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Bill Thayer

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[image ALT: A photograph, three-quarters right, of a young man with a drooping mustache and a serious air, wearing a very plain jacket with an epaulet of rank on either shoulder. He is Loyd Stone McCormick, a West Point graduate whose career is detailed on this webpage.]

Loyd Stone McCormick

The preceding image, and the text that follows, are reproduced from (the report of the) Sixtieth Annual Reunion of the Association of the Graduates of the United States Military Academy, June 12, 1929.

 p231  Loyd Stone McCormick
No. 2630 Class of 1876
Died October 14, 1928,
at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, aged 74 years.

Loyd Stone McCormick was born at Beverly, Ohio, November 18, 1854. His father was a Methodist preacher — a circuit rider — living at Marietta, Ohio, in 1872, when McCormick, then a student at Marietta College, received his appointment to the Military Academy. The elder McCormick, in the performance of his clerical duties, traveled over his circuit in a buggy; he knew a good horse and always owned one or more. McCormick inherited the horse instinct and from the beginning determined to be a cavalry­man. Upon graduation he was assigned as 2nd Lieutenant to the 10th Cavalry to date the 15th of June, 1876. On the 25th of June, 1876, Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Custer's fight with the Sioux Indians on the Little Big Horn, Montana Territory occurred. On the 15th of June only one vacancy existed in the 7th Cavalry, to which the writer was assigned. The fatalities in the regiment promoted him and left twelve vacancies in the grade of second lieutenant. Certain second lieutenants were transferred from other Cavalry Regiments to these vacancies, but, through regimental esprit, and for other reasons, with three exceptions, these transfers were declined. Whereupon six members of the Class of 1876 were transferred (to date the 26th of June) to the Seventh Cavalry, namely, Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.J. C. Gresham, Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.H. L. Scott, L. S. McCormick, Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.A. J. Russell, Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.H. G. Sickel, and H. J. Slocum,​a carrying with them the strong bond of friend and comrade established during cadet days which continued unbroken through the many years of intimate association under the old system of regimental promotion.

McCormick joined the regiment at Fort Abraham Lincoln, Dakota Territory (the first Fort Lincoln on the west bank of the Missouri River, five miles south of Bismarck) and was assigned to Troop L, the Captain, M. V. Sheridan, and the First Lieutenant, Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Charles Braden, being absent. Troop L was one of the troops with Custer on the 25th of June, and was practically wiped out of existence. Upon McCormick fell the responsibility of re‑organizing and straightening out records and property responsibility.

On the 3rd of April, 1877, the Regiment left Fort Abraham Lincoln to report to Colonel N. A. Miles, commanding the Middle District, for duty in the Yellowstone region, Sitting Bull and many of his followers still being "off their reservation" with hostile intent.

Toward the end of May the weather was very inclement, with very heavy and continuous rain storms, winding up early in June with a severe snow storm. McCormick became ill with pleurisy, or pneumonia, which necessitated his transfer to a steamboat which fortunately  p232 passed down the Yellowstone en route to Fort Abraham Lincoln. He was absent on sick leave until the 27th of October, 1877, when he joined the regiment on the upper Missouri River and served with his troop until the conclusion of the field operations the latter part of November when the Regiment rejoined its station, Fort Abraham Lincoln. He was promoted to 1st Lieutenant, Troop D, on the 3rd of May, 1878, and served with the Regiment in the field operations in the vicinity of the Black Hills and south into Nebraska from a permanent camp established at Bear Butte, near the present location of Fort Meade, S. D., returning to Standing Rock Agency upon conclusion of the field operations at the end of November. He was transferred to Troop C in June, 1879, and accompanied that part of the Regiment which proceeded to Fort Meade, took station and assisted in the completion of the construction of that Post. In 1885 he was ordered to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, to take the course at the Army Service Schools from which he graduated in 1887, and joined his Troop at Fort Riley, Kansas, September, 1887. In the spring of 1887, McCormick married, in Leavenworth, Kansas, Jane, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Percival G. Lowe, of that city. The union proved especially harmonious and happy, disturbed only by the loss of their only child, a boy four years old, who died from diphtheria at Fort Riley, Kansas.

He was appointed Regimental Adjutant by Colonel Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.James W. Forsyth on the 14th of September, 1887, and served in that important position until the 13th of September, 1891.

