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The following text is reproduced from (the report of the) Twenty-Third Annual Reunion of the Association of the Graduates of the United States Military Academy, June 9th, 1892.

 p76  John Withers
No. 1429. Class of 1849.
Died, February 3, 1892, in San Antonio, Texas, Aged 65.

There departed from this life on the 3d day of February, of this year, at San Antonio, Texas, a man as pure in life, as honest in purpose, as gentle and genial in disposition as ever falls to the  p77 character of poor mortals here below. His record on Cullum's Register of Officers and Graduates of the Military Academy reads as follows:


(Born Ten.)

John Withers

(Ap'd Mis.)


Military History:— Cadet at the Military Academy, July 1, 1844, to July 1, 1849, when he was graduated and promoted in the army to Brevet Second Lieutenant, Fifth Infantry, July 1, 1849.

Served: On frontier duty at Fort Gibson, Indian Territory, 1849‑50; in garrison at (Second Lieutenant Fourth Infantry, January 31, 1850.) Detroit Barracks, Michigan, 1850‑51; Fort Brady, Michigan, 1851‑52, and Fort Columbus, New York, 1852; on frontier duty at Benicia, California, 1852, Columbia Barracks, Washington, 1852‑53, and at Fort Vancouver, Washington, 1853‑54; as Quartermaster Fourth Infantry, September 30, 1853, to September 10, 1856,

First Lieutenant Fourth Infantry, July 31, 1854.

Constructing Umpqua Valley Road, Oregon, 1854, and at Fort Vancouver, Oregon, 1854‑55.

Brevet Captain Staff — Assistant Adjutant General, June 27, 1856.

As Assistant Adjutant-General of the Department of Texas, February 10, 1857, to June 10, 1859, and from December 21, 1859, to September 15, 1860; and as Assistant in the Adjutant General's Office at Washington, D. C., October 3, 1860, to March 1, 1861.

Resigned, Mar. 1, 1861.

Joined in the Rebellion of 1861‑66 against the United States.

Civil History:— Cashier of the National Bank, of San Antonio, Texas, from 1871 to 1892.

In those days regiments had Colonels on paper, but rarely a Colonel with his regiment. Newman S. Clark, Colonel of the Sixth Infantry, was the only infantry Colonel who turned up in the Mexican War, and he was left to keep house at Vera Cruz, but in the Fifth Infantry were such soldiers as Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Randolph B. Marcy, Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.William Chapman and Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Frederick Dent, and the memories of Martin Scott and Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Ephraimº Kirby Smith, lately killed at Molino del Rey were still fresh in the regiment, and the heroic deeds performed  p78 by the small, but powerful, regular army in the late Mexican war formed their topics of conversation at the mess table.

In 1852, Brevet Second-Lieutenant Withers became Second-Lieutenant Withers in the Fourth Infantry and served at Detroit, Michigan, and at Fort Brady, Michigan, until 1852, when the Fourth Infantry was concentrated at Fort Columbus, New York Harbor, and thence sailed by the Isthmus of Panama to California; Cholera broke out in the regiment and they were detained six weeks in camp on the Isthmus, and many men died; Captain John H. Gore was the only officer who succumbed to the dread disease. Lieutenant Withers was two years at Benicia Barracks; afterwards at Columbia Barracks and Vancouver. Lieutenant Withers was appointed Regimental Quartermaster of his Regiment September 30, 1853; was First Lieutenant July, 54; was engaged in building the Umpqua Valley Road in 1854, and was appointed a Brevet-Captain in the staff and Assistant Adjutant-General, June 27, 1856.

The Fourth Regiment of Infantry, at the period that Withers joined it, and during the time he served with it, contained a remarkable list of officers; the regiment lost nine officers killed in the Mexican War, the greatest number lost in any regiment engaged in that war. Major Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.George Wright was detailed to lead the forlorn hope of 500 men at the storming of Molino del Rey. Amongst the survivors, who after related their trials and triumphs of the Mexican War to Lieutenant Withers, were Captain Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Robert C. Buchanan, Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Benjamin Alvord, Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Christopher C. Augur and Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Ulysses S Grant; and amongst the Lieutenants were Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Philip H. Sheridan, Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.George Crook and Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Cadmus Wilcox. After Ulysses S. Grant became President of the United States, he found timber in the Fourth Infantry for four Brigadier-Generals in the United States Army.

