By Mark Pearson
Originally Published on January 2nd, 2019.
Still traveling north on 10th Avenue, we approach Harker Street. This street is named after General Charles Garrison Harker. He was born on December 2nd, 1837, in Swedesboro, New Jersey. As a boy, he worked for a congressman who, through his influence, obtained for him a slot as a cadet at West Point in 1854. Having a member of Congress refer a person to enter West Point is a tradition that is still followed today. He was posted on Governors Island in New York harbor with the rank of Second Lieutenant.
From that time to the beginning of the Civil War, he served in posts on the west coast. When the war started, President Lincoln called up every available man to join the Union Army, so he was sent to Ohio to recruit and train new men. He was now a Colonel and given command of the 65th Ohio Infantry under General Grant. In April 1862, his first battle as a field commander was at Pittsburg landing, better known in the south as Shiloh.
After that battle, he took over command of the 20th Brigade which was part of the 6th division of the Army of Ohio from another General by the name of Garfield. (General Garfield is and will be the last general that I will write about in this series. Some of my readers will probably be saying, “Thank God!)
He was given several different brigades to command until late 1863 when he was finally noticed by higher-ranking officers because of his gallantry at the Battle of Chickamauga. Here he stood his ground against repeated assaults by Confederate forces. As a result, he was promoted to Brigadier General and commanded several different brigades after that.
Under the command of General Sherman, he was killed leading a charge at the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain in Georgia on June 27th, 1864. He was only 27 years old. His body was shipped back to his hometown for burial. It is amazing how many streets, schools, and other places are named after this general — especially when his name is not listed in Bruce Catton’s writings or any other books that I have read on the subject of the Civil War.
One other thing I might mention about General Harker is the way he is portrayed in the movie “Glory.” He is falsely portrayed as a grumpy, old, and corrupt general who, after the war, allowed those serving under him to plunder people who were under their jurisdiction. This is not the same General Harker who died before the war ended and was only 27 years old when he passed.
Mark E. Pearson was born and raised in Kansas City, Mo. In 1970, he moved to Michigan where he met and married the girl of his dreams, Mary Lou Davis, together they have two sons. He attended Briercrest Bible Institute in Saskatchewan, Canada, and later received his associate’s degree in business from St. Clair Community College. He was a bookkeeper and worked in retail sales for 30 years and has spent the last fifteen years as a Jeweler at Coughlin’s Jewelers in St Clair, MI. He is a voracious reader of history and as a result of being an avid reader, he began to write short stories and articles for editorial columns and magazines on current events and comparing and relating past events to current happenings.
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