At that period the appointment of Regimental Adjutant was regarded as a distinction; it carried with it a Captain's pay and evidenced an appreciation of the ability and soldierly qualities of the appointee by the Colonel. McCormick was present with that part of the Regiment which went from Fort Riley, Kansas, to the Pine Ridge Agency, South Dakota, in the fall of 1890, and participated in the engagement at Wounded Knee, P. O., on the 29th of December, 1890. McCormick received his promotion as Captain on the 17th of July, 1895. In 1895 he accompanied the Regiment to Arizona and took station at Fort Grant. The Seventh Cavalry not being assigned for duty with the 5th Army Corps designated for service in Cuba in 1898, McCormick applied for duty with that Corps and was assigned to the 1st U. S. Voluntary Cavalry (Rough Riders); participated in the fight at Las Guasimas, Cuba, on the 2nd of June, 1898; was awarded a silver star for gallantry in that action; participated in the attack on San Juan Ridge on the first of July, 1898, and subsequent operations against Santiago; was awarded a silver star for gallantry in the action on the 1st of July, 1898. McCormick served with his Regiment, 7th Cavalry, at camps in the South from September, 1898, to January, 1899, and in Cuba at Pinar del Rio and Columbia Barracks to April, 1902. He served a short detail in the Commissary Department at Chicago, Illinois, and Fort Leavenworth,  p233 Kansas, 1902‑3. He was instructor in Hippology and Equitation, Infantry and Cavalry School, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, 1903‑5.

He received his promotion as Major on the 15th of April, 1903, and was assigned to the 7th Cavalry. In March, 1905, he accompanied his Regiment to the Philippine Islands; served at Fort William McKinley and Camp McGrath until April 1907. He was detailed in the Inspector General's Department on the 3rd of June, 1907, and served in that Department until the 31st of July, 1914, as Assistant at Headquarters Department of the Missouri, Omaha, Nebraska, until the 6th of November, 1907; as Assistant Headquarters Department of the East, Governor's Island, N. Y., from November, 1907, to the 30th of June, 1909; in the Office of the Inspector General, War Department, from July, 1909, to the 30th of July, 1911.

McCormick received his promotion as Lieutenant Colonel on the 3rd of March, 1911, and Colonel on the 25th of September, 1911. He returned to the Philippines in the fall of 1911 and served at the Headquarters of the Philippine Department, Manila, on the staff of Major General Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.J. F. Bell until the 7th of March, 1914, when he returned to the United States and applied for retirement after forty years of service.

After retirement McCormick lived for a short period in Portland, Oregon, then in San Francisco, where his wife died in 1917. He then returned East, applied for active duty and was assigned to command the Remount Station at Front Royal, Virginia. He was relieved at his own request on the 25th of June, 1918, and went to live in Leavenworth, Kansas. During 1925, he underwent two surgical operations, one a major operation, in the Fort Leavenworth Hospital. Subsequently he developed what he thought to be severe bronchitis. He was for a time in the Walter Reed Hospital, Washington, D. C., again in the Hospital at Fort Leavenworth, and later went to the Mayo's, Rochester, Minnesota, where they told him they could do nothing for him and that he would probably pass away suddenly. He returned to Leavenworth and was permitted to occupy a vacant apartment at Fort Leavenworth by the Commanding Officer.

On the 14th of October, 1928, he played eighteen holes of golf, returned to his quarters and was never seen again alive. Not appearing the next morning, as was his usual habit, the door of his apartment was forced and he was found lying on the floor, fully dressed with life extinct; the end had come suddenly with little or no warning, probably the result of an attack of angina.

Under a veneer of pessimism, which was really not so thick as one who did not know him well was apt to conclude, there was a loyal, generous heart. The writer lived with McCormick for a short time as a cadet and for several years after he joined the 7th Cavalry, a good deal of the time occupying the same room, for in those days of good  p234 comrade­ship in the old Regiment, bachelors did not exercise their right of selection of quarters if it should deprive a married officer of suitable quarters, so there was much doubling up at the frontier posts of that period. When stationed at different posts or living in separate places, subsequent to retirement, McCormick and the writer kept up a correspondence, consequently, the writer knew him as well as it is possible for one man to know another. He loathed pretense and hypocrisy; had a high sense of honor; was correct in his habits of life; was a loyal, enduring friend, a good comrade and a most devoted husband. In the writer's opinion, "Old Mike," as he was affectionately known in the 7th Cavalry, never intentionally did injury to man, woman or child. He did not have the suave manner of the courtier, nor the velvet gloved hand of the diplomat, but he did have the forthright character of the plain, honest man.

Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.E. A. Garlington

Thayer's Note:

a Herbert J. Slocum was not a graduate: he entered the Military Academy on July 1, 1872 but was found deficient in his First-Class year and resigned.

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Page updated: 24 Dec 14