Connecticut State Library with state seal

Memorials of Connecticut Judges and Attorneys
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports
volume 78, page(s) 723-724


Augustus Brandegee, an eminent citizen of the State and a honored leader of the bar, died in New London on November 14th, 1904. He was born in that city on July 12th, 1828, and was the son of John and Mary Deshon Brandegee. On his father's side he came of an old Connecticut family, and on his mother's of distinguished Huguenot stock - his grandfather, Captain Daniel Deshon, having commanded the armed vessel Defense commissioned by the State of Connecticut for service in the Revolutionary War. He fitted for college in the Union Academy at New London, and the Hopkins Grammar School at New Haven; entered Yale, and graduated with his class in 1849. He studied law at the Yale Law School and with the late A. C. Lippitt in New London; was admitted to the bar of New London County in 1851, and continued in the practice of his profession until a few months before his death. He was married in 1854 to Nancy Christina Bosworth, who died in 1881. A daughter, Mrs. M. Gray Zalinski, and a son, United States Senator Frank R. Brandegee, survive him.

Mr. Brandegee was a lawyer of the highest type. He was studious and well versed in legal principles He was skillful in applying those principles to the particular case in which he was engaged. He was untiring in his devotion to his clients' interests. He was fair to his opponents. He was honest with the court. And also in the practice of his profession he attained success with honor.

As an advocate it is probable that Mr. Brandegee was never surpassed at the Connecticut bar. His arguments were effective when made to the jury; they carried no less weight when addressed to the court. Stating the legal principles involved with clearness and precision, he embellished this framework with a wealth of illustration and quotation from the Scriptures and the classics. He seemed to know the Bible by heart.

In 1854, 1855, 1859 and 1861, Mr. Brandegee represented his native town in the State legislature, and in the last term was speaker of the House. He took a prominent part in the Fremont campaign, becoming one of most popular orators of the Republican party. In 1863 he was elected as a Representative in Congress from the third Congressional District, and in 1865 re-elected. Here his gift of oratory soon brought him to the front. He was conspicuous in the debates in those historic times, and became a trusted friend of President Lincoln. He declined a re-election to Congress, and from that time held no public office except that of mayor of New London. But this was wholly from choice. He put aside the highest political honors. He always retained, however, his interest in politics, and was one of the valued advisers of his party, as well as a delegate to several national conventions.

Mr. Brandegee stood for high ideals through all his public life. He zealously supported the anti-slavery movement when its supporters met contumely and contempt. He rendered signal service to cause of the Union and to the building up of the Nation after the Civil War. His private life was upon the same high plane. He abhorred hypocrisy, shams and pretensions. He led a simple life, and as a lawyer and citizen set an example for emulation. His friends cherish his memory. His State counts him among her illustrious sons. His country is the better for his life.