Short URL for this page:

[image ALT: Much of my site will be useless to you if you've got the images turned off!]
Bill Thayer

[image ALT: Cliccare qui per una pagina di aiuto in Italiano.]

[Link to a series of help pages]
[Link to the next level up]
[Link to my homepage]
This site is not affiliated with the US Military Academy.
[decorative delimiter]

[image ALT: A head‑and-shoulders photograph of a young man with a full head of thick wavy hair; he is clean-shaven except for a small handlebar moustache. He wears a very plain military uniform with a high-collared jacket on which can be seen a pair of crossed rifles and 'U. S.'. He is Charles Berard Vogdes, a West Point graduate, whose career is detailed on this webpage.]

Major Charles Berard Vogdes

The preceding image, and the text that follows, are reproduced from (the report of the) Fifty-Fourth Annual Reunion of the Association of the Graduates of the United States Military Academy, June 11, 1923.

 p114  Charles Berard Vogdes
No. 2870. Class of 1880.
Died, December 15, 1922, at San Diego, California, aged 66 years.

Charles Berard Vogdes was the son of Brevet Brigadier General Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Israel Vogdes and Georgiana Berard Vogdes. His father, a distinguished artillery officer, was on the active list of the United States  p115 Army for forty-three years and for fourteen years Assistant Professor of Mathematics at the United States Military Academy. His maternal grandfather was Claudius Berard, for years Professor of French at the same institution. An ancestress was Anne Wayne, sister of General Anthony Wayne so famous in the Revolutionary War.

Major Vogdes was born at Key West, Florida, July 31, 1856. He entered West Point in September, 1876, graduated June 12, 1880, and was assigned to the 1st Infantry. His first service was frontier duty at the mouth of the Rio Pecos, Texas, October 20, 1880, to March 20, 1881, after which he was at Fort Davis, Texas, and camp near Presidio del Norte, Texas, until May 1, 1882. The summer of 1882 found him in camp near Clifton and on the Gila River in Arizona. He then went to Fort Grant, Arizona, for a month, afterward he took a long leave of absence. Fort Verde was his next post, and on February 14, 1885, he was transferred to Whipple Barracks, Arizona. From April to August, 1886, he was on leave of absence, and on August 14th he joined his regiment at Angel Island, California. In October, 1887, he went to the Presidio of San Francisco and in September, 1888, to Alcatraz Island, returning in April, 1889, to the Presidio of San Francisco, whence in July, 1889, he moved to Monterey, California. He received his First Lieutenancy in March of that year. He remained in the Department of California until July, 1893, when he was detailed as Professor of Military Science and Tactics at the State University, Iowa, where he remained until 1897, returning then to the Department of California.

The Spanish War took him to Cuba with his regiment and he participated in the Battle of El Caney and was in the trenches in front of Santiago until the surrender. In April, 1898, he had become a Captain. He went to Pinar del Rio, Cuba, and remained there until November, 1899, serving from May to November of that year as Regimental Quartermaster. For the next two years he was on general recruiting service at Knoxville, Tennessee, and from November, 1901, to December, 1902, Acting Quartermaster, U. S. Transport McClellan. In December, 1902, he was detailed to the Quartermaster Department and was Constructing Quartermaster, Fort Meade, South Dakota, until February, 1904, being retained there for a time after his retirement.

On October 15, 1903, much against his will, he was placed on the retired list as a Major for disability in the line of duty. Notwithstanding his retirement, he applied for active service and was detailed on general recruiting service, June 2, 1904, until June 25, 1906, with station at Santa Fé, New Mexico, and Fargo, North Dakota. In September, 1906, he settled at Lemon Grove in the vicinity of San Diego, California, and devoted himself to fruit farming. During the World War he was Acting Military Instructor at Pomona College, California,  p116 October 1, 1917, to February 20, 1918; Professor of Military Science and Tactics, February 21 to September 13, 1918; Commanding Students' Army Training Corps, September 13 to December 27, 1918; and Professor of Military Science and Tactics, December 27, 1918, to August, 1920.

When Charley Vogdes entered the Military Academy he was a tall, very thin, awkward boy and for a long time was not valued at his true merit. Soldiering came hard to him and he was never a cadet officer, but nevertheless he had a great love for the military profession. People often underrated him, but those who knew him best realized what a fine character he was, how honorable and with what integrity and sense of duty. One could always depend on Charley. Twenty years later his classmates found him a fine upstanding man with little trace of the slender cadet they remembered. His army record was a most creditable one and his great regret was his enforced retirement from the service.

During the World War he did his part in the training of young men. One of his friends writes:

"It was not until after Major Vogdes' death that anyone realized how much he meant to the boys who served under him during the World War. Then the letters came telling of the help, encouragement, and good councilº he had given to these boys. Boys who came with almost bitterness in their hearts against being called to arms stayed to learn the love of service to one's flag, to feel that they were giving the greatest thing they had to give to the greatest call of all — their country. Boys that came treating it all as a joke stayed to learn that reverence that only love of an ideal can bring. To the man in earnest there was always help and encouragement — to the man in need there was a friend generously provided through friends, and many a man stayed not only to finish his college education, but to have embedded in his mind that sacred duty — the guarding of one's flag and country."

Another said:

"I have deemed it an honor to have known and loved the Major, to have in some small way patterned my life after his. My children shall be taught from their earliest childhood to love their country and to deem it an honor to be called to defend their flag, and they shall be told of the man that not only gave me my chance of a college education, but who gave me my chance to know what love of country means and to know that forever it stands above all else."

And yet another:

"You little realize what knowing the Major has meant to me. He was always so unassuming, going about in his quiet way, doing good things that so few will ever know of. I truly believe that it can be said of him that the life of no man was hurt by his having lived, and after all is this not greater than a few great deeds that so often cover over the smaller harms? And so while the flag floats over the campus at half-mast all this week, speaking to us of a life that has been well lived, and as the soft breeze flutters it above our heads, we shall think of him as gone before to lead the way even as he guided us here, as one departed, his duty done."

He was married, May 26, 1886, at Chicago, Illinois, to Harriet Putnam Hawkes, a daughter of Henri Fitch Hawkes of Chicago, who  p117 survives him. He leaves two children, Frances Marion, wife of Major John Lee Holcombe of the Coast Artillery, and Blanch Berard, wife of Stewart C. Kendall of San Diego, who served with the American Expeditionary Force in France during the World War.

Major Vogdes died suddenly of heart disease. His was an unostentatious life, full of duty well performed and kindness to others — a precious heritage to his children.

J. W. B.

[image ALT: Valid HTML 4.01.]

Page updated: 15 Jan 18