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Bill Thayer

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The text that follows is reproduced from (the report of the) Thirty-First Annual Reunion of the Association of the Graduates of the United States Military Academy, June 12th, 1900.

 p141  Albert J. Russell
No. 2633. Class of 1876.
Died, April 15, 1900, at Sierra Madre, California, aged 48.

News of the death of Albert J. Russell, though not unexpected, shocked and grieved the hearts of many friends, who, suddenly recalling his gentle, sympathetic nature, kind, cordial manner, winning smile, contagious laugh and sterling character, felt keen regret that "Old Andy" should never more be seen, his honest hand never more be clasped.

Born at Wayne, Ohio, in 1852, he was appointed from Connecticut to the Military Academy, and on graduating, in 1876, was assigned to the Tenth Cavalry. But, like a good soldier, wishing greater opportunities of usefulness and distinction, he accepted a few days later, transfer to the Seventh Cavalry, which was hotly engaged in a great Indian war, and had on the 25th of June lost half of its officers and men.​a

Till disabled by disease, he bore a faithful and cheerful part in all the campaigns of that active regiment, and in 1877 saw his first fight at Canon Creek, Montana. From 1881 to his retirement as Captain in 1896, though suffering much from ill health, he strove to keep at work, and despite painful surgical operations for calculus and extended sick leaves, showed himself in many different capacities an officer of great value.

His earnest efforts to get active service in the Spanish war proved that, however weak in body, he was strong and true in spirit, and that his soldierly virtues had withstood the siege, so long and trying, of his fatal malady.

He died near Pasadena, California, whither, worn and weary, he had gone in quest of health. Racked by disease, life had become "as tedious as a twice-told tale vexing the dull ear of a drowsy man," and he might have cried out:

"Night hangs upon mine enemies, my bones would rest,

That have but labored to attain this hour."

West Point was among his last thoughts; "classmates" among his last words.


Thayer's Note:

a At the Battle of the Little Bighorn — Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Custer's Last Stand.

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Page updated: 12 Jul 20