A Marine's Story: General Henry Clay Cochrane

General Henry Clay Cochrane was born on November 7, 1842, in Chester, Pennsylvania. In 1860, he started a career as a teacher,r but it was interrupted by the beginning of the civil war, and he chose to enlist in the Union military instead.

General Cochrane tried to apply for a commission to the Marine Corps, but at 18, he was considered too young. So instead, he would volunteer in the US Navy, serving as a Warranted Acting Master's Mate. He participated in most of the Naval battles in the early years of the Civil War. He received his commission into the US Marine Corps in May of 1863.

From the beginning of his career, General Henry Cochrane was a stickler for protocol and form. These traits earned him a prestigious assignment on President Lincoln's honor guard during his Gettysburg address and a place with the US honor guard that attended the coronation of Czar Alexander III.

He was more than just a parade marine. General Henry Cochrane served aboard the USS Lancaster when the British fleet bombarded Alexandria in July 1882. He landed with Lieutenant Littleton Waller and other marines to protect the US embassy from rioters and looters during the conflict.

General Henry Cochrane was the second in command of the 1st Marine Battalion during the Spanish American War, which landed at Guantanamo Bay on June 9, 1898. During the Boxer Rebellion of 1900, he commanded the First Marine Regiment through the China Relief Expedition.

General Cochrane retired from the Marine Corps in 1905 and returned to his hometown of Chester, Pennsylvania. He died on April 27, 1913, and rests in the Chester Rural Cemetery.


a.d. elliott is a wanderer, writer, and photographer currently living in Salem, Virginia. 

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