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National Cyclopaedia of American Biography
Vol. 14, page 272

BURNETT, Henry Lawrence, soldier and lawyer, was born in Youngstown, O., Dec. 26, 1838, son of Henry and Nancy (Jones) Burnett, and a descendant of Thomas Burnett, who came from England and settled first in Lynn, MA and later in Southampton LI. Among his ancestors are William Burnett, colonial governor of New York and New Jersey (1720-28), and Dr. William Burnett, a member of the Continental congress of 1776, and a surgeon-general in the revolutionary army. General Burnett's grandfather was Samuel Burnett, who contributed largely of his fortune to the American cause, and after that struggle settled in the wilderness of Ohio, where he established a home and renewed his fortune.

Gen. Henry L. Burnett Henry L. Burnett was educated at Chester Academy, where he was a fellow student with James A. Garfield. Later he attended Hiram Institute under Garfield's tutelage, and after graduating at the Ohio State and National Law School was admitted to the bar in 1860. He began his practice at Warren, Ohio.

At the outbreak of the civil war, he enlisted as a private in the 2nd Ohio cavalry, and was elected a captain upon its organization. He served under Col. Doubleday, in Missouri, taking active part in the battles of Carthage and Fort Wayne, also making the expedition of the Union forces into Cherokee county through Arkansas and the Indian Territory. He served under Burnside in the Knoxville campaign, and was promoted through the various ranks to brigadier-general.

In 1863 he was appointed judge advocate of the Ohio and Northern departments and assigned to the Army of the Cumberland. He managed the "Hurtt" case, the "Indiana conspiracy" and the notorious "Chicago conspiracy", in which the defendants and witnesses were brought to Cincinnati in order to secure his services.

While making the closing address in this case, a telegram from Sec. Stanton summoned him to Washington to take part in the trial of President Lincoln's assassins. He took charge of the investigation relating to the assassination, prepared the testimony for the trial, and was one of the judge-advocates on the trial. Gen. Burnett published papers completely refuting the slanders against Gen. Hancock and Judge Holt in which they were charged with refusing to serve on Mrs. Surratt a habeas corpus and of suppressing or withholding the recommendation to mercy.

In 1865 Gen. Burnett resigned from the army and engaged in the practice of law, first in Cincinnati, O., and later in New York city. He was for a time associated attorney and counsel for the Erie railroad. In general practice, he was associated in turn with Judge Emott, Benjamin H. Bristow, William Peet and William S. Opeyke, and Edward B. Whitney. He was counsel for the English stockholders of the Emma Mine, and in the case of the Rutland Railway Co. against Gov. Paige of Vermont. He was for eight years U.S. attorney for the southern district of New York.

He was a commander of the military order of the Loyal Legion; president of the Ohio Society; member of the Metropolitan, Union and Republican clubs and of the Century and the Bar associations.

He was married in 1859 to a daughter of Judge Benjamin F. Hoffman, law partner of Gov. David Todd; she died in 1854. He was again married in 1867, to Sarah G. Lansing who died in 1877, and again in 1881, to Agnes Suffern, daughter of Edward N. Tailer.

(Information collected by James Opfield)


Henry L. Burnett
Map to Gen. Burnett Pages
Gen. Burnett's Will
Gen. Burnett's Grave
Gen. Burnett's Promotions
Biography of Gen. Burnett
Gen. Burnett's Military Career

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