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Bill Thayer

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[image ALT: A head-and‑shoulders drawing, looking something like a photograph, of a man in a 19c U. S. Army uniform. He has a rectangular to oval face with a high forehead, thin eyebrows, and wears a chevron mustache and a soul patch. He is Oliver P. Gooding, a West Point graduate whose career is detailed on this webpage.]

General Oliver P. Gooding.

The preceding image, and the text that follows, are reproduced from (the report of the) Forty-first Annual Reunion of the Association of the Graduates of the United States Military Academy, June 14th, 1910.

 p93  General Oliver Paul Gooding
No. 1821. Class of 1858.
Died, September 9, 1909, at Washington, D. C. aged 75.º

Oliver Paul Gooding was born the 29th day of January, 1835, in the Village of Moscow, Rush County, Indiana. In 1837 he moved with his parents to Greenfield, Hancock County, Indiana. At the age of eighteen, he entered the United States Military Academy, at West Point, New York, where he graduated in 1858. He was attached to the Fourth United States Infantry as Brevet Second Lieutenant, serving as such at Fort Columbus, New York Harbor. The 5th day of February, 1859, he was promoted to Second Lieutenancy in the Tenth United States Infantry, and joined that regiment at Fort Bridgerº, Utah Territory, in August of that year, and served on the expedition against the Mormons in 1859 and 1860. In 1861 he was ordered to the defense of Washington, D. C., and served in the war for the suppression of the great rebellion from 1861 till 1865.

During the war he held several important commands, among which was the Thirty-First Massachusetts Volunteers (converted into the Sixth Massachusetts Cavalry), which regiment he led as the advanced guard of the Union Army at the capture of New Orleans, the first day of May, 1862. On the Teche Campaign and the Fort Hudson Campaign, in 1863 he commanded the Third Brigade of the Third Division, Nineteenth Army Corps. In the Battle of Fort Bisland, or Battle of the Teche, as it is sometimes called, he commanded the Union Forces on the north bank of Bayou Teche, and captured an outwork of the enemy and some prisoners. The loss of life in his command was heavier and its success greater than that of all the rest of the Army, the brunt of the battle falling on his command. The battle was stopped by darkness, and the  p94 enemy abandoned his works and retreated during the night, and was pursued in the morning. At Port Hudson, General Gooding gallantly led his brigade in the terrible and bloody assaults made on the enemy's works on the 27th day of May, 1863, and the 14th day of June, 1863. His brigade suffered heavily. On the Red River Campaign, in 1864, he commanded the Fifth Brigade, Cavalry Division, Department of the Gulf, and at the end of that campaign was assigned to the command of the division. In command of the Union Troops at Campti, on the north bank of Red River, the 4th day of April, 1864, General Gooding, in a hotly contested cavalry action, defeated the enemy under General Siddell. At the Battle of Pleasant Hill, Louisiana, in command of his brigade, the 9th day of April, 1864, General Gooding gallantly fought and held the enemy in check till the Union Army came into position, his hat being shot off his head, the bullet grazing his scalp.

At the Battle of Kane River Crossing he commanded the advanced cavalry, and was highly complimented on the field by Major-General Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.William H. Emory, commanding Nineteenth Army Corps, for the able manner in which he handled his command and developed the enemy's position. On the retreat of the Union Army, he was constantly under fire with his brigade, covering either the flank or rear of the Army. While serving in the volunteer service, his promotion in the Regular Army went on to the rank of Captain, the 27th day of June, 1862, which regular rank he resigned on entering civil life in 1865. Entering the war as a Second Lieutenant of Regulars, by his own merits he rose to the rank of Major-General by Brevet of United States Volunteers, which last rank was conferred on him the 13th day of March, 1865, for, as his commission recited: "Gallant conduct in the assaults on the enemy's works at Port Hudson, Louisiana, in 1863, and gallant and distinguished conduct throughout the Red River Campaign, in 1864."

 p95  In the fall of 1865, he located in Washington, D. C., and resumed the study of the law, which he had commenced in the Regular Army before the war. He was admitted to the bar of the District of Columbia, the 4th day of January, 1866, and practiced law there till 1869, having in the meantime taken a trip to California, when he returned to his old home in Greenfield, Indiana, where he lived in retirement till February, 1874, when he located in St. Louis, Missouri, in the practice of law. In 1881 he was appointed General Attorney of the Insurance Department of Missouri.a General Gooding is the author of the new national anthem, America, the chorus of which is:

"Wave on, wave on! The old flag forever!"


Thayer's Note:

a For the sad details of the end of his life, see Washington Post, April 2, 1895.

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Page updated: 4 May 16