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 [decorative delimiter] Class of 1843

Vol. II

(Born N. Y.)

John J. Peck

(Ap'd N. Y.)


John James Peck: Born Jan. 4, 1821, Manlius, NY.

Military History. — Cadet at the Military Academy, July 1, 1839, to July 1, 1843, when he was graduated and promoted in the Army to

Bvt. Second Lieut., 2d Artillery, July 1, 1843.

Served: in garrison at Ft. Columbus, N. Y., 1843‑44, — and Ft. Hamilton, N. Y., 1844‑45; in Military Occupation of Texas, 1845‑46; in the

(Second Lieut., 2d Artillery, Apr. 16, 1846)

War with Mexico, 1846‑48, being engaged in the Battle of Palo Alto, May 8, 1846, — Battle of Resaca-de‑la‑Palma, May 9, 1846, — Battle of Monterey, Sep. 21‑23, 1846, — Siege of Vera Cruz, Mar. 9‑29, 1847,

(First Lieut., 2d Artillery, Mar. 3, 1847)

— Battle of Cerro Gordo, Apr. 17‑18, 1847, — Skirmish of Amazoque, May 14, 1847, — Capture of San Antonio, Aug. 20, 1847, — Battle of

(Bvt. Captain, Aug. 20, 1847, for Gallant and Meritorious Conduct
in the Battles of Contreras and Churubusco, Mex.)

Churubusco, Aug. 20, 1847, — Battle of Molino del Rey, Sep. 8, 1847, —

(Bvt. Major, Sep. 8, 1847,
for Gallant and Meritorious Conduct in the Battle of Molino del Rey, Mex.)

Storming of Chapultