Abbot, Henry L.

Alternative names
Birth 1831-08-13
Death 1927-10-01

Biographical notes:

Henry Larcom Abbot (1831-1927), army officer and engineer, was born in Beverly, Massachusetts. He was the older brother of Francis Ellingwood Abbot, an influential religious radical. Upon his graduation from West Point in 1854, Abbot was commissioned in the engineers and assigned to duty with the Pacific Coast Railway. For several years from 1857, he was associated with Captain Andrew A. Humphreys in a study of flood control and navigation improvement of the Mississippi River. During the Civil War Abbot saw varied service. He was wounded at the first battle of Bull Run, served as an engineer with General George G. McClellan on the Peninsula and as chief topographical engineer with the New Orleans expedition under General Nathaniel P. Banks, and commanded the 1st Connecticut Heavy Artillery of which he had been appointed colonel in the Spring of 1863, and the siege artillery before Richmond, Virginia. Placed in command of the engineer battalion at Willett's Point, New York, he organized there the Engineer School of Application, a combined advanced training and research facility for military engineers. He devoted much of his time to the improvement of coastal defenses by means of submarine mines and of other forms of ordnance and equipment, serving as well on numerous engineering boards. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel in March 1880 and to colonel in October 1886, and he retired at that rank in 1895. In 1904, Congress voted him rank of brigadier general, retired. As a civilian engineer, Abbot drew plans for the harbor at Manitowoc, Wisconsin, and served on the technical committee of the New French Panama Canal Company. He later was a member of the board of engineers appointed by President Theodore Roosevelt to plan the American canal in Panama. He served on the graduate engineering faculty of George Washington University from 1905 to 1910. He died in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

From the description of Abbot, Henry L. (Henry Larcom), 1831-1927 (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration). naId: 10569912

Henry Larcom Abbot (1831-1927) was a military engineer who graduated from West Point in 1854 and served in the United States Army until 1895.

From the guide to the Henry L. Abbot papers, 1792-1919., (Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University)

Henry L. Abbot served in the Army in the Civil War. He developed the Army's Engineer School of Application, making it a research center for problems of military engineering.

From the description of Letter, February 17, 1874. (Naval War College). WorldCat record id: 733775826

American army engineer. Co-author of "Report upon the Physics and Hydraulics of the Mississippi River"(1861).

From the guide to the Henry L. Abbot miscellany, 1856-1899, (The New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division.)

Biographical Note

Henry L. Abbot

  • 1831, Aug. 13: Born, Beverly, Mass.
  • 1854: Graduated second in his class, United States Military Academy, West Point, N.Y.
  • 1854 - 1855 : Second lieutenant, United States Corps of Topographical Engineers, Office of Pacific Railroad Explorations, Washington, D.C.
  • 1855: Assisted in railroad survey in California and Oregon
  • 1856: Married Mary Susan Everett (died 1871)
  • 1857: First lieutenant, United States Corps of Topographical Engineers
  • 1857 - 1861 : Assisted Captain Andrew A. Humphreys on survey of the Mississippi River delta and coauthored their Report upon the Physics and Hydraulics of the Mississippi River (1861)
  • 1861 - 1862 : Assistant topographical engineer, staff of General Irvin McDowell, United States Army Wounded at the First Battle of Bull Run, Va. Assisted General John G. Barnard, chief engineer for the Department of Washington, in constructing forts south of the Potomac River Aide-de-camp to General Barnard in the Peninsular Campaign, Va. Chief topographical engineer for Major General Nathaniel Banks’s expedition to New Orleans, La.
  • 1863 - 1865 : Colonel, First Connecticut Artillery, United States Volunteers, in defense of Washington, D.C. Captain, Corps of Engineers, United States Army Commanded siege artillery for United States armies operating against Petersburg and Richmond, Va.
  • 1865: Mustered out of the volunteer service with brevet rank of major general and returned to regular duty in the Corps of Engineers with rank of major
  • 1866 - 1886 : Colonel, Corps of Engineers, United States Army
  • 1888 - 1895 : Member, Board of Ordnance and Fortifications, United States Department of War
  • 1895: Retired from active service
  • 1897 - 1904 : Member, technical committee, and consulting engineer, La Compagnie Nouvelle du Canal de Panama (New Panama Canal Co.)
  • 1904: Brigadier general, United States Army, retired, by Act of Congress
  • 1905 - 1906 : Member, board of consulting engineers appointed by President Theodore Roosevelt to prepare plans for the Panama Canal
  • 1905 - 1910 : Professor of hydraulic engineering, George Washington University, Washington, D.C.
  • 1927, Oct. 1: Died, Cambridge, Mass.

From the guide to the Henry L. Abbot Family Papers, 1770-2001, (bulk 1832-1870), (Manuscript Division Library of Congress)


Loading Relationships


Ark ID:


  • Bull Run, 1st Battle of, Va., 1861
  • Napoleonic Wars, 1800-1815
  • Peninsular Campaign, 1862
  • Whitehead torpedoes
  • Fortification--Washington (D.C.)--History--19th century
  • Canals--Design and construction
  • Gettysburg, Battle of, Gettysburg, Pa., 1863


  • Army officers


  • Richmond Region (Va.) (as recorded)
  • Panama (as recorded)
  • Henrico County (Va.) (as recorded)
  • Washington (D.C.) (as recorded)
  • Richmond Region (Va.) (as recorded)
  • Nicaragua Canal (Nicaragua) (as recorded)
  • Virginia (as recorded)
  • Cambridge (Mass.) (as recorded)
  • Massachusetts (as recorded)
  • Hanover County Va.) (as recorded)
  • Charles City County (Va.) (as recorded)
  • California (as recorded)
  • Panama Canal (Panama) (as recorded)
  • Petersburg (Va.) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Richmond (Va.) (as recorded)
  • Virginia (as recorded)
  • Richmond Region (Va.) (as recorded)
  • Richmond Region (Va.) (as recorded)
  • Panama Canal (Panama) (as recorded)