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Term: Paine, Col. Halbert E. (1826-1905)

Definition:

b. Chardon, Ohio, February 4, 1826
d. Washington, D.C., April 14, 1905

Col. Halbert Paine commanded the 4th Wisconsin Cavalry during the Civil War and served three terms in U.S. Congress. He is best remembered for disobeying orders to return fugitive slaves to their owners and refusing to burn down the city of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Successful Lawyer

Paine graduated from college in Hudson, Ohio, and briefly taught school in Mississippi. He returned to Ohio in 1847, studied law, and was admitted to the bar. After practicing law in Cleveland for a decade, Paine moved to Milwaukee in 1857. In 1859 he formed a law partnership with Carl Schurz.

Civil War Service

In May 1861, Paine was commissioned colonel of the 4th Wisconsin Infantry (later changed to a cavalry regiment). After initial service near Baltimore, the regiment moved by sea to the Gulf of Mexico, where Paine led them in battle at New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Grand Gulf, Mississippi, during 1862. His regiment then spent time controlling occupied territory in the Lower Mississippi Valley for most of 1862 and 1863.

Arrested for Protecting Slaves

On June 11, 1862, Col. Paine refused to obey an order requiring officers to return runaway slaves to their owners. He was arrested and confined at New Orleans. Two months later, his commanding general was killed at the Battle of Baton Rouge. Paine was released from prison and put in charge of the city. When ordered to burn it to the ground, he again refused to comply but avoided arrest by persuading his superiors to his point of view. When the city was evacuated, he ordered the state library moved to New Orleans for safe-keeping.

Wounded

Paine was promoted to brigadier general in March 1863, and led his brigade in the assault on Port Hudson that began May 26, 1863. On June 14 Paine was in front of his troops urging them forward when he was shot from his horse. Wounded in the leg, he lay on the field under heavy fire from morning until after dark, when he was finally removed. By the time he reached doctors in New Orleans, his left leg had to be amputated.

After convalescing in Milwaukee for a month, Paine returned to service in September 1863 as a military attorney in Washington, D.C. When Confederate troops threatened the city in July 1864, Paine requested and was given command of a combat unit for a brief period. He was then assigned to home front duties and returned to Milwaukee in October 1864. He was brevetted major general of volunteers on March 13, 1865, and resigned from the army on May 3.

Postwar Career

Almost as soon as he reached home, Paine was elected to the U.S. Congress, where he supported the Radical Republicans. He was twice re-elected, and his total service ran from 1865-1871. Afterward, he established a law practice in Washington, D.C., where he worked until his death in 1905. Paine was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Links to Learn More

Biographical sketch on pages 988-991 of E.B. Quiner’s "Military History of Wisconsin" (Chicago, 1866)

Contemporary accounts of Col. Paine's refusal to return slaves

View original documents related to Col. Paine

[Source: Dictionary of Wisconsin Biography (Madison, 1965); Quiner, E.B. Military History of Wisconsin (Chicago, 1866).]

