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Bill Thayer

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The text that follows is reproduced from (the report of the) Twenty-Eighth Annual Reunion of the Association of the Graduates of the United States Military Academy, June 10th, 1897.

 p32  Richard C. Gatlin
No. 696. Class of 1832.
Died, September 8, 1896, at Mt. Nebo, Arkansas, aged 88.

General R. C. Gatlin was born in Lenoir County, N. C., January 18th, 1809. He was the son of John Gatlin and his wife, Susan, the daughter of Caswell, the first Governor of the State of North Carolina. He entered the Military Academy at West Point as a cadet July 1, 1828, and graduated July 1, 1832, when he was appointed a brevet Second Lieutenant in the Seventh Infantry, then stationed at Fort Gibson. He joined the regiment in December, 1832, and served with it on the southwestern frontier until February 7, 1839, when he accompanied it to Florida, arriving at Tampa Bay in March. He had been promoted to be a Second Lieutenant in 1834, First Lieutenant in 1836, and was appointed Adjutant of the Seventh Infantry in 1838. He served in Florida until the close of the Seminole War in 1842. In 1845 he accompanied the regiment to Corpus Christi, where it became part of the Army of Observation under General Taylor. In September, 1845, he was promoted to be Captain. He served  p33 in Fort Brown during its bombardment by the Mexican troops, from the 3rd to the 9th of May, and was engaged at the battle of Monterey, in which he was wounded, and for gallant and good conduct he was breveted a Major in the United States Army. In consequence of his wounds he was sent to his home to recruit his health.

In January, 1848, he joined his company in the city of Mexico. After the Mexican War he served with his company at Jefferson Barracks, also in Florida, and again on the southwestern frontier, commanding Fort Smith from 1852 to 1857; then in Utah and New Mexico, when he commanded Fort Craig. He was promoted to be a Major in the Fifth Infantry in February, 1861, and resigned his commission in the United States Army May 20, 1861, after which he went to North Carolina and was appointed a Brigadier-General of North Carolina troops and assigned command of the coast defenses of Wilmington. He exercised this command until the 31st of August, 1861, when the North Carolina troops were transferred to the Confederate service, where he was appointed a Brigadier-General C. S. A., and assigned to the command of the Department of North Carolina. He was relieved from the command on account of ill health in March, 1862, and resigned September 6. In 1863 he was appointed Adjutant-General of North Carolina, which office he held till the close of the war in 1865. He then came to Arkansas and settled on the farm opposite Van Buren in January, 1866, where he remained until 1880, when he moved to Fort Smith.

General Gatlin was a member of the "Cincinnati," a society instituted by the officers of the regular army after the Revolutionary War and kept up since that time by their military descendants. he was also a member of the "Aztecs," a similar organization of surviving officers of the Mexican War. His brother, Dr. Gatlin, was killed in the Seminole War.

General Gatlin's first wife died and was buried in this city in 1852.

On the 20th of January, 1857, General Gatlin married Mary  p34 A. Gibson, daughter of R. S. and Sarah P. Gibson, of Sebastian County. They had seven children, one of whom, Richard, died several years ago. Susan Caswell Corley, wife of John E. Corley, and Mary Knox Gatlin, the youngest daughter, still survive, and, with Mr. Corley, were at the bedside of the General when he passed away. His devoted wife was also with him.

Fort Smith Elevator.

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Page updated: 13 Nov 13