Robert Cunning Schenck

Union General Robert C. Schenck        Robert Cunning Schenck was born on October 4, 1809, in the Ohio River village of Franklin which his father is said to have founded. Aside from his connection with the Civil War, in which he attained the rank of major general, his talents won him eight terms in Congress, eight years as principal diplomatic representative of the United States in South America and to the Court of St. James, membership on the Alabama Claims Commission, and a reputation for being an authority on a draw poker. He was graduated from Miami University in 1827, began the practice of law in Dayton, was elected to the Ohio legislature in 1840, and to Congress in 1842, as a Whig. After serving four terms in Congress, Schenck was made minister to Brazil by President Filmore; he held this position until 1853. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Schenck, who had been a strong Lincoln supporter in the 1860 Presidential campaign , was made a brigadier general of volunteers on June 5, 1861, to rank from May 17; due to his political power rather than military abilities or training. 

        He commanded a brigade of General Daniel Tyler's division at First Manassas and took part in the Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1862 and the Battle of Cross Key. At Second Manassas he led the 1st Division of Sigel's I Corps of the Army of Virginia and was disabled for further field service by a wound in the arm. He was made a major general to rank from August 30, 1862, and commanded the Middle Department and VIII Corps at Baltimore until he resigned on December 5, 1863, to sit again in Congress.

        Chairing the Committee on Military Affairs and the Ways and Means Committee, Schenck was a powerful politician.. Failing of reelection in 1870, he was sent by President Grant as minister to London, where he took part in settling the claims arising from the exploits of Raphael Semmes and his Confederate raider. In 1876 Schenck gave permission for the use of his name in the sale of stock in England for a Utah silver mine of which he was a director; this brought about his resignation and return to the States. He resumed the practice of law in Washington, and wrote about draw poker, on which he was an authority. General Schenck died in Washington, D.C. on March 23, 1890, and was buried in Woodland Cemetery, Dayton, Ohio.

 Recommended Books on Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson & the Shenandoah Valley Campaign!