He served under Colonel Robert E. Lee, U.S.A., during the suppression of the 1859 John Brown Raid at Harpers Ferry, Va.
He saw action at the Battles of Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg
Served on the Honor Guard that stood watch over Lincoln's corpse while lying in State
He was on the commission that tried the Lincoln conspirators
(1818-97) Born in Standish, Maine, he graduated in the West Point class of 1841, and earned a brevet for gallantry in the Mexican War during General Winfield Scott's advance upon Mexico City and for his actions at the Battles of Contreras, and Churubusco. Howe served under Colonel Robert E. Lee during the 1859 suppression of John Brown's Raid at Harpers Ferry, Va. At the beginning of the Civil War, Howe served under General George B. McClellan in the 1861 western Virginia campaign. He then commanded a brigade during the 1862 Virginia Peninsular campaign, the Seven Days Battles, at Malvern Hill, and was promoted to brigadier general on June 11, 1862. In the subsequent campaigns of the Army of the Potomac, Howe fought in the Battles of South Mountain, at Antietam the bloodiest single day in American history, at Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg having risen to division command. His troops fought the Confederate rear guard near Funkstown, Maryland, on July 10, 1863, as Lee's Army of Northern Virginia retreated from Gettysburg. Howe continued in division command during the Bristoe Campaign, and the Mine Run Campaign. Afterwards Howe commanded the artillery depot in Washington, D.C., and was in the field at Harpers Ferry, opposing the raid on Washington by General Jubal A. Early. He was one of the "Honor Guard," the chosen few officers who received the privilege of standing vigil over the coffin of the slain president Abraham Lincoln while his corpse lie in repose at the White House. He later served as one of the 12 commissioners during the trial of the "Lincoln Conspirators" which was held in Washington, D.C., May 9 to June 29, 1865. He did not make any public comments regarding the conviction or hanging of Mary E. Surratt, the first woman ever executed by the United States Government, but he was not among the five officers who petitioned President Andrew Johnson to commute her sentence to life in prison. Both assignments indicated that the Radical Republican faction in the Congress found him useful and sympathetic. He also served in the Freedmen's Bureau in 1865. General Howe was mustered out of the volunteer service on July 15, 1866. Howe retired from the Regular U.S. Army on June 30, 1882, with the rank of colonel. He was a veteran companion of the Massachusetts Commandery of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States. He died in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on January 25, 1897, and is buried there in Mount Auburn Cemetery.
Wet plate, albumen carte de visite photograph, mounted to 2 3/8 x 4 card. Standing view wearing a double breasted frock coat with rank of brigadier general, while holding his kepi, and posing next to a studio table with a large book visible on top. Back mark: E. & H.T. Anthony, 501 Broadway, New York, From Photographic Negative in Brady's National Portrait Gallery. Excellent image. Rare.