Biography of Herbert B. Titus
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Herbert B. was born in the old farm house built by his grandfather, and long since demolished. At the age of fourteen he taught his first school of forty scholars, sixteen of whom were older than himself, and with such success that his services were again sought for the same school Teaching and work upon the farm alternated with study at the academy at West Brattleboro, Vt., Chesterfield and Meriden, until 1854, when he entered Yale college where he remained but a single term, the death of a relative who had promised pecuniary assistance, leaving his way not clear at so expensive an institution. He resumed teaching and farming, and in 1859 was appointed county commissioner of common schools. In this position he was an earnest worker, and his interesting and practical addresses throughout the county showed much force and originality of thought. In April, 1861, he was holding a teachers’ institute in Keene, when, at the call of President Lincoln for troops, his name was first upon the list for a volunteer company it was proposed to raise under Capt. T. A. Barker, of Westmoreland. This company became Co. A, of the 2d N. H. Regt., and re-enlisting for three years, he was commissioned its second lieutenant. After the battle of Bull Run, in which his bravery and perfect coolness under fire were conspicuous, he was promoted to ist lieutenant and assigned to command of another company. Served as judge advocate of a general court martial, and from January 1, 1862, as a signal officer, until July following, when notified of his appointment, June 14, 1862, as Major 9th N. H. Vols., then being raised- Promoted to Lieut.-Colonel, August 26th. At the battle of South Mountain he directed a charge of his regiment which broke the enemy’s line and decided the fate of the day on that part of the field. The last words of General Reno, the Corps Commander, before he fell mortally wounded, were spoken to him in high commendation of the movement as “a most gallant charge.” Promoted to Colonel November 22, 1862, his subsequent services, with those of his regiment, are part of the military history of the state, and quoting summarily from the author of “New Hampshire in the Rebellion,” “he was often in command of a brigade and rendered valuable service in every position in which the fortunes of war placed him.” Volunteering as a private soldier, and never seeking promotion in any way, he was, at Appomattox in command of a brigade of ten regiments, including the sixth, ninth, and eleventh New Hampshire. Declining a proffered appointment in the regular army, the object for which he had became a soldier being accomplished, he was commissioned Brigadier General U. S. Vols., by brevet, from March 13, 1865, “for gallant and meritorious services during the war.” After the close of the war he was employed for nearly three years as a special agent of the government, mainly in connection with the collection of captured and abandoned property in the Southern states, and the recovery of Confederate ships in England and France. Still suffering from the exposures of army life, he engaged in his favorite occupation of farming for two years in Virginia, and then commenced the practice of law. He has been specially employed on behalf of the Government in some important cases, and by the French government in cases before the French and American claims commission. The firm is Hovey & Titus, Washington, D. C., with an office in New York city, where he has resided for the last three years. He has also been interested in mining operations in the Black Hills, and New Mexico, where he has spent several months, and in other business enterprises.