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Babcock, Orville Elias, 1835-1884


Biographical Note

Orville E. Babcock was born December 25, 1835 in Franklin, Vermont. He graduated from the united States Military Academy at West point in 1861 and was commissioned an officer in the United States Army Corps of Engineers. He served in Washington, DC and in the Pennisular Campaign before joining the IX Corps in the Siege of Vicksburg, where he became introduced to Ulysses S. Grant. After Vicksburg he went to the Great Lakes on medical leave to overcome a bout with diarrhea. He later was sent to Knoxville, Tennessee and Chattanooga, and was then called to Virginia to join Grant's staff as aide-de-camp. He remained with General Grant throughout the war.

Babcock married Anna Eliza Campbell in Galena, Illinois in 1866 and in 1869, was appointed President Grant's private secretary. Babcock had significant influence over Grant and was one of the President's most trusted confidantes. In 1869, Grant sent Babcock to Santo Domingo to ascertain the desires of the Dominican government in joining the United States. His mission to Santo Domingo became one of the first in a number of scandals for Babcock. He was accused of conspiring with financial backers to support the annexation of Santo Domingo.

Babcock was also implicated in the St. Louis Whiskey Ring corruption scandal. Though guilty, Babcock assured President Grant of his innocence, leading Grant to testify in the criminal proceedings in Babcock's defense. In 1877, Babcock was named Inspector of Lighthouses by President Rutherford B. Hayes. He drowned off of Mosquito Inlet in June 1884.

Found in 2 Collections and/or Records:

Orville E. Babcock collection

Identifier: USGPL-OEB
Scope and Content Note The Orville E. Babcock collections contain a number of diaries and personal effects of Grant's former aide-de-camp. Babcock’s diaries begin in 1863 and continue into 1869 (though missing are the crucial years when he joined General Grant's staff). Babcock records his experiences in Kentucky, Ohio, Washington, DC, Vicksburg, Nashville, Knoxville, and Chattanooga, before be summoned to Virginia by General Grant. They also contain information about his post-war experiences in Washington as...
Dates: 1863 - 1884

Ulysses S. Grant and Julia Dent Grant papers

Identifier: USGPL-USGJDG
Scope and Content Note This collection consists of thirteen boxes of correspondence, ephemera, photographs, and scrapbooks related to Ulysses S. Grant, Julia Dent Grant, their acquaintances, and family members. It is arranged in three series: Correspondence and Ephemera; Photographs, and Scrapbooks. The first two series have additional Sub-Series that break the material down into specific types which are then arranged either chronologically or alphabetically by topic.Correspondents in this collection...
Dates: 1822 - 2011

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General Grant National Memorial (New York, N.Y.) 1
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Railroads--Mexico 1
Reconstruction (U.S. history, 1865-1877) 1
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