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Bill Thayer

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 [decorative delimiter] Class of 1834

[image ALT: A painted portrait, in a naïve style, of a young man in a military uniform with epaulets. He has a gentle look and is probably in his early thirties; his face is oval and his wavy hair is already slightly receding, accentuating a high forehead. He is the 19c American military officer Philip N. Barbour, the subject of this webpage.]

Painter unknown; in the Kentucky Historical Society Collection.

Photograph in the public domain (Bridgeman v. Corel)

Vol. I

(Born Ky.)

Philip N. Barbour

(Ap'd Ky.)


Philip Nordbourne Barbour: Born Apr. 14, 1813, near Bardstown, KY.a

Military History. — Cadet at the Military Academy, July 1, 1829, to July 1, 1834, when he was graduated and promoted in the Army to

Bvt. Second Lieut., 3d Infantry, July 1, 1834.

Served: on frontier duty at Ft. Towson, I. T., 1834‑36, — Camp Hoskins,

(Second Lieut., 3d Infantry, Apr. 1, 1836)

I. T., 1836, — Ft. Towson, I. T., 1836, — Camp Sabine, La., 1836, — and Ft. Jesup, La., 1836‑40; as Adjutant, 3d Infantry, at Regimental

(First Lieut., 3d Infantry, J. L. & M. 1838)

headquarters, June 1, 1838, to Oct. 12, 1845; in the Florida War, 1840‑42; as Acting Asst. Adjutant-General of the Department of p582Florida, Aug. 22, 1842, to June, 1843; in garrison at Ft. Stansbury, Fla.,

(Bvt. Captain, Apr. 15, 1842, for Active and Highly Meritorious Services in the War against the Florida Indians)

1843, — and Jefferson Barracks, Mo., 1843, 1844; on frontier duty at Ft. Jesup (Camp Wilkins), La., 1844; on Recruiting service, 1844; on frontier duty at Ft. Jesup (Camp Wilkins), La., 1844‑45; in Military

(Captain, 3d Infantry, Nov. 26, 1845)

Occupation of Texas, 1845‑46; and in the War with Mexico, 1846, being engaged in the Battle of Palo Alto, May 8, 1846, — Battle of Resaca-de‑la‑Palma,

(Bvt. Major, May 9, 1846, for Gallant and Distinguished Services in the Battles of Palo Alto and Resaca-de‑la‑Palma, Tex.)

May 9, 1846, — and Battle of Monterey, where he was, by an escopet ball, while cheering his men to the charge in the desperate conflict in the streets of the city,

Killed, Sep. 21, 1846: Aged 33.

Burial place unknown.b

Thayer's Notes:

a Maj. Barbour's middle name is given here as in Heitman's Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army. He left a diary of his Mexican War experiences, which with the journal of his wife, was edited and published by Rhoda van Bibber Tanner Doubleday (G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1936); the title of the edited work, variously given online — I have not seen the printed book — may be Journals of the late Brevet Major Philip Norbourne [sic] Barbour . . . and his wife, Martha Isabella Hopkins Barbour . . .

His birth data are as given in several printed works. The Official Register of Officers and Cadets of the U. S. Military Academy for 1830, however, gives his age at admission July 1, 1829, as 16 years 1 month.

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b At Find-a‑Grave, we read that he is buried in Frankfort Cemetery, Frankfort, KY. But although his name is inscribed on the Kentucky State War Memorial in that cemetery, I find no record of an actual grave there, and do not remember seeing his grave when I myself visited the cemetery: and there seems to be strong evidence that his remains were never repatriated to the United States, being buried in a wall near where he fell, in an American cemetery in Mexico which has since been allowed to vanish thru neglect. In 1981 or thereabouts, several sets of unidentified human remains were found in the area consistent with that cemetery; Maj. Barbour's may be among them. For very full details, see two separate pages on Pablo Ramos' blog, "La Batalla de Monterrey 1846":

1 2

The latter includes a widely syndicated article appearing in many U. S. newspapers in 2011.

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Page updated: 19 Apr 15