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Bill Thayer

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The following text is reproduced from (the report of the) Fourteenth Annual Reunion of the Association of the Graduates of the United States Military Academy, June 12, 1883.

 p50  Donald Winston
No. 2740. Class of 1878.
Died, Oct. 26, 1882, at Richmond, Va., aged 28.

Donald Winston was born in Richmond, Va., in 1854,a1 and entered the U. S. Military Academy as a cadet from that district, on Sept. 1st, 1873, but even at that early age evidences of the dread disease that finally took his life, became so strong that he was compelled to leave the Academy for a year. Returning, he joined the following class and was graduated on June 14th, 1878, and appointed Additional 2d Lieutenant 10th Infantry, was promoted to 2d Lieutenant June 28, 1878, and at the expiration of his graduating leave joined his regiment in Texas, where he served on scouting and other duties until the following year, when his regiment was transferred to the Department of the East, and he was assigned to duty at Fort Wayne, Detroit. In November, 1880, failing health compelled him to seek a milder climate and he spent the winter in Florida. He rejoined in May, 1881, but little improved in health, and in November was again compelled to seek another climate, which he did with much reluctance, though it was painfully evident to his many friends that the mark of death was already on him. He received no benefit from any of the localities he visited, and in August, 1882, he went to his home in Richmond to pass the few remaining days of life with family and friends, and died on the morning of October 26, 1882, aged 27 years and 11 months.a2 He keenly felt the approach of the end, and often conversed with his friends on the bitterness of giving up life and hope at the outset of a career that promised so much of honor and usefulness.

Thoroughly a gentleman, with a kind heart and a generous disposition, he made many warm friends in the classes to which he belonged while a cadet. He was highly esteemed in his regiment, and was popular with that lasting popularity which comes from the appreciation of true worth and sincerity of purpose. In the order to the regiment announcing his death, General Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Clitz said: "We all respected the soldier and loved the man."

Respected for his zeal, ability and devotion he gave to the profession,  p51 and loved for the kind, generous, upright and manly character he ever showed to his associates, we can but feel that in his death we have lost a noble comrade, and the service an honorable, able and courteous soldier.

Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.J. S. Pettit.


Thayer's Note:

a1 a2 His tombstone (q.v.) gives his birthdate as Jan. 29, 1855, making him not quite 27 years and 9 months old when he died.


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Page updated: 17 Nov 15