HENRY DEARBORN was born in Hampton, New Hampshire, on 23 February 1751; studied medicine under Dr. Hall Jackson at Portsmouth; married Mary Bartlett, his first wife, in 1771; entered practice as a physician in 1772; was elected captain of a militia company; participated in the Battle of Bunker Hill, served under Benedict Arnold in the Quebec expedition and was captured, 1775; was paroled in 1776 and exchanged in 1777; was appointed major of the 3d New Hampshire Regiment; participated in operations at Ticonderoga and Freeman’s Farm with the 1st New Hampshire Regiment; spent the winter of 1777–1778 at Valley Forge; took part in the Battle of Monmouth, 1778; engaged in the 1779 operations against the Six Nations; married his second wife, Dorcas Marble, in 1780; joined Washington’s staff as deputy quartermaster general; commanded the 1st New Hampshire at Yorktown in 1781; returned to private life in Maine, 1783; was appointed brigadier and major general of militia; was appointed U.S. Marshal for the District of Maine, 1790; served in the U.S. House of Representatives, 1793–1797; served as Secretary of War, 5 March 1801–7 March 1809; helped plan the removal of the Indians beyond the Mississippi; was appointed Collector of the Port of Boston, 1809; was appointed senior major general in the U.S. Army, 1812; was ineffective in command of the northeastern theater in the War of 1812; captured York (Toronto) and Fort George (Quebec) in 1813; was transferred to command in New York City in 1813; married his third wife, Sarah Bowdoin; was nominated and withdrawn for the post of Secretary of War; served as minister to Portugal, 1822–1824; died in Roxbury, Massachusetts, on 6 June 1829.
Walter M. Brackett (1823–1919), the Boston artist, became actively engaged in Secretary of War Belknap’s plans for an Army portrait gallery, and painted four of the secretary’s earliest predecessors—Pickering, Dexter, Dearborn, and Eustis—in 1873. Only Daniel Huntington, Robert W. Weir, and Henry Ulke exceeded his output. Fittingly, his subjects were all residents of Massachusetts. His Pickering portrait is in the West Point collection.
By Walter M. Brackett
Oil on canvas, 29½" x 24½", 1873
page created 1 March 2001
Return to Front Matter