Captain Withers was assistant Adjutant-General, Department of Texas, from February, '57 until September '60, when he was ordered to Washington for duty in the Adjutant-General's office, where he served until March 1, 1861, when he resigned his commission in the United States Army, and was appointed a  p79 Major in the Adjutant-General's Department of the Confederate Army. The following from the pen of Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Edward A. Palfrey, of New Orleans, a graduate of 1851, is in response to a letter of enquiry from me and is worthy of insertion:

"Your letter of the 19th instant reached me this morning. Col. Jno. Withers was appointed Major and Assistant Adjutant General, June 5, 1861, at Montgomery; removed with the Confederate Government to Richmond, where he held the same rank until December 10, 1863, when he was appointed Lieutenant-Colonel, and held that rank until the fall of Richmond in 1865. His service was altogether in the Adjutant and Inspector General's Department at Richmond; he was in charge of the office next after General Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Cooper; his relations with the President and Secretary of War were of an intimate character, as was necessarily the case from the position he held; his perfect familiarity with his duties, his untiring devotion to duty and his great system, were of very great value, and it is certain that it would have been very hard to replace him; besides all this he was so uniformly courteous that such a thing as friction in the conduct of the business of his office was unknown.

At the fall of Richmond Colonel Withers left the city with the Government; upon arriving at Danville, the news of the surrender of his army reached him; the Adjutant and Inspector General's offices were closed and Colonel Withers started for the Trans-Mississippi, was captured by Cavalry, Palmer's (W. J.) Division, at Athens, Georgia, was paroled, and proceeded thence to San Antonio.

I trust that this memorandum will serve you; his salient characteristics were a cool and determined courage, a quiet, painstaking devotion to such duties as were set before him, and a perfect integrity.

I am much pleased to hear from you, and hope that your memories of the association of our youth may be as pleasant as mine are. I am

Your old comrade,

Ed. A. Palfrey."

 p80  Colonel Withers married in San Antonio in June, 1857; his wife was Miss Anita Dwyer, the daughter of a very distinguished citizen of San Antonio, and who was connected with the exciting scenes that delivered Texas from Mexican rule and Indian terror. The cause of the Confederacy being lost, Colonel Withers returned to the home of his wife; he engaged in mercantile business with the late Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Thomas G. Williams, a classmate and a graduate of West Point, as a partner; their business was a success, but getting a call to the position of Cashier of the San Antonio National Bank, Colonel Withers accepted the position and most faithfully filled it up to the day of his death. This bank has been a very successful institution, and as the President of the bank spent much of his time away, the management fell largely on Colonel Withers. His integrity and his perfect amiability and good manners brought custom. The Colonel possessed a competency, but not riches, as matters go now-a‑days, but he was always foremost in public enterprises and benevolent movements; he was an active promoter of the Aransas Pass Railroad, was Treasurer of the San Antonio Club, President of St. Vincent de Paul Society, and was the trusted friend of the widow and the many who did not know what to do with their money; they always wanted John Withers to keep it for them.

Withers was an all-around man; his leading characteristic was cheerfulness; he was always ready with a good-natured joke, but, business requiring, he could stop the laugh and strike the key to business as quickly as any solemn money dealer; he was strictly pious and a constant attendant at church. We who knew him best, miss him as no words of mine can tell.

He left a wife and six children, four sons and two daughters; the eldest daughter is the wife of Captain John L. Bullis, Twenty-Fourth Infantry, well known for his services on the Indian frontier; the youngest daughter is not yet grown; the boys are all single and engaged in business.

Soldier, merchant, banker, companion, friend and christian, he was worthy of his Alma Mater, and added in his life another  p81 unit to the great mass of solid characters which make the glory of our Academy.

D. S. Stanley

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