But then the Civil War started. His would become a Lieutenant to General story by war's end, involving his fighting in many of the famous battles and being awarded the Medal of Honor. After the war he became a state senator and later a town Mayor. Then came the job of US Marshall, a stint as an Immigration ispector and finally several years as a federal diplomat.
But before we go there, some details of his military life are in order.
William had several stints in and out of service due to illness. He first joined the 2nd Vermont Infantry in 1861 and fought in the first battle of Bull Run as a Lieutenant. He'd be released soon after and within short order would be right back in the thick of numerous battles as an officer with the 10th Vermont Infantry. He entered that unit as a Major but would soon be promoted to Lt. Colonel and then Colonel and given the command of the regiment. As such William, pictured here as a Colonel would lead the regiment through no less than 8 battles between May and October of 1884. During these he would be slightly wounded at Cold Habor and at Monocacy. (At that battle Montreal born Alexander Scott would earn a Medal of Honor in the 10th... and under William's command. More in a later blog)
When the commander called upon his officers to make a charge to secure those guns and the rest, none made a move except Colonel William Wirt Henry. Despite already being wounded 4 times in this very battle, he ordered his troops to charge on the enemy at the guns. He led the charge and managed to drive off several enemy, retrieve some of the guns and save the rest. William would be awarded the Medal of Honor for his bravery, though this would not happen until the 1892.
By that time he had long since left the military with the Brevet rank of Brigadere General, as pictured above. A close look at the third medal from the left, looks like his Medal of Honor, but I think it is a Grand Army of the Republic badge of membership and thus, the picture may be pre 1892.
During this time William would serve two terms, in the Vermont State Senate. He would then become a US Marhsall and hold this position for about 7 years and then he would move on to work as an Immigration Inspector. This led to an apointment as the US Consul at Quebec, a position he would hold from 1886 until 1902.
During that time I would suspect that he would have been in contact with many Medal of Honor recipients from the Province of Quebec, and more particularly from Montreal which he would probably frequent in the course of his work. There were many Canadians from that area of the country that would be awarded the Medal of Honor over the years.