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Bill Thayer

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 [decorative delimiter] Class of 1852

Vol. II

(Born N. Y.)

Joseph C. Ives

(Ap'd Ct.)


Joseph Christmas Ives: Born Dec. 25, 1829.

Military History. — Cadet at the Military Academy, July 1, 1848, to July 1, 1852, when he was graduated and promoted in the Army to

Bvt. Second Lieut., Ordnance, July 1, 1852.

Served: as Asst. Ordnance Officer at Watervliet Arsenal, N. Y., 1852‑53; as Assistant in the Topographical Bureau, at Washington, D. C.,

p475 (Transferred to Top. Engineers, Mar. 18, 1853)

Apr., 1853; as Assistant Topographical Engineer on the Pacific Railroad Survey, May 14, 1853, to May 23, 1854, — and in the Pacific Railroad Office at Washington, D. C., May 23, 1854, to Mar. 2, 1857; in compiling

(Second Lieut., Top. Engineers, Apr. 30, 1855)

Map of the Peninsula of Florida, 1856; on Light-house duty, Mar. 2 to June 3, 1857; in making Explorations of the Rio Colorado, etc.,a and preparing map and report thereof, June 3, 1857, to July 26, 1860; as

(First Lieut., Top. Engineers, July 1, 1857)

Engineer and Architect of the Washington National Monument, June 14, 1859, to July 26, 1860; and as Astronomer and Surveyor to U. S. Commission to run the Boundary between California and the Territories of

(Captain, 17th Infantry, May 14, 1861: Declined)

the United States, July 26, 1860, to Dec. 26, 1861.

Dismissed by the President, Dec. 26, 1861,

for "having tendered his resignation under circumstances showing him to be disloyal to the Government."

Joined in the Rebellion of 1861-66 against the United States.b

Died, Nov. 12, 1868, at New York city: Aged 40.

Thayer's Notes:

a Joseph C. Ives has become famous for having written of the Grand Canyon, in his Report upon the Colorado River of the West; Explored in 1857 and 1858 (Washington, D. C., Government Printing Office, 1861), p30:

"The region . . . is, of course, altogether valueless. It can be approached only from the south, and after entering it, there is nothing to do but leave. Ours has been the first and the last party of whites to visit this profitless locality. It seems intended by nature that the Colorado River, along the greater portion of its lonely and majestic way, shall be unvisited and undisturbed."

What those who gleefully report this fail to mention is that great chunks of the same report are taken up by rapturous descriptions of the beauty of the Canyon and other landscapes of the Far West; and although some one hundred and forty million people are said to have "seen" the Grand Canyon, the vast majority of us have done so very summarily from some carefully arranged vantage point. Very few know it to any real extent, and most of it sees no human being for years on end, exactly as Lt. Ives said.

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b As with other Confederate officers, Cullum's Register omits his war record. He was an aide-de‑camp to President Davis, with the rank of Colonel; and it was in that capacity that — he seems to have a gift for quotability — when asked whether Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Robert E. Lee had the audacity required in war, he made his famous assessment of the general (Freeman, R. E. Lee, II.92).

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