on the James River, Pinto was ordered to take command of the Thirty-first New York. He commanded that regiment at the storming of Crampton's Pass, South Mountain, Maryland. Colonel Mattheson having been killed at Crampton's Pass, Colonel Pinto was ordered back to his own regiment, the Thirty-second New York, and commissioned colonel. He took his regiment into action at Antietam on the 17th of September, 1862. While in front that day he received a flag of truce from the enemy (signed by Colonel Colquitt) requesting the body of a Georgia colonel. He found the body, and, by General Franklin's permission, passed it through the lines. This flag caused much comment by the press, charging McClellan with receiving a flag instead of driving the enemy into the Potomac. The regiment was engaged at Fredericksburg, December, 1862, and made the advance at the lower crossing of the Rappahannock, and also at the second crossing of the Sixth Corps, under Sedgwick, at night, and taking the enemy's rifle-pits by surprise. It also participated in the storming of Fredericksburg Heights, and in the battle of Salem Heights the next day. The regiment returned to New York and was mustered out of service June 8, 1863, the time of service having expired.

Colonel Pinto was brevetted brigadier-general of volunteers. Soon afterwards he engaged in the warehouse business at the Atlantic Docks, Brooklyn, Long Island, and has continued in that to the present time under the firm-name of F. E. Pinto & Son.

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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