Samuel Heintzelman 1805–1880
Born Manheim, Pennsylvania
Samuel Heintzelman had more than three decades of military service prior to the Civil War, but as a Union army commander he failed to distinguish himself. General Heintzelman successfully led the force that occupied Alexandria, Virginia, on May 24, 1861, but suffered a devastating defeat in July at the Battle of First Bull Run (Manassas), when vital Union artillery was lost to Confederate forces, and his Third Division troops were routed from the field. Taking part in General George McClellan’s unsuccessful drive to capture Richmond during the Peninsula Campaign of 1862, Heintzelman committed a costly error by overestimating enemy strength at Yorktown and counseling against a direct assault. Later, despite personal bravery in the Battle of Seven Pines, he provided ineffectual leadership in the field. His final engagement as a corps commander came in August 1862 at the Battle of Second Bull Run, where his troops again fell short of achieving their objective.