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Bill Thayer

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The text that follows is reproduced from (the report of the) Third Annual Reunion of the Association of the Graduates of the United States Military Academy, June 14th, 1872.

 p25  Lewis G. Arnold
No. 900 — Class of 1837.
Died September 22d, 1871, at South Boston, Mass.: Aged 55.

Lieutenant-Colonel Lewis G. Arnold, U. S. Army, who died in South Boston, Mass., Sept. 22, 1871, was appointed a cadet in 1833 from the State of New Jersey, graduated in 1837, and was attached to the Second Artillery, with which he served in the Florida war of 1837‑8, in the Cherokee country in 1838‑9, and on the Canada frontier in 1840‑41,​a during the border disturbances occasioned by the Canadian rebellion of 1837‑40.

In 1846 he accompanied his regiment to Mexico, and was engaged on the southern line of operations under General Scott, being present at the siege of Vera Cruz, in which he was slightly wounded; in the battles of Cerro Gordo and Amozoque; the capture of San Antonio; and the battle of Churubusco. In the last-named battle he led his company with conspicuous gallantry, and in the storming of the tête-de‑pont was severely wounded.

His service in Mexico was marked by uniform good conduct and gallantry, and at the close of the war two brevets were conferred upon him for his services in battle, that of Captain for the battles of Contreras and Churubusco, that of Major for the battle of Chapultepec. He afterward served in Florida again, and was present in some minor actions with the Indians of that Territory.

The outbreak of the Rebellion in 1861 found Major Arnold at Dry Tortugas, from which he was soon transferred with his command to Fort Pickens. On the 9th of October​b the rebel forces crossed over from the mainland, and attacked the troops encamped on Santa Rosa Island. The attack was repulsed, and the enemy, being followed up by a force detached for the purpose the next morning under the command of Major Arnold, recrossed to the mainland.

 p26  In the successive bombardments of Fort Pickens, which followed in November, January, and May, Major Arnold, as executive officer of the work, distinguished himself by his energy, judgment, and gallantry. In recognition of the value of his services on these occasions, he was brevetted a Lieutenant-Colonel, to date from November 22, 1861, appointed a Brigadier-General of Volunteers, to date from January 24, 1862, and assigned to the command of the department of Florida, with his headquarters first at Fort Pickens and afterward at Pensacola.

On the 1st of October, 1862, he was placed in command of the forces at New Orleans and Algiers, Louisiana, which command he retained until November 10, when, while on parade, he was disabled by a stroke of paralysis, from which he never recovered.

Thus suddenly terminated a career full of bright promise for the future. Those who knew him felt that the Union cause had lost one of its able soldiers and devoted supporters, whose knowledge — the result of experience as well as of study — could ill be spared at such a time. All hope of his recovery having been abandoned, he was retired from active service February 24, 1864, being Lieutenant-Colonel of the Second Artillery "on account of disability resulting from long and faithful service, and of disease contracted in the line of duty."

General Arnold, a loving husband, a devoted father, and a true-hearted man, was eminently a soldier. Brave, honorable, high-minded, just, and a strict disciplinarian, he was respected and valued by his superiors, honored and beloved by his men.

In 1843 he married Julia, daughter of the late Major Allen Lowd, U. S. Army, whose efficiency and gallantry while in command of the Artillery at Fort Brown opened the Mexican war under the most brilliant auspices. He leaves a widow and five children. His eldest son, Lieutenant L. A. Arnold, late of the First Infantry, died in 1867 at New Orleans Barracks, a victim to yellow fever, contracted while administering to the wants of a plague-stricken garrison — a worthy descendant of true soldiers.

(Brevet Major-General Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Henry J. Hunt.)

Thayer's Notes:

a The dates of his tour of duty in Cherokee country and on the Canada border differ slightly from those given in Cullum's Register.

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b The fighting between the State of Florida and the Federal Government over the forts at Pensacola, and Major Arnold's part in it, is well described in "Civil War Operations in and around Pensacola" (FlaHQ 36:127‑144).

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Page updated: 19 Jan 14