Henry Shippen Huidekoper (July 17, 1839 – November 9, 1918) was a general from Pennsylvania in Union Army who received the United States military's highest decorations for bravery, the Medal of Honor, for his actions during the American Civil War.
After graduating from Harvard, he accepted a commission as an officer in the Union Army during the American Civil War. While fighting in the Battle of Gettysburg, he was wounded twice and had to have his arm amputated due to the wounds. For his actions during this battle, he was presented with the Medal of Honor. He attempted to rejoin the war, but was forced to resign due to his injuries, and accepted an appointment as a major general in the Pennsylvania National Guard instead.
In 1877 Huidekoper was sent to help put an end to a severe railroad strike in Pennsylvania. He accepted a job as the postmaster of Philadelphia and worked for a few years in the telephone industry before becoming an overseer at Harvard College. He died in 1918 and is buried in Meadville, Pennsylvania.
Huidekoper was born in Meadville, Pennsylvania on July 17, 1839, the son of Edgar Huidekoper and Frances (Shippen) Huidekoper and the grandson of Harm Jan Huidekoper (the founder of Meadville Theological School). He received his A.B. from Harvard College in 1862, and received his M.A. from the same college in 1872. In 1864 Huidekoper married his cousin, Emma Gertrude Evans, the daughter of Thomas Wallis Evans and Anne De Costa Yard Evans of Germantown, Philadelphia. They had one daughter, Gertrude, born in 1865, who later married Professor Munroe Smith of Columbia University, and one son, Thomas, born in 1870. His great-great-granddaughter is Meg Whitman, former CEO of eBay and candidate for Governor of California.
After graduating from Harvard, Huidekoper served in the American Civil War as captain, lieutenant-colonel, and colonel with the 150th Pennsylvania Infantry. On July 1, 1863, while in command of his regiment at the Battle of Gettysburg, he was wounded twice, losing his right arm. He later received the Medal of Honor as a result of the action that day. According to the citation, "while engaged in repelling an attack of the enemy, [he] received a severe wound of the right arm, but instead of retiring remained at the front in command of the regiment.
Huidekoper returned to service in September 1863 but because of the severity of his wounds, he was compelled to resign from the army in 1864 at Culpeper, Virginia. He was appointed major general in the Pennsylvania National Guard by Governor John W. Geary in 1870. He helped suppress the Great Railroad Strike of 1877 under Governor John F. Hartranft, "solving at Scranton a question between the civil and military powers with such tact and firmness as to establish himself strongly in the confidence of the governor and the people.
Upon reorganization of the National Guard, with Governor Hartranft as the major general, Huidekoper was appointed the senior brigadier general in the Guard. In 1879, he compiled and published a Manual of Service, which became an accepted authority on military matters. From 1880 to 1886, he was postmaster of Philadelphia, where he was credited with having organized and carried through the ounce measure for letters, instead of the former half ounce. Afterward he was employed by the Metropolitan Telephone and Telegraph Company from 1886 to 1887, and by the Bell Telephone Company from 1887 to 1913.
From 1898 to 1910, Huidekoper served as one of the overseers of Harvard College. He died November 9, 1918 in a Philadelphia hospital and was buried at Greendale Cemetery, Meadville, Pennsylvania. His grave can be found in the mausoleum in section 2, lot 5.
Medal of Honor citation
Rank and organization: Lieutenant Colonel, 150th Pennsylvania Infantry. Place and date: At Gettysburg, Pa., 1 July 1863. Entered service at: Philadelphia, Pa. Born: 17 July 1839, Meadville, Pa. Date of issue: 27 May 1905.
While engaged in repelling an attack of the enemy, received a severe wound of the right arm, but instead of retiring remained at the front in command of the regiment.
This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Army Center of Military History.
Medal Of Honor Recipient - Henry S. Huidekouper