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First Name: Henry

Last Name: Sharpe

Birthplace: Kingston, NY, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Middle Name: Granville

Date of Birth: 30 April 1858

Date of Death: 13 July 1947

Rank: Major General

Years Served:
Henry Granville Sharpe

Graduate, U.S. Military Academy, Class of 1880

•  Spanish-American War (1898)
•  Philippine-American War (1899 - 1902)
•  World War I (1914 - 1918)


Henry Granville Sharpe
Major General, U.S. Army

Henry Granville Sharpe was born on 30 April 1858 in Kingston, NY.

He attended the U.S. Military Academy and graduated in 1880. Sharpe served on frontier duty with the 4th Infantry Regiment (U.S.) at Fort Laramie, WY, for the next year and a half. Following a six months' leave of absence, he submitted his resignation from the Army to take effect 1 June 1882.

About fifteen months later on 12 September 1883, Sharpe was reappointed to the Army as a Commissary of Subsistence with the rank of Captain and assigned to temporary duty at New York City. He was then stationed at West Point, 1884-89.

From 1889-98, he served as a Commissary Officer at various locations to include Washington, Oregon and the St. Louis Depot. He was promoted to the rank of Major on 13 November 1895. He transferred from St. Louis to Boston on 15 March 1897, but assumed his duties there only after he had purchased and distributed supplies for the relief of sufferers from the Mississippi flood at St. Louis, MO, and at Cairo, IL.

When war with Spain was imminent in April 1898, he was appointed Chief Commissary of the First Army Corps, and deployed with the Corps to Puerto Rico. There he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and appointed an Assistant Commissary General of Subsistence. He remained on duty in Puerto Rico until 21 December 1898.

For a short time he was assigned to the Chicago Depot as Purchasing Commissary General, but in September 1899 he was ordered to Washington to act as Assistant to the Commissary General of Subsistence. This assignment lasted until the spring of 1902. He was then sent to Manila as Chief Commissary of the Division of the Philippines. By that time he been promoted to the rank of Colonel and was the senior officer in the Subsistence Department.

Sharpe's tour of duty in the Philippines lasted until he was again recalled to Washington to act as Assistant to the Commissary General of Subsistence. He served in this capacity from 22 June 1904 to 8 October 1905. He was commissioned Commissary General of Subsistence with the rank of Brigadier General on 12 October 1905, and was reappointed for a second four-year detail in 1909.

In the summer of 1907 he sailed to Europe at his own expense to investigate the supply departments of the British, French, and German Armies. He visited the schools for bakers and cooks maintained by those armies. The data he obtained on the use of rolling kitchens in the French and German armies materially assisted in the development of similar equipment suitable for the U.S. Army.

Upon his return to Washington in September 1907, General Sharpe submitted recommendations to the War Department urging the establishment of a supply corps. While these were not adopted, they undoubtedly proved helpful when the subject of consolidating the Quartermaster, Subsistence, and Pay Departments into one agency was being considered four years later. Sharpe was so enthusiastic about establishing a consolidated supply corps that Quartermaster General James B. Aleshire called him the father of consolidation. Many of Sharpe's friends recommended that he be selected to head the newly created Quartermaster Corps in 1912. But when his classmate, General Aleshire, was appointed, Sharpe accepted a subordinate post in the Corps and worked devotedly to prove the value of consolidation.

When ill health brought General Aleshire's retirement four years later, Sharpe was appointed to succeed him as Quartermaster General on 16 September 1916. This was approximately seven months before the U.S. declared war against Germany.

The Quartermaster Corps and the War Department generally were unprepared for World War I. The supply bureaus within the Quartermaster Corps were eager to procure and ship as quickly as possible the enormous quantities of supplies for which they were responsible. However, their uncoordinated procurement resulted in excessive and unbalanced railway shipments that overtaxed port facilities and finally developed into a serious congestion of the railroad system in the winter of 1917-18. By that time shortages in clothing, hospital equipment, and other supplies were causing hardships in Army camps, and it was charged by some that the lack of adequate clothing and shelter was responsible for an epidemic of pneumonia sweeping through the camps.

General Sharpe was held responsible by many for a large share of the supply crisis that had developed. It is, however, much easier and far more comforting to blame an individual than to analyze and evaluate the interplay of complex factors.

These developments stirred a widespread uneasiness that led to a Congressional Hearing on the conduct of the war. In the end, the General Staff took complete control of supplies and the Office of the Director of Purchase and Storage in the Purchase, Storage, and Traffic Division was erected on the foundation of the Quartermaster Corps.

On 15 December 1917, a War Council was formed consisting of the Secretary of War, the Assistant Secretary of War, the Quartermaster General, the Chief of Artillery, the Chief of Ordnance, the Judge Advocate General, and the Chief of Staff. The War Council was to oversee and coordinate all matters of supply and to plan for the more effective use of the military power of the nation. While serving on the Council, General Sharpe was required to delegate all his administrative duties to an Acting Chief Quartermaster designated by the Secretary of War.

In June 1918, General Sharpe was relieved from duty with the War Council and assigned to command the Southeastern Department. The following month he was appointed a Major General in the line of the Army, with rank from 12 July 1918 and officially ceased to be Quartermaster General.

General Sharpe requested retirement on 1 May 1920, at age 62. In his later years, he lived in Providence, RI, where he died at the age of 89.


General Sharpe was inducted into the Quartermaster Hall of Fame in 1989.

Death and Burial

Major General Henry Granville Sharpe died on 13 July 1947 in Providence County, RI. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA.

Honoree ID: 3068   Created by: MHOH




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