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Pennsylvania general has John Brown connection

Major General Hector Tyndale

On this day in history, Hector Tyndale was born in 1821 in Philadelphia, PA. While many know of his Civil War service, some may not know of his connection to John Brown.

During the Civil War, Tyndale was appointed Major of the 28th Volunteers. The unit was garrisoned at Harpers Ferry, VA (now West Virginia) in June of 1861. Tyndale himself was familiar with Harpers Ferry. In 1859, he had accompanied John Brown’s wife, Mary, to visit her husband just prior to his execution in Charlestown on December 2, 1859 when he believed her life might be in some danger. After Brown’s execution, Tyndale escorted Mary Brown and the casket back to New York. But before accepting the coffin, Tyndale insisted on having it opened so that the new widow was assured that her husband’s body was actually inside.

Tyndale’s orders were to burn Harpers Ferry, which he did. However, he made sure that the engine house where John Brown had been captured as safely guarded so that it could be preserved from the fires.

In 1862, Tyndale commanded the 1st Brigade of the XII Corp of the Union Army in the Battle of Antietam. He was wounded twice in that action. He also saw action at the Battles of Chattanooga and Wauhatchie serving under General Joseph Hooker. He was brevitted as Major General upon his retirement in 1865.

Hector Tyndale died in 1880 in his home town.

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