As promised, here is a brief sketch of Bvt. Brig. Gen. Pennock Huey. It is based in part on the information provided by his descendant, Pete Huey. Thanks to Pete for passing this information along. I did the rest.
Pennock Huey was born in Chester County, Pennsylvania on March 1, 1828. He was the son of Jacob Huey and Sarah (Davis) Huey of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. Jacob was a Quaker farmer, known as “The Squire of Kennett Square” by virtue of his ownership of quite a bit of land in the area. The Hueys were affluent, and Pennock worked as a commission merchant.
Huey was appointed captain of Company D of the 8th Pennsylvania Cavalry when the regiment mustered in in September 1861. He was excommunicated from the Kennett Square Meeting when he went off to war. After learning his trade with the rest of the regiment, Huey went off to war. Fortunately, the regiment’s first colonel was David M. Gregg, a member of the West Point class of 1856, who was a career cavalry officer. Gregg taught the men well, and the 8th Pennsylvania soon became known as a well-drilled and well-disciplined regiment.
Huey received a promotion major on January 1, 1862. When Gregg received a promotion to brigadier general of volunteers during the fall of 1862 and assumed command of a brigade, Huey, although still a major, ended up in command of the regiment, as there was no lieutenant colonel. In the spring of 1863, the Army of the Potomac’s Cavalry Corps was formed, consisting of three divisions. The 8th Pennsylvania Cavalry was assigned to a brigade in the Third Cavalry Division, commanded by David M. Gregg. Col. Judson Kilpatrick of the 2nd New York Cavalry commanded the brigade.
Although still a major, Huey led the ill-fated charge of the 8th Pennsylvania Cavalry at Chancellorsville on May 2, 1863. On June 25, 1863, with a major battle looming, Huey was promoted to colonel and ended up commanding the brigade when Kilpatrick was promoted to division command. Huey led the brigade for the entire Gettysburg Campaign. Huey’s brigade spent the three days of the Battle of Gettysburg in Manchester, Maryland, guarding lines of supply and communication. It was called to join the rest of the Army of the Potomac’s Cavalry on July 4, and participated in the fighting at Monterey Pass during the night of July 4-5.
That fall, when the Second Division was reorganized, Huey returned to regimental command, a position he held for the balance of the war. On June 24, 1864, at the Battle of Samaria (St. Mary’s) Church, at the end of the Trevilian Raid, Huey and a number of his men were surrounded and captured. After a difficult march south, he was held prisoner at Roper Hospital, during the war a military prison, in Charleston, South Carolina.
Huey was eventually exchanged and returned to the 8th Pennsylvania Cavalry. He received a brevet to brigadier general of volunteers for gallant and meritorious services during the war on March 13, 1865, and mustered out with his regiment. After the war he married for the second time (his first wife having died). His wife was Elizabeth Waln Wistar, the daughter of Joseph Wistar and Sarah Comfort of Philadelphia. “Bustleton” was the name of their place near Kennett Square.The Wistars were an extremely prominent and wealthy Philadelphia family; a cousin, Isaac Wistar, was a Union brigadier general of volunteers.
General Huey spent his post-war years as a merchant and an agent for the Pennsylvania Canal Company. Angered that he did not receive the credit for his efforts in leading the charge at Chancellorsville and that Alfred Pleasonton attacked him for allegedly not being present during the charge, Huey spent years accumulating evidence to support his contentions, and then published a small book titled A True History of the Charge of the Eighth Pennsylvania Cavalry at Chancellorsville in 1885 that strongly defended himself and laid claim to credit for leading the ill-fated charge, and not his subordinate, Maj. Peter Keenan, who was killed.
Huey died at the age of 75 on September 28, 1903 on the family farm, Bustleton. He was buried in the St. Luke’s Episcopal Churchyard in Philadelphia.
Huey was a competent regimental commander, and also did a competent job leading a brigade during the Gettysburg Campaign. He was not particularly popular with his peers; one described him as “an overpowering damned fool.” However, he served his country well and had the respect of his men.
Here’s to Bvt. Brig. Gen. Pennock Huey, forgotten Union cavalryman.Scridb filter