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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.

 p47  Edward W. Casey
No. 2501. Class of 1873.
Killed, January 7, 1891, by a Sioux Indian, on White River, South Dakota, aged 40.

Many a brave man has fallen in the long struggle maintained by the Indian since the European first planted a colony on this continent. As a result of this almost incessant strife the Red‑Man has nearly disappeared, but the bloody contest has not ceased, and now, as the end of the drama draws nigh, we are called upon to mourn the loss of as gallant a soldier, as genial a companion, as ever man knew; the warm-hearted, the generous and lovable Ned Casey. He was a natural born soldier of acknowledged ability, and had the course of events opened a wide field for the display of his military talent, it is believed he would have reached a very high position in his chosen profession.

Born, December 1, 1850, in Benicia, California, his youthful soldierly instincts were carefully nourished by his father, the late General Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Silas Casey. July 1, 1869, he entered the United States Military Academy as a cadet from Louisiana, and graduated therefrom in the Class of '73. His classmates will tell you his popularity in army circles began with his cadet days, and that his manliness, gentleness and generosity were proverbial. His sense of humor was keen, and he was fond of jest, but never to hurt a friend.

"The soul of mirth and fun was he,

The essence of all kindly feeling."

On June 13, 1873, Edward W. Casey was appointed a Second Lieutenant in the Twenty-Second Infantry, and promoted First Lieutenant in the same regiment, January 11, 1880.

Soon after joining his regiment, we find him volunteering to accompany an expedition under Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Custer to the Black Hills. His application was not granted, but it goes to show, early in his career, the tend of his mind as well as that love of adventure so characteristic of the true soldier.

 p48  In 1874 and 1875 he was on duty in New Orleans, during the political troubles in that city. He was with his regiment when it joined General Terry at the mouth of the Rosebud in 1876, and participated in all the campaigns that followed during that summer and fall. The writer recalls his cheerfulness and soldierly bearing in the long and tiresome marches of that year along the Rosebud, Tongue and Powder Rivers. Others oppressed by the lack of results, and worn out by the incessant rains and heavy mud, were inclined to exercise the soldier's privilege of grumbling, but not so with Casey; his step was as elastic, and his spirits as buoyant as if on the parade ground.

While serving under General Miles in the early part of 1877, Lieutenant Casey participated in the engagements of Wolf Mountain and Muddy Creek, and was complimented for the gallant manner in which he conducted a charge against the Indian camp at the latter place. In the same year, while commanding a small detachment in the field, it became necessary to cross Tongue River. Heavy rains had swollen the stream from bank to bank, and its current being swift, the crossing was rendered exceedingly difficult. Others faltered, but the evident danger only served the better to show Casey's bold spirit, and plunging headlong into the maddened waters, he set the example required to accomplish the feat. This act won for him the sobriquet of "Tongue River Casey."

In Indian Territory, Texas and Colorado, and especially in the Ute campaign of 1879 and 1880, he served with honorable distinction.

As Assistant Instructor of Tactics at West Point for four years, beginning Aug. 28, 1880, he made a host of friends, and impressed all with whom he was associated with his thoroughness and capacity. Doubtless many a young soldier will profit by the example set him by this officer's devotion to duty.

From September 1, 1884, to January 31, 1887, he was Adjutant of his regiment.

In August, 1888, he was placed in charge of the Cheyenne Indian Scouts at Fort Keogh, Montana, and continued on this  p49 duty until the day of his untimely death. His selection for this work was most appropriate, for his good will toward the Indians had been manifested in many ways, and he possessed, in a peculiar degree, the faculty of controlling them. Those under his command loved him and were rapidly being moulded into the best of light cavalry, and, in what is more remarkable, into civilized men.

Lieutenant Casey possessed untiring energy, and an unusually well balanced mind. In danger, while quick to act, his judgment was cool.

He was killed on January 7th, 1891, at White River, South Dakota, while in command of his scouts, operating against the rebellious Sioux. His death cast a deep gloom over the entire army, for his friends were everywhere.

Generous, brave, courteous and kind, his memory will be cherished, and his early death ever regretted by all who knew him.

Our friends dead, we are apt to extol their virtues, but of Ned Casey it can be truly said that well merited praise overtook him before the grave.

Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.E. J. McClernand,

Captain Second Cavalry.

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