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Bill Thayer

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The following text is reproduced from (the report of the) Tenth Annual Reunion of the Association of the Graduates of the United States Military Academy, June 12, 1879.

 p13  Edward H. Totten
No. 2079. Class of 1865.
Killed June 14th, 1878, near Cold Spring, N. Y., Aged 33.

Edward Harris Totten was born in Washington City, District of Columbia, upon the 21st day of June, 1845. The days of his childhood were passed in various sections of the country until 1857, when, upon the death of his father, a lieutenant in the Navy, which occurred in that year, his mother made her home in Morristown, N. J.

Edward H. Totten early evinced a taste for military life, and it is not difficult to account for this predilection; for, almost from the organization of our Army and Navy, the families of his father and mother (the Tottens and Gambles) have had a distinguished representation in both of these branches of the service.

In June of 1861 his wishes were realized in his appointment as a cadet-at‑large to the Military Academy, West Point. During his course at the Academy he was noted for his high sense of honor, which manifested itself in his whole intercourse both with his instructors and fellow-cadets.

He was graduated June 23, 1865, and promoted in the Army as a 2d Lieutenant, 16th Infantry, and obtained his 1st Lieutenancy the same date. He served with his regiment at Sackett's Harbor, N. Y., Nashville, Tenn., and Livingston, Tenn., until September 21st, 1866, a portion of the time being Adjutant of the 3d Battalion. Upon Sept. 21, 1866, he was transferred to the 34th Infantry, and upon February 24th, 1867, appointed Regimental Adjutant.

In 1868 he was detailed upon signal duty, and in April of the  p14 following year was placed upon the unassigned list. In July, 1869, he was assigned to the 13th Infantry, and served with that regiment until 1870, when he was ordered to West Point as instructor of drawing, and subsequently made Assistant Professor of that branch. In January, 1871, he was transferred to the 1st Artillery, but remained on duty at West Point until July of 1874, when he was relieved and joined the regiment at Charleston, S. C. In September of the same year he was appointed Regimental Quartermaster, and performed the duties as such until March, 1875, when he was appointed Regimental Adjutant, which position he held until July, 1877, when he resigned the position and was assigned to Light Battery K. While serving with this battery, he was, upon June 12th, granted a four (4) days' leave of absence, for the purpose of attending the Ninth Annual Reunion of the Association of Graduates of the U. S. Military Academy, and upon this trip he met his death, having been accidentally killed by being struck by the cars at Cold Spring, N. Y., on the morning of June 14, 1878.a

During Lieut. Totten's tour of duty at West Point he labored for the success of the Association of Graduates, and, for several years, filled the position of Secretary to the satisfaction of all.

As an officer Lieut. Totten was distinguished among his comrades for his devotion to the service in all its details, and for an intelligent and conscientious discharge of his every official duty.

His social qualities were of a brilliant character, and united, as they were, to a chivalrous spirit and high moral character, rendered him a companion eagerly sought for and loved and respected by all.

(Lieut. J. M. K. Davis.)

Thayer's Note:

a Having attended the meeting, which had been held the day before.

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Page updated: 20 Dec 13