(April 29, 1815 – September 27, 1890) was a Union Army
general during the American Civil War
, the commander of one of the most famous Zouave
regiments, the 5th New York Volunteer Infantry
. After the war he was New York City Police Commissioner
Birth and early years
Duryée was born in New York City
to a family of soldiers. His grandfather fought in the American Revolutionary War
, and his father and two uncles were officers during the War of 1812
. Graduating from the grammar school at Columbia College
, Abram worked as a merchant
and became wealthy as a mahogany importer in New York. In 1833, he joined the New York State Militia
, serving in the 142nd New York Regiment. He moved on to the 27th Regiment (the 7th today) five years later. Starting as a private, he eventually rose to Colonel
of the regiment in 1859. During his time in the militia, he led the regiment in the Astor Place Riot
and was wounded twice. When he resigned his commission in 1859, it was against the protests of his colleagues.
Just after the start of Civil War, Duryée raised a new regiment, the 5th New York Volunteers, in less than a week. He became its colonel on May 14, 1861. It was one of the several Zouave
units that rose up in the mid 19th century. "Duryée's Zouaves", as they became known, fought at Big Bethel
, after which he was promoted to brigadier general
, as of August 31. He was given command of a brigade in the division under General James B. Ricketts
. He later fought in the Battle of Cedar Mountain
, Second Battle of Bull Run
, and several others. At the Battle of Antietam
, he succeeded Ricketts as division commander, when the latter replaced General Joseph Hooker
as corps commander. He was not afraid to be in the thick of the action; he was wounded at Second Bull Run
, South Mountain
, and Antietam
After Antietam, Duryée went on a short leave of absence, and, when he returned, was disheartened to find his brigade under the command of Brig. Gen. John Gibbon, who was his junior by date of rank. He resigned on January 5, 1863, after the army rejected his claims to his old command. Despite this, he received a brevet promotion to major general at the end of the war. He was also elected by the 71st New York Infantryregiment as their colonel and as Brigadier General by the 4th New York Brigade, both of which he declined.
In 1873, Duryée was appointed New York City Police Commissioner. In 1884, he served as dockmaster.
Abram Duryée died in New York and is buried in Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn.
He had one son, Jacob Duryée (1839 – 1918), who was also a general in the Civil War.
- Eicher, John H., and Eicher, David J., Civil War High Commands, Stanford University Press, 2001, ISBN 0-8047-3641-3.
- Warner, Ezra J., Generals in Blue: Lives of the Union Commanders, Louisiana State University Press, 1964, ISBN 0-8071-0822-7.