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Bill Thayer

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 [decorative delimiter] Class of 1806

Vol. I

(Born Mas.)

William Gates​1

(Ap'd Mas.)

Military History. — Cadet of the Military Academy from its organization​2 to Mar. 6, 1806, when he was graduated and promoted in the Army to

Second Lieut., Reg. of Artillerists, Mar. 6, 1806.

 p68  Served: in garrison at Atlantic Posts, 1806‑12; in the War of 1812‑15

(First Lieut., Reg. of Artillerists, Nov. 3, 1807)

with Great Britain, as Acting Adjutant of Reg. of Light Artillery, and Aide-de‑Camp to Bvt. Brig.‑General Moses Porter, 1813, being engaged

(Captain, Reg. of Artillerists, Mar. 3, 1813)

in the Capture of York (now Toronto), U. C., Apr. 27, 1813, — Bombardment and Capture of Ft. George, U. C., May 27, 1813, — and in command of Ft. Independence, Mas., 1813‑15; in garrison at Ft. Niagara,

(Transferred to Corps of Artillery, May 12, 1814)

N. Y., 1815‑20, — Sackett's Harbor, N. Y., 1820‑21, — Plattsburg, N. Y., 1821‑24, — Ft. La­fayette, N. Y., 1824‑26, — Ft. Columbus, N. Y.,

(Captain, 2d Artillery,
in Re-organization of Army, June 1, 1821)

(Bvt. Major, Mar. 3, 1823, for Faithful Service Ten Years in one Grade)

1826‑27, — Ft. McHenry, Md., 1827, — Ft. Marion, Fla., 1827‑29, — Ft. Moultrie, S. C., 1829, — Ft. Marion, Fla., 1829‑32, — Ft. Monroe, Va. (Major of Artillery School for Practice), 1832, — Charleston harbor, S. C., 1832‑33, during South Carolina's threatened nullification, — Ft. Moultrie,

(Major, 1st Artillery, May 30, 1832)

S. C., 1833‑35, — and Ft. Washington, Md., 1835‑36; in the Florida War, 1836, 1837‑38,​a and was engaged against the Seminole Indians in Defense of Ft. Barnwell (Volusia), Apr. 12, 1836, and Combat of Locha-Hatchee,

(Major, 2d Artillery, Aug. 4, 1836)

(Lieut.‑Colonel, 3d Artillery, Dec. 17, 1836)

Jan. 24, 1838; in the Cherokee Nation, 1838, while transferring the Indians to the West; in the Florida War, 1839‑41, 1841‑42; in garrison at Ft. Pickens, Fla., 1842, — Ft. Moultrie, S. C., 1842‑43, — Savannah, Ga., 1843‑44, — and Ft. Moultrie, S. C., 1844‑45, 1845‑46; in the War with Mexico, 1846‑48, as Governor of Tampico, Mexico; in garrison

(Colonel, 3d Artillery, Oct. 13, 1845)

at Ft. Adams, R. I., 1848‑53; on voyage to California, 1853, but returned to New York on being wrecked in the steamer San Francisco, Dec. 24, 1853;​b in waiting orders, 1854‑61; on leave of absence, 1861‑63; in command of Ft. Trumbull, Ct., 1863‑64, — and of Ft. Constitution, N. H., 1865‑67.

Retired from Active Service, June 1, 1863, under the Law of July 17, 1862,
"having been borne on the Army Register more than 45 Years."

Bvt. Brig.‑General, U. S. Army, Mar. 13, 1865, for Long and Faithful Service in the Army.

Died, Oct. 7, 1868, at New York city: Aged 80.

Buried, Cypress Hills National Cemetery, Brooklyn, NY.

The Author's Notes:

1 Was the son of Capt. Lemuel Gates, of the regiment of Artillerists and Engineers, who died in 1806.

Thayer's Note: One of his own sons, in turn, was an Academy graduate — Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Collinson Gates.

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2 Was then a Cadet of Artillerists and Engineers, receiving instruction at the post of West Point, N. Y., under the law of 1794 and subsequent acts of Congress.

Thayer's Notes:

a Not mentioned in the Register, but I find online (Army and Navy Chronicle, Vol. IV p237) that Maj. Gates was tried by court martial in 1837, for failure to attempt the repulse of Seminoles in inferior numbers, and failure to retrieve two wounded enlisted men of his command, who subsequently died and were hacked to pieces by the enemy: in what order, I've been unable to discover. He was acquitted; the proceedings were published that same year by J. Narine, printer at New York.

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b He was one of the lucky ones; this was a very bad wreck, and coverage of it filled the newspapers for weeks. Interesting accounts are given by several of the survivors in The New York Times, Jan. 16, 1854. It includes details of Col. Gates' disappointing conduct.

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Page updated: 4 May 16