Sons of Union Veterans of The Civil War
Department of New York
Colonel Augustus van Horne Ellis Camp 124

Replacing the Plaque Which Once Adorned
the Gravestone of
General   Henry Lawrence Burnett
Goshen, NY

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Henry L. Burnett
1838 - 1916

General Henry L. Burnett was born in Youngstown, Ohio in 1838. His family, which contributed much to our Nation’s development through men such as William Burnet (sic), Colonial Governor of New York and New Jersey, and William Burnett, member of the Continental Congress of 1776 and 1780-91, had moved west after the Revolution, during which Henry’s grandfather had become impoverished. Hard work would prevail and the family did recover, although not to the level of prosperity they had reached earlier. Henry eventually attended law school and was admitted to the bar in 1860.

The clouds of war soon arose and Henry enlisted in what would soon become Company C of the 2nd Ohio Cavalry, in which he would be elected Captain at the age of 23. Promoted to Major in 1863, and later Brevet Brigadier General in 1865, Burnett was appointed Judge Advocate of the Department of the Ohio, which was later merged with the Northern Department of the North. While serving in this capacity, General Burnett tried numerous cases involving dereliction of duty, conspiracy, and his most famous case - the trial of the Lincoln assassins. In addition to serving as one of the three judges who tried this case, he was also responsible for assembling the official written account of the trial.

After the war, and following the death of his first wife Kitty, General Burnett moved to New York City where he served as an attorney for the Buffalo and Erie Railway Companies and practiced law with several private firms. His second wife, Sarah, died in 1877 and, five years later, Henry married Agnes Tailer and continued to travel in the rich New York City social circles.

In 1898, Burnett was appointed Federal District Attorney for the Southern District of New York by President McKinley, and then re-appointed four years later by President Theodore Roosevelt. In search of a country home away from the city, Henry and Agnes came to Goshen where they bought a breeding farm and where Henry raced on the amateur circuit.

General Henry L. Burnett died in New York City in 1916 and was buried in the Slate Hill Cemetery in Goshen, where his majestic stone, high on the hill, commands a magnificent view of the valley below. In addition to the large carved letters which spell the name Burnett, at one time a large bronze plaque was also affixed to the stone. The exact text and other contents of the plaque had long ago been forgotten, but research by the Ellis Camp of the Sons of Union Veterans with assistance from descendants of the General have revealed that the plaque appeared as the proof below indicates:

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Proof of plaque provided by
Burnett descendant Blaine Kimball

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Proof of plaque with words highlighted

At the suggestion of Ellis Camp Memorials Officer Lou Neuburger, Sr., the Ellis Camp first took on the challenge of cleaning the area surrounding the General’s grave.

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The General Henry Lawrence Burnett Stone
Goshen, NY


Under the leadership of Camp Commander Jeffrey Albanese, the Ellis Camp placed a marker to identify and explain more of the history of
General Burnett, and his involvement with the prosecution of the Lincoln Assassination conspirators.

Dedication of a plaque identifying the final resting place of General Henry Lawrence Burnett
Slate Hill Cemetery, Goshen, NY
July 24, 2004


Click Here
to visit the website maintained by
General Burnett descendant Mary S. Van Deusen


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