Born at Sackett's Harbor, NY, he was the son of Capt. John Clitz,
a distinguished officer of the U. S. Army who served at Fort Erie. Clitz graduated from
West Point in the class of 1845 and was breveted to 2nd Lieutenant, 7th Infantry, July 1,
1845. He served in the Military Occupation of Texas, 1845-1846 prior to entering the War
with Mexico, engaged in the Battle of Monterey, September 21-23, 1846. He was promoted to
2nd Lieutenant, 3rd Infantry, September 2, 1845. Clitz was next engaged in the Defense of
Ft. Brown, December 3-9, 1846; the Siege of Vera Cruz, March 9-29, 1847 and Battle of
Cerro Gordo, April 17-18, 1847, for which he was breveted to 1st Lieutenant, April 18,
1847, for gallant and meritorious conduct Clitz was next engaged in the Skirmish at
Ocalaca, August 16, 1847; the Battle of Contreras, August 19-20, 1847; Battle of
Churubusco, August 20, 1847; Storming of Chapultepec, September 13, 1847; and the Assault
and Capture of the City of Mexico, September 13-14, 1847.
Following the Mexican War Clitz was Assistant
Instructor of Infantry and Tactics at West Point, September 15, 1848 to September 27,
1855; on frontier duty at Santa Fe, NM, 1856; Ft. Union, NM, 1856; Santa Fe, NM,
1856-1857; Cantonment Burgwin, NM, 1857; Ft. Defiance, NM, 1857; and Albuquerque, NM,
1857-1858. He was promoted to Captain, 3rd Infantry, December 6, 1858 and served in
Recruiting Service, 1858- 1859. Following a leave of absence in Europe, 1859-1860, Clitz
served on frontier duty at Ringgold Barracks, TX, 1860-1861 and Ft. Brown, TX, 1861. He
was promoted to Major, 12th Infantry, May 15, 1861.
At the outbreak of the Civil War Clitz was
serving in Defense of Ft. Pickens, FL, April 19-June 27, 1861; in Organizing the 12th
Infantry, at Ft. Hamilton, NY, July 7, 1861 to March 10, 1862. He served in the Virginia
Peninsular Campaign (Army of the Potomac) March-June, 1862, being engaged in the Siege of
Yorktown, April 5-May 4, 1862, where he was wounded; Battle of Gaines's Mill, June 27,
1862, where he was twice wounded and made a prisoner of war, in Libby Prison, at Richmond,
June 28-July 27, 1862, when he was Paroled for Exchange. He was breveted to Lieutenant
Colonel, June 27, 1862, for gallant and meritorious services at the Battle of Gaines's
Clitz next served at the Military Academy, as
Commandant of Cadets and Instructor of Artillery, Infantry and Cavalry Tactics, October
23, 1862-July 4, 1864; and in garrison at Bedloe's Island, NY, July, 1864- May, 1865; at
Savannah, GA, May 22-July 3, 1865; Hilton Head, SC, July 3-December 9, 1865; and at
Charleston, SC, December 9, 1865-June 21, 1866.
He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, 6th
Infantry, November 4, 1863; breveted to Colonel, March 13, 1865 for gallant and
meritorious services during the Rebellion; breveted to Brigadier-General, U. S. Army,
March 13, 1865, for gallant and distinguished services in the field.
Henry Boynton Clitz
Following the Civil War, Clitz served as a member
of the Tactics Board, and in command of regiment at Charleston, SC and Ft. Brown, TX. He
was promoted to Colonel, 10th Infantry, February 22, 1869. He served in command of
regiments at Ft. McKavett, TX, the District of North Texas, and at Ft. Wayne, MI, as well
as a member of several important military boards during the 1870's and 1880's, retiring on
July 1, 1885.
He took up residence in Detroit, MI following his
retirement where he was a universal favorite among his fellows, and the devoted son of an
aged mother. Without any apparent cause, he suddenly left his home and was last seen on
October 30, 1888 at Niagara Falls.
The following tribute to his memory was paid by
the Michigan Commandery, Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States:
"Companions, Your committee selected to
prepare a memorial page to the memory of our beloved companion and Commander, General
Henry B. Clitz, beg to submit the following:
"The forty years of army service of General
Clitz, full of the most important military events in the nation's history, embracing the
War with Mexico and the Rebellion of the Seceding States, in which he took an honored part
without a stain upon his escutcheon, is the highest tribute we can pay to his patriotism,
gallantry, and fidelity to duty.
His warm-hearted, genial disposition won and
retained the love of his companions and associates, to whom his loss is a personal one.
We can see him in our mind as he stood upon the
shore of the mighty Niagara. There came to his ear the familiar bugle-notes, 'lights out,'
and he answered the call, and closed a life crowned with honors.
With no monumental pile to make his resting
place, the stars his sentinels, he sweetly sleeps until the 'reveille' shall call him
forth on the resurrection morn."