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Bill Thayer

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The following text is reproduced from (the report of the) Tenth Annual Reunion of the Association of the Graduates of the United States Military Academy, June 12, 1879.

 p103  Charles M. Carrow
No. 2748. Class of 1878.
Died, May 19th, 1879, at St. Louis, Mo., Aged 26.

Lieutenant Carrow was born in Pennsylvania, in 1853, and graduated from the Military Academy in 1878. He was assigned to the Seventh Cavalry as additional Second Lieutenant, and a fortnight later (June 28th, 1878) was promoted to a Second Lieutenantcy in the same regiment.

He reported for duty at the expiration of his graduating leave of absence, at Fort Lincoln, Dakota. At the time of his death he had been for some time on sick leave.

Carrow's most marked trait was his strong regard for truth  p104 and personal honor. He would have made any sacrifice to preserve either. His weakness was his highly excitable and nervous temperament, which was the foundation of his strong likes and dislikes, and I may say also of his sad end.

During his entire course at the Academy his one idea was his diploma, and, had it been necessary, to obtain it he would have deprived himself of all pleasure and unnecessary recreation and devoted himself to his books. He had been expelled from the Naval Academy for interfering with new cadets, and he once told me that some of his friends thought that he could not graduate; so his pride in connection with his regard for the great anxiety of his good parents, had determined him to receive from our Military Institution a recognition of his capacity, and it was with feelings of the greatest exultation and happiness that he visited, in company with me, the Naval Academy in June, 1878, where he would have graduated in 1874 had he not been expelled.

So afraid was he of failure, when the object of his ambition was so near his grasp, that he made a solemn promise, during our First-class camp, not to touch any intoxicating liquors during the remainder of his time at the Academy, and if that promise had been for life, instead of for one year, our service would have possessed in him to‑day one of the bravest and most gallant officers of any time.

But alcohol was his relentless foe. He gave himself up to it as soon as he graduated, with a resolve to conquer his desire at the expiration of three months; but so fast a hold had his enemy upon him that he was unable to throw him off, although he recognized plainly all inducements to do so, and the struggle culminating in pecuniary and physical embarrassments, he carried into effect the dreadful idea of self-destruction. His mind must have been terribly wrought upon, for he had a horror of killing himself, and several times put himself in the way of danger, hoping to lose his life without being instrumental himself in taking it.

Always courteous and polite, he never forgot that he was a gentleman. Brilliant in conversation and graceful in manner, he was capable of making any one for whom he cared think highly of him.

 p105  He was an accomplished and well-informed gentleman, with a capacity for any thing he resolved, no matter what the task might be, unless, indeed, it be that of conquering his desire for drink. No man could have a greater courage or nerve, and to lead a forlorn hope would have been his delight; on many occasions he has pictured to me vividly from his imagination the glory of a charge, and his eye would kindle with the fire and zeal of a true soldier.

His friendships were few, but for those he felt a strong love and affection, and by them alone he was easily influenced, in all save the one thing that brought his life to such a sad termination. He died by his own hand on the 19th of May, 1879, and was buried on the 24th of the same month, in the Cemetery of Phoenixville, Pa., "which over­looks the Schuylkill on whose banks he was born."

(Lieutenant Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.B. D. Spilman.)

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