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The text that follows is reproduced from (the report of the) Thirtieth Annual Reunion of the Association of the Graduates of the United States Military Academy, June 7th, 1899.

p146 Charles Lawrence Kilburn
No. 1132. Class of 1842.
Died March 17th, 1899, at Germantown, Pa., aged 80.

Charles Lawrence Kilburn, Colonel United States Army, and Brevet Brigadier General, retired, died at his residence in Germantown, Pa., Friday, March 17th, 1899. He contracted a severe cold which settled on his lungs and, with consequent influenza, caused his death. Although in his eightieth year he enjoyed vigorous health until about two weeks before his decease.

General Kilburn was born in Lawrenceville, Tioga County, Pa., August 9th, 1819. He entered the Military Academy at West Point in June, 1838, and graduated in 1842. His first station, as Lieutenant of Artillery, was at Fort Adams, Newport, p147Rhode Island, in the company of Flying Artillery, under command of Captain Taylor, and, later, performed service with Major Saunders' company at Houlton, Maine, for the defense of the northeast boundary. On this duty he remained until August, 1843, when he was sent to Savannah, Georgia. On the 1st of July, 1844, he was promoted to the Third Regiment of Artillery, and stationed at Fort Moultrie, S. C. From this post he sailed for Texas on the 2nd of September, 1845, having been previously appointed Adjutant of the detachment ordered to that frontier.

At the beginning of hostilities between the United States and Mexico, in the following spring, he joined the army under General Taylor, and continued with him until the end of the war. The writers of that time referred to Kilburn's services, especially at the battle of Buena Vista, in terms of warmest commendation. One of them, from which I quote, said:

"He participated in the battle of Palo Alto, Resaca de la Palma and Monterey, and for his gallantry in the last named battle received his first brevet. General Twiggs, in his first official report of that conflict, mentioned Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Bragg, Kilburn, Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Reynolds and Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.French as deserving the highest praise for their skill and good conduct under the heavy fire of the enemy which was concentrated upon them. On the field of Buena Vista, Kilburn won great honor as one of the most skillful and intrepid of artillerists. During the early part of that memorable day, February 23d, 1847, his section was detached and rendered essential service in various positions. About noon there was an important crisis. The Second Regiment had fallen back. Lieutenant Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.O'Brien, not having men enough to man his guns, was compelled to withdraw. The Mississippi Rifles, commanded by General Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Jefferson Davis, was on the point of abandoning their ground, and the enemy were assaulting our lines with renewed vigor. "Just at this moment," said General Davis, "we were joined by Lieutenant Kilburn with a piece of artillery, and Colonel Lane's Third Regiment of Indiana Volunteers. Lieutenant Kilburn opened a brisk and very effective fire, the enemy p148immediately receded, and, as we advanced, retired to the mountains. No senior officer of Lieutenant Kilburn's corps being present, it gives me great pleasure to acknowledge the valuable services he rendered, and to express my admiration of the professional skill and soldierly qualities he manifested. It was acknowledged by veterans in the service that if it had not been for the effective fire of Kilburn's artillery at that decisive moment, the enemy would have succeeded. The memory of Kilburn will be encircled with glory as long as the 'field of Buena Vista' shall be preserved in history."

"Major Braxton Bragg, in his report, after alluding to the particular services of the subject of this sketch on that field, said: 'of Lieutenant Kilburn, whose coolness, efficiency and gallantry came under my personal observation, I cannot speak in terms more complimentary than he deserves. His services are invaluable to me, whether in camp, on the march or in action.' "

For his "gallant and meritorious conduct in the battle of Buena Vista," Congress conferred the brevet rank of Captain on Lieutenant Kilburn.

After the close of the Mexican War, Kilburn spent a year or two in New Mexico and California. September 30, 1853, he was appointed Commissary of Subsistence with the rank of Captain, and stationed at New Orleans. He served in the Commissary Department through the Civil War, during which time he was stationed at Hilton Head, and at Cincinnati, disbursing over $80,000,000, without having his accounts at any time questioned.

In 1865 he was brevetted Brigadier General for meritorious services during the war.

He filled many and responsible positions until his retirement, which occurred in 1882 on account of his age. His last active service was at the Presidio, California.

General Kilburn's remains, accompanied by his window and by his nephews, Lieutenant Kilburn of the Navy, and Lieutenant D. W. Kilburn of the Army, were taken to Lawrenceville, Tioga County, Pa., and there interred in the family lot.

p149 While still a young Captain, General Kilburn was married to Miss Mary Wolcott of Pen Yan, N. Y., a young lady rarely gifted both in mind and person. A long, happy and united life awaited them. They had no children. For many years, and until his decease, their dwelling was at the corner of Pulaski Avenue and Manheim Streets, Germantown, where Mrs. Kilburn will continue to reside. The General left several nephews and nieces. One of the former, already mentioned, Lieutenant D. W. Kilburn, graduated at West Point in the class of 1894. He commanded a company in the First Regular Infantry during the Santiago campaign.

W. K.


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