US Army Quartermaster Foundation
Fort Lee, Virginia


Major Horatio C. King
Medal of Honor, Civil War

Medal of Honor Citation Background Information

Medal of Honor Citation


King as a Captain during the Civil War

Rank and organization: Major and Quartermaster, U.S. Volunteers.

Place and date:
Near Dinwiddie Courthouse, Va., 31 March 1865.

Entered service at:
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Born:
22 December 1837, Portland, Maine.

Date of issue:
23 September 1897.

Citation:
While serving as a volunteer aide, carried orders to the reserve brigade and participated with it in the charge which repulsed the enemy.


Background Information

Horatio Collins King was born on December 22, 1837 in Portland, Maine, to Horatio and Anne (Collins) King. Horatio King served as Postmaster General in the Cabinet of James Buchanan. Horatio Collins King was prepared at Emory and Henry College. In 1854 he commenced his education at Dickinson College, where his uncle Charles Collins was President. While at Dickinson, he was a member of Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity and the Union Philosophical Society. He earned a bachelor's degree in 1858, and would receive Phi Beta Kappa recognition following the establishment of Dickinson's chapter in the 1880s. Following his graduation, Horatio Collins King studied law with Edwin M. Stanton for two years and in 1861 moved to New York City. He was admitted to the New York State Bar that same year.

Once the nation went to war, King actively sought a commission in the Union Army and in 1862 commenced his military service. He was appointed, by then Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, Assistant Quartermaster of Volunteers under General Casey of the Army of the Potomac with the rank of Captain. Soon after, King was given more active duty under the command of General Sheridan as Chief Quartermaster of the First Cavalry Division of the Army of the Shenandoah. He took part in five battles following this appointment, and for gallantry at the Battle of Five Forks he was recommended for promotion by General Devin and made Brevet Colonel of Volunteers. King was honorably discharged in October 1866 with the brevets of major, lieutenant colonel and colonel.


King in later years wearing his Medal of Honor

Following his discharge from the Army, King returned to his law practice in New York City and continued in this profession until 1871, when he assumed the associate editor's position at the New York Star. Soon after, King assumed the role of publisher of the Christian Union with his close friend, Reverend Henry Ward Beecher, as editor. He also helped to edit the Christian at Work. In 1874, Horatio Collins King returned to his law practice and remained active in the profession for the remainder of his life.

King was invited to join the National Guard of New York in 1876 and was elected Major of the Thirteenth Regiment. He was appointed Judge Advocate for the Eleventh Brigade in 1880 and, in 1883, King was appointed by Governor Grover Cleveland to be Judge Advocate General, with the rank of Brigadier General, in the National Guard, State of New York. King served as Secretary of the Society of the Army of the Potomac from 1877 to1904 and as President of the organization in 1904. He was a member of the Order of Elks, a Mason, and a charter member of the New York Commandery of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion. King was also an active member of the Grand Army of the Republic, serving two years as Post Commander and one year as Department Judge Advocate General. King served for ten years as a member of the Brooklyn Board of Education and a member of the New York Monuments' Commission. King ran for Secretary of State of New York in 1895 on the Democratic ticket, but was defeated. He then ran for Congress in 1896 for the Sound Money Party, but was again defeated. When later nominated for office, King declined.

King served as a Trustee of Dickinson College from 1896 to 1918, and is perhaps best known by the college as the author of numerous school songs including Dickinson's Alma Mater, "Noble Dickinsonia." He received an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Allegheny College in 1897, and in the same year, Horatio Collins King was awarded the  Medal of Honor for "conspicuous gallantry" while serving with the Cavalry in March of 1865 near Dinwiddie Court House.

King married Emma Carter Stebbins, daughter of New York merchant Russell Stebbins, in October 1862. Following Emma's death and the conclusion of the Civil War, he married Esther Augusta Howard (1845-1925), the daughter of Captain John T. Howard with whom King had served during the War, in June 1866. Horatio Collins and Esther A. Howard had nine children together and resided in Brooklyn, New York, for much of their life. King died on November 15, 1918 in Brooklyn, New York.

(Biography and photos courtesy of Archives and Special Collections, Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA  http://lis.dickinson.edu/Library/ArchivesandSpecialCollections/index.html )

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