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Bill Thayer

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[image ALT: A head-and‑shoulders photograph, three-quarters right, of a man in his thirties, with an oval to triangular face, short wavy hair and a mustache. He is wearing a plain high-collared military tunic with epaulets, the United States Army dress uniform of the early twentieth century. His expression is noble, somewhat fierce and sad as well. He is Capt. Anton Springer, a West Point graduate whose obituary is transcribed on this webpage.]

Anton Springer.

The preceding image, and the text that follows, are reproduced from (the report of the) Thirty-Third Annual Reunion of the Association of the Graduates of the United States Military Academy, June 9th, 1902.

 p45  Anton Springer
No. 3664. Class of 1888.
Killed in action, June 10, 1901, at Lipa, Luzon, Philippine Islands, aged 30.

Anton Springer was born at Marseilles, France, January 29, 1871, and was 30 years and 4 months old at the time of his death. He came from a distinguished French and German ancestry. His mother died soon after his birth. His father, Anton Springer, senior, came to this country in 1875 and made his home at Rome, New York. Here Anton, junior, spent his childhood and youth under the care of his aunt, Mrs. Rodner.

After graduating from Rome Academy, he entered Cornell University, class of 1892. While in college he became a member of the Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity. He left Cornell before  p46 the completion of his course to accept an appointment to the United States Military Academy, West Point, entering June 17, 1891. He was graduated June 12, 1895, and was commissioned Second Lieutenant in the Twenty-first Infantry.

While a cadet at the Military Academy, Springer distinguished himself in athletics, particularly in horizontal bar work, sprinting, and as half-back on the football team. His brilliant football work was cut short by breaking his leg in a game.

He was one of the most popular of the cadets of his time at the Military Academy. He was a strong character and was recognized as a man of excellent judgment in all class matters.

He served with his regiment at Plattsburg Barracks, New York, from September, 1895, to April, 1898.

In September, 1897, he married Miss Mary E. Walworth, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Hiram Walworth, of Plattsburg, New York, who with a daughter Cornelia, survive him.

Upon the breaking out of the war with Spain he accompanied his regiment to Tampa, Florida, April and May, 1898, and to Cuba with the expeditionary corps, where he participated in the entire Santiago campaign, June and July, 1898, returning with his regiment to Montauk Point, New York, August, 1898.

He served with his regiment again at Plattsburg Barracks, October, 1898, to April, 1899, when he accompanied it to the Philippines where he served with it to the date of his death, June 10, 1901.

He was recommended by a Board of Officers (convened by Special Orders 255, Headquarters of the Army, Adjutant-General's office, Washington, 1898) for Brevet First Lieutenant, United States Army, for gallantry at Santiago de Cuba, July 1, 1898.

He was promoted to First Lieutenant August, 1898.

He participated in skirmishes around Calamba, Philippine Islands, from August 9, 1898, to December 28, 1898.

He was commended by General McKibben, in 1898, for  p47 perfect conduct, courage, and fortitude in battle, especially worthy of recognition.

In 1899 he again earned a brevet promotion. On this occasion he was recommended by General Lawton for brevet Captain, United States Army, for gallantry under fire at Guadeloupe Ridge and near Zapote River, June, 1899.

He was taken sick while in the Philippines and a strong effort was made by his relatives and friends to have him ordered back to the United States, but he preferred to remain with his regiment, notifying the War Department that his friends were unduly worried.

He was promoted Captain, United States Army, March, 1901.

While leading his men in an action at Lipa, Philippine Islands, June 10, 1901, he was killed.

The official summary of this fight is as follows. (Annual Reports of the War Department for the year ending June 30, 1901, page 71.)

"June 10, 1901. — Detachments of band and Company D, Twenty-first Infantry, numbering forty-five men, under Captain Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.William H. Wilhelm, with First Lieutenants Anton Springer and Charles R. Ramsay, Twenty-first Infantry, and Second Lieutenant Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Walter H. Lee, Corps of Engineers, encounter a large force of insurgents, estimated at 500, in Barrio, Sulac, near Lipa, Luzon, P. I. Americans burn five cuartels. Casualties: American — Captain Wilhelm, Lieutenant Ramsay and three men wounded; Lieutenants Springer and Lee one Corporal and one native scout killed; insurgent unknown. All available men in Lipa are sent out in pursuit, but the insurgents disperse before their arrival at the scene of the conflict. It is believed that the insurgents comprised General Malvar's main force, with ten American deserters, under Colonel Del Macio Hernandez, former insurgent presidente of Santo Tomas, Luzon, P. I."

Captain Springer was a member of the Masonic lodge at Rome, New York, and belonged to the Society of Santiago and the Society of Foreign Wars.

 p48  In his death the country has lost one of its most gallant sons; the Army one of its best officers; and the class one of its most beloved members.

The place of burial is at Rome, New York.


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Page updated: 7 Jan 16