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Bill Thayer

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[image ALT: A photograph of the head and shoulders of a young man with oval wire-rimmed glasses and a full beard and moustache, neatly trimmed. He is seen from his left three-quarters, but looks straight at the camera. He wears a military uniform with a single prominent braided epaulet visible. He has a serious but gentle air about him. He is William A. Sater, an American Army officer whose brief career is detailed on this webpage.]

Lieutenant William A. Sater

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

 p33  William A. Sater
No. 3596. Class of 1894.
Killed July 1, 1898, at Santiago, Cuba, aged 28.

William Alfreda Sater was born in Butler County, Ohio, August 3, 1870, and in March, 1885, moved with his parents to Chanute, Kansas. At the age of seventeen he graduated from the city schools and subsequently taught two terms in schools of the county wherein he resided. He was appointed cadet to West Point. He spent a few months, preparing for the entrance examination, at Lieutenant Braden's school, then located at Cornwall, N. Y., and entered the Academy in June, 1890. At West Point Cadet Sater early displayed a character of uprightness and manliness which made every classmate a friend. Habitually congenial, it was impossible to be his enemy. No form of adversity could cloud his good nature and even, kindly temper. During his first year at West Point he stood low in his class, but was never in imminent danger of failure. Toward the end of the course, his perseverance and even work had carried him while up the list, and he was graduated 34 in his class.

His appointment as Second Lieutenant took him to the Thirteenth U. S. Infantry, in which he served for four years in the Indian Territory and at Fort Porter, Buffalo, N. Y. During these four years his genial character gained for him the friendship and respect of every officer and civilian with whom he came in contact. He became a member of the Masonic Lodge and was prominent and energetic in the interests of the society in the city of Buffalo.

In the short but arduous campaign, which resulted in his death, Lieutenant Sater exhibited the true soldierly qualities of fortitude, endurance and calmness. He went into action at the battle of San Juan, July 1st, 1898, as Adjutant of the Second Battalion, Thirteenth Infantry, commanded by Captain J. B.  p34 Guthrie. This command, due to the nature of the terrain, was followed to execute a flank march within 1,000 yards of the enemy's parapets, and go into action by company. Lieutenant Sater exposed himself with unfaltering courage while assisting in this hazardous work. His calmness and indifference to danger were most remarkable. He had all but completed his task when he sank dead, without a word. A bullet had pierced his heart. A true gentleman, a christian soldier had given up his life for the cause of humanity.

His was a life without blemish, blending courage, topic, manliness and purity of soul. He died the tragic but honorable death of a soldier in the heroic execution of a duty in which twenty-five per cent of the officers and men in his regiment were either killed or wounded.

In both life and death he reflected honor on the institution which was his Alma Mater.

The remains were brought from Cuba and taken to his former home in Kansas. All business was suspended and the schools were closed on the day of the funeral. The masons, of which Order Lieutenant Sater was a member, buried all that was mortal of their deceased brother, with the sad rites of their Order.


Thayer's Note:

a Sic. In his entry in Cullum's Register (q.v.), his middle name is given as Alford.

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Page updated: 13 Nov 13