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Bill Thayer

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The following text is reproduced from (the report of the) Twenty-Second Annual Reunion of the Association of the Graduates of the United States Military Academy, June 12th, 1891.

 p79  Armistead L. Long
No. 1466. Class of 1841.
Died, April 20, 1891, at Charlottesville, Virginia, aged 64.

General Armistead Lindsay Long was born in Campbell County, near Lynchburg, in 1827. In 1846 he was appointed a cadet at West Point through the influence of Shelton F. Leake, while he was a member of Congress, and four years later he graduated  p80 as First Lieutenant and was immediately assigned to the Artillery Corps. He served in the United States Army in Florida, and afterwards in New Mexico was associated with some of the most distinguished of soldiers, whose record during the Civil War afterwards added glory to the name of the American soldier.

He was Aide-de‑Camp to General E. V. Sumner, whose daughter, Mary Heron Sumner, he married in St. Louis in 1860. A soldier by choice and profession, his position was assured to him for life, and with the influence of General Sumner he had everything to hope for that a soldier's ambition could desire, but he was a Virginian, and at the demand of the convention of his native State he resigned his position in the United States Army and came to her defense.

General Long was appointed Major of Artillery in the Southern Army, July 20, 1861, and assigned to the Army of Northern Virginia as Chief of Artillery, commanded by General Loring. At the close of that campaign he was directed to report to Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.General Lee in the Southern Department as his Chief of Artillery. In March, 1862, General Lee, being created Commander-in‑Chief and military adviser to the President of the Confederacy, he was assigned to his staff as Military Secretary about the last of March with the rank of Colonel of Cavalry, and joined him about May, in Richmond.

He served on General Lee's staff in that capacity until the middle of September, 1863, when he was appointed Brigadier-General of Artillery and assigned to the Second Corps of Artillery, Army of Northern Virginia (Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Stonewall Jackson's Corps). He remained on General Lee's staff until the fall of 1863; was with him on the southern sea-coast, and in every battle in which General Lee commanded. In the winter of 1863 and 1864 he suffered from a failure of health, facial paralysis following, but resisting his growing disabilities, he continued in action and served until the surrender of the Confederate Army at Appomattox.

He was a man of fine personal appearance, and in all the normal and mental qualifications which make up the model soldier, he was worthy of the confidence and regard of the distinguished  p81 chieftain whose fortunes he had followed. After the war closed he was appointed chief engineer of the James-River and Kanawha-Canal Company. Soon after he lost his eye-sight by reason of exposure during his campaigns, when he removed to Charlottesville, and for the last twenty years has been in total darkness, incapacitated for active work and delicate in health.

During this period his active mind was much employed in recalling the incidents of the war and he had written a memoir of General Lee, which is a model of biographical history and contains the clearest and most intelligent history of the military operations of the Army of Northern Virginia that has ever been published. That book was published in 1886 and the author has since gathered materials for a new edition, which he has not been able to have published.

He has also written reminiscences of his army life and a sketch of Stonewall Jackson, in which he traces the resemblance between this impetuous soldier and "Old Hickory." By reason of his blindness he was compelled to use a slate prepared for the use of the blind and to depend on members of his family and on friends to have his work copied. Under all these disadvantages he has worked along, uncomplainingly, dwelling with interest and delight on what was most pleasant in his past life, cheerful and always with placid courage looking forward to the end of his sad but honored career.

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