114 records found

Pabst, Frederick 1836 - 1904
Pabst, Gustave G. 1866 - 1943
Pabst, Norman W. 1905 - 1989
Pabst, Richard E. 1933
Packard, Wesley L. 1918
Padway, Joseph Arthur 1891 - 1947
Paeschke, Charles August 1857 - 1935
Paine, Byron 1827 - 1871
Paine, Col. Halbert E. (1826-1905)
Paine, Edward Lathrop 1801 - 1893
Palmer, Henry 1827 - 1895
Palmer, Henry L. 1819 - 1909
Palmer, William Fink 1855 - 1933
Panys
Panzer, Frank E. 1890
Panzer, Mary E. 1951
Paquette, Pierre 1799? - 1836
Park, Byron Beach 1858 - 1939
Park, Roswell 1807 - 1869
Parker, George Safford 1863 - 1937
Parkhurst, Helen 1887 - 1973
Parkin, John 1918
Parkinson, Daniel Morgan 1790 - 1868
Parys, Ronald G. 1938
Patton, James Edward 1832 - 1904
Patzer, Conrad E. 1862 - 1932
Paul, George Howard 1826 - 1890
Paul, Les 1915 - 2009
Paulson, David E. 1931
Paxson, Frederick Logan 1877 - 1948
Payne, Henry Clay 1843 - 1904
Peabody, Arthur 1858 - 1942
Peavey [Peavy], Hubert Haskell 1881 - 1937
Peck, George Wilbur 1840 - 1916
Peck, Roseline [Willard] [Mrs. Eben Peck) 1808 - 1
Peckham, Elizabeth Maria Gifford 1854 - 1940
Peckham, Elizabeth ["Lila"] 1843 - 1871
Peckham, George Williams 1845 - 1914
Pelecky, Stan T. 1934
Pellant, Howard F. 1911
Peloquin, Bruce S. 1936
Pennings, Bernard Henry 1861 - 1955
Peorias
Pepikokias
Perala, Reino A. 1915
Percival, James Gates 1795 - 1856
Perrot, Nicolas 1644 - 1717
Perry, Melvin Withington 1864 - 1951
Petak, George 1949
Peter, George 1859 - 1950
Peterson, Francis L. 1904
Peterson, James D.H. 1894
Peterson, Merlin J. 1901
Peterson, Richard E. 1920
Petri, Thomas E. 1940
Petrowski, Jerry 1950
Pettis, Mark L. 1950
Petuns
Pfister, Charles [Frederick] 1859 - 1927
Pfister, Guido 1818 - 1889
Philipp, Emanuel Lorenz 1861 - 1925
Phillips, Vel 1924
Piankeshaws
Pickard, Josiah Little 1824 - 1914
Pier, Kate [Hamilton] 1845 - 1925
Pierce, Solon Wesley 1831 - 1903
Pinney, Silas U. 1833 - 1899
Pious, Lois 1938
Pitt, Yvonne (Yvonnie, Vonnie) Jean b. 1928-
Plache, Kimberly M. 1961
Plale, Jeffrey T. 1968
Plankinton, John 1820 - 1891
Plantz, Samuel 1859 - 1924
Plewa, John R. 1945
Plombon, David 1961
Plouff, Joe 1950
Pocan, Mark 1964
Poles in Wisconsin
Pomeroy, Marcus Mills ["Brick"] 1833 - 1896
Pommerening, Glen E. 1927
Pond, James Burton 1838 - 1903
Pontiac, Ottawa Chief, 1720?-1769
Pope-Roberts, Sondy 1950
Poplawski, Stephen J. 1885 - 1956
Porlier, Jacques 1765 - 1839
Porter, Cloyd A. 1935
Potawatomi Indians
Potter, Calvin 1945
Potter, John Fox 1817 - 1899
Potter, John M. 1924
Potter, Rosemary 1952
Pound, Thaddeus Coleman 1833 - 1914
Powell, David Franklin ["White Beaver"] 1847 - 190
Power, Frederick Belding 1853 - 1927
Powers, Mike 1962
Pratt, Morris (1820-1902)
Presbyterians in Wisconsin
Preus, Adolph Carl 1814 - 1878
Preus, Herman Amberg 1825 - 1894
Price, William Thompson 1824 - 1886
Priebe, Kenneth E. 1912
Pritchard, John 1884
Pritzlaff, Fred C. 1861 - 1931
Pritzlaff, John 1820 - 1900
Prophet, The (Shawnee), 1768-1834
Prophet, The (Winnebago)
Prosser, Jr., David T. 1942
Protheroe, Daniel 1866 - 1934
Prown, Katherine Hemple 1963 -
Proxmire, William 1915-
Puelicher, John Huegin 1869 - 1935
Puerto Ricans in Wisconsin
Purdy, William T. 1882 - 1918
Putnam, Henry Cleveland 1832 - 1912

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