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Henry Clay Warmoth
 23rd
Governor of Louisiana

Preceded by Joshua Baker
Governor by Appointment / Election
Served from June 27, 1868 - Appointment
Served from July 13, 1868 - Election
Served to December 8, 1872
Left Office by Impeachment charges
Succeeded by P. B. S. Pinchback
 
Born
Location
May 9, 1842
McLeansboro, Illinois
Died
Location
September 30, 1931
New Orleans
Age 89
Cause Bronchial Pneumonia
 
Party Republican
Education Self Educated
Profession Lawyer / Planter
 
Spouse Sarah Durand
Marriage May 30, 1877
Children 3
Plantation Magnolia
Religion Episcopalian
Burial Metairie Cemetery

1868 - 1872

Henry Clay Warmoth, 1842-1931, became the 23rd Governor of Louisiana, appointed by General U. S. Grant following Joshua Baker's resignation.

Following the period of military occupation after the Civil War, he then became the first elected governor.  At age 26, he was the youngest governor ever.  In office for almost one full term, he continued to live in the New Orleans area and died at age 89.  He is buried in Metairie Cemetery.  His cemetery stone does not mention that he was the Governor of Louisiana.

Governor Warmoth, second from the right, shares this bronze relief with four other Louisiana Governors. 

Henry Clay Warmoth was a lawyer at age 19 in Missouri.  When the war broke out he was a Union man and helped to organize opposition to the rebels in Missouri.  He joined the army as a Lt. Colonel and was assigned to General McClernand's staff.

He was wounded at the battle of Vicksburg, taking a shot into the shoulder, and left the lines, with permission,  to receive treatment and to recuperate.  He gave several positive newspaper interviews about the war while on leave.  When he returned, General Grant had him dishonorably discharged for being absent without leave and for spreading false reports about the war effort.

Warmoth appears to have been caught up in the animosity between General McClernand and General Grant.  General Grant eventually relieved McClernand of his command.  Warmoth, determined to retrieve his good name, gathered proof of his approved leave and the newspaper articles and traveled to Washington to attempt to see President Lincoln. 


While awaiting his turn to talk with the President, he overheard other soldiers in similar situations being told by the President that the war effort did not allow for court martial proceedings.  Their trials would have to wait until the war's conclusion. 

Waiting until the last moment, Warmoth finally approached President Lincoln and said "Mr. President, I cannot wait until the war is over for my vindication.  I must have justice now!"  Lincoln looked through some of the papers that Warmoth had handed him, wrote a note and
placed the papers in an envelop for Warmoth.  Warmoth was to bring the package to the Judge-Advocate General of the Army for his review of Warmoth's dishonorable discharge.  President Lincoln said that he would accept whatever decision the Judge-Advocate General
made.

Several days later, Warmoth's dishonorable discharge was overturned by President Lincoln.  Warmoth made his way back to General Grant's camp and reported for duty.

Warmoth attended President Lincoln's second inaugural and reception.  Warmoth had traveled with Vice President Johnson and two others to Richmond and was back in Washington at the time of President Lincolns' assassination.

Warmoth personally knew Presidents Lincoln, Johnson and Grant.

Another adverse incident in Henry Clay Warmoth's life was impeachment charges against him near the end of his term as governor.  As a result, the first black governorship in the United States occurred as acting Lt. Governor Pinckney Benton Stewart Pinchback became Governor of Louisiana for 35 days.

Governor Warmoth was never tried on the impeachment charges.  After his term was over, all charges were expunged.

He became a member of the state legislature, was a member of the State Constitutional Convention, and was the New Orleans Collector of Customs.  He operated Magnolia Plantation in Plaquemines parish.

In December 1874 Warmoth was attacked by Mr. Byerly who struck Warmoth on the head several times with his cane.  Warmoth pulled his pocket knife and stabbed Byerly a number of times as they fell to the ground.  Byerly died the next day.  The cause of the attack on Warmoth is reported in interesting detail in these articles by the Cincinnati Daily Enquirer and the Sunday Times.

Warmoth was well into his 80s when he wrote his autobiography titled War, Politics, and Reconstruction : Stormy Days in Louisiana.  He lived to age 89, dying in 1931.


Engraving:

WARMOTH

Henry Clay Warmoth
1842 - 1931

Frank Sheridan Warmoth
1878 - 1961

Reinette Lester Warmoth
1882 - 1956

Elsie Warmoth Weitzel Strother
1912 - 2003

Sallie Durand Warmoth
1858 - 1939

Phyllis Aitken Warmoth
1883 - 1965

 

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