Eugene Carr was born on March 20, 1830 in Erie County, New York. Nominated to the United States Military Academy at West Point, he graduated in 1850 at the age of twenty. After graduation he was commissioned into the Regiment of Mounted Riflemen, 3rd Cavalry. Most of Carr’s pre-Civil War military experience he gained in the west against Indian nations. While in the 1st Cavalry, Carr was appointed captain in 1858.
When the Civil War began, Carr remained in the United States Army and would fight at the Battle of Wilson’s Creek under General Nathaniel Lyon on August 10, 1861. On August 16th, Carr was promoted to the rank of colonel in the 3rd Illinois Cavalry.
When Brigadier General Samuel Curtis moved his Union army southwest and chased Missouri State Guard Major General Sterling Price out of Missouri, Carr was still with the 3rd Illinois. By early March 1862, Carr was one of the 10,000 Federals encamped in northwest Arkansas.
On the morning of the first day of the Battle of Pea Ridge, March 7, 1862, Colonel Carr was assigned the task of protecting the Federal rear by clearing out Confederates in Cross Timber Hollow, north of the Elkhorn Tavern. Accurately noticing that the high ground around the Tavern was the best place to intercept any Confederate force coming up the steep slopes around Cross Timber Hollow, Carr deployed his 1200 men along the top of the ridge. After receiving news of the number of Confederates marching on his position, Carr sent for reinforcements and determined to hold out as long as possible.
Because of his actions during the fighting around the Elkhorn Tavern on March 7, Carr is awarded the Medal of Honor due to his perseverance in leading a Federal battery at an exposed position. The actions that led to his Medal of Honor also led to his being wounded three times. On March 8, Carr participated in the Federal charge towards the Elkhorn Tavern to the east of the Telegraph Road. After the Confederate retreat, Carr and his division followed the Confederates a short distance on the Huntsville Road but turned back to help secure the battlefield.
After the Battle of Pea Ridge, Eugene Carr participated in the campaign that led to the surrender of Vicksburg, Mississippi as the commander of a division of the 13th Corps. For the duration of the Civil War, Carr remained in Arkansas. By the end of the war, Carr was a brevetted major general in both the regular army and the volunteer force.
After the end of the Civil War in 1865, Carr returned to the frontier as an Army major and served in the 5th Cavalry. By his retirement in 1893, Carr had gained the rank of brigadier general and was popularly known as an expert Indian fighter throughout the nation. Brigadier General Eugene A. Carr died on December 2, 1910 and is buried at West Point.