Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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TERRY, Alfred Howe, soldier, born in Hartford, Connecticut, 10 November, 1827. He was educated in the schools of New Haven and at the Yale law-school, but, having been already admitted to the bar, he was not graduated He began the practice of his profession in 1849, and was clerk of the superior and supreme courts of Connecticut from 1854 till 1860. He had been an active member of the Connecticut militia, and was in command of the 2d regiment of state troops when the civil war began. In response to President Lincoln's call for three months' troops, he was appointed colonel of the 2d Connecticut volunteers, and with that regiment was present at the first battle of Bull Run. At the expiration of the term of service he returned to Connecticut, organized the 7th Connecticut volunteers, of which he was appointed colonel, and on 17 September was again mustered into the National service. He was present in command of his regiment at the capture of Port Royal, South Carolina, and also at the siege of Fort Pulaski, of which he was placed in charge after its capitulation. On 25 April, 1862, he was promoted brigadier-general of volunteers, and he served as such at the battle of Pocotaligo and in the operations against Charleston. He commanded the successful demonstration up Stono river during the descent on Morris island, and at the action on James island. His force was then withdrawn, and he was assigned by General Quincy A. Gillmore to the command of the troops on Morris island, which post he held during the siege of Forts Wagner and Sumter. After the reduction of Fort Wagner he was assigned to the command of the northern district of the Department of the South, including the islands from which operations against Charleston had been carried on. General Terry commanded the 1st division of the 10th army corps, Army of the James, during the Virginia campaign of 1864, and at times the corps itself. He was brevetted major-general of volunteers on 20 August, 1864, became permanent commander of the 10th corps in October, and held that place until the corps was merged in the 24th in the following December, when he was assigned to lead the 1st division of the new corps. He commanded at the action of Chester Station, and was engaged at the battle of Drewry's Bluff, the various combats in front of the Bermuda Hundred lines, the battle of Fussell's Mills, the action at Deep Bottom, the siege of Petersburg, the actions at Newmarket heights on the Newmarket road, the Darbytown road, and the Williamsburg road. On 2 January, 1865, after the failure of the first attempt to take Fort Fisher, which commanded the sea-approaches to Wilmington, North Carolina, General Terry was ordered to renew the attack with a force numbering a little over 8,000 men. On the 13th he debarked his troops about five miles above the fort, and, finding himself confronted by General Robert F. Hoke's Confederate division, proceeded to throw a line of strong intrenchments across the peninsula between the sea and Cape Fear river, facing toward Wilmington, and about two miles north of the fort. After the landing of the troops, the co-operating fleet, under Admiral David D. Porter, numbering 44 vessels and mounting upward of 500 guns, opened fire upon the work, and from 4.30 to 6 P. M. four shots a second, or 20,000 in all, were fired. This was the heaviest bombardment of the war. On the 14th the line of intrenchment was completed, and General Charles J. Paine's division of infantry was placed upon it. While this was in progress. Gem Terry made a reconnoissance of the fort, and, in view of the difficulty of landing supplies for his troops and the materials for a siege upon an open, unprotected beach in midwinter, he determined to carry the work by assault the next day, and the plan of attack was arranged with Admiral Porter. At 11 A. M. on the 15th the entire fleet opened fire, silencing nearly every gun in the fort. General Newton M. Curtis's brigade of General Adelbert Ames's division was then pushed forward by regiments to a point 200 yards from the fort, where it sheltered itself in shallow trenches, and the remainder of the division was brought up within supporting distance. Admiral Porter had landed 2,000 sailors and marines, and their commander pushed a line of skirmishers up within 200 yards of the eastern extremity of the northern face of the work, the attack of the troops being upon the western extremity of that time. At 3.30 P. M., on a signal from General Terry to Admiral Porter, the fire of the fleet was diverted from the points of attack, and the leading brigade rushed upon the work and gained a foothold upon the parapet. The column of sailors and marines followed the example of the troops, but, having to advance for a distance of about 600 yards along the open beach, they were unable to stem the fire of the work. Some of them reached the foot of the parapet, but the mass of them, after a display of great gallantry, was forced to fall back. After General Curtis had gained the parapet, General Ames ordered forward in succession the second and third brigades of his division, and they entered the fort. This was constructed with a series of traverses, each of which was stubbornly held. Hand-to-hand fighting of the most obstinate character ensued, the traverses being used successively as breastworks, over the tops of which the opposing parties fired into one another's faces. By five o'clock nine of these traverses had been carried. General Terry then ordered up re-enforcements, consisting of a brigade and an additional regiment from the intrenched line, the sailors and marines taking their places there; by nine o'clock two more traverses were carried, and an hour later the occupation of the work was complete. The Confederate force fell back disorganized to a small work near the point of the peninsula, where, being immediately pursued, it surrendered unconditionally. The garrison originally numbered 2,500 men, of whom 1,971 men, with 112 officers, were captured; the others were killed or wounded. The fall of the fort was followed by the abandonment of Fort Caswell and the other defences of the Cape Fear river. In these works were captured 169 pieces of artillery, 2,000 small arms, and a considerable quantity of ammunition and commissary stores. The National loss was 681 men, of whom 88 were killed. For this General Terry was promoted to be brigadier-general in the regular army and major-general of volunteers, and congress passed a vote of thanks "to Brevet Major-General A. H. Terry and the officers and soldiers under his command for the unsurpassed gallantry and skill exhibited by them in the attack upon Fort Fisher, and the brilliant and decisive victory by which that important work has been captured from the rebel forces and placed in the possession and under the authority of the United States, and for their long and faithful service and unwavering devotion to the cause of the country in the midst of the greatest difficulties and dangers." General Terry was engaged in the capture of Wilmington, North Carolina, and commanded at the combat at Northeast creek, which followed. In April, 1865, the 10th army corps was reconstituted, and General Terry was assigned to its command, and with it took part in the subsequent operations under Gem William T. Sherman in North Carolina. He was brevetted major-general in the regular army on 13 March, 1865, for his services at the capture of Wilmington. Since the close of the war he has commanded in succession the Departments of Virginia, Dakota, and the South, and again the Department of Dakota. He was promoted to the rank of major-general, 3 March, 1886, and was in charge of the division of the Missouri, with headquarters at Chicago, until his voluntary retirement from the army in April, 1888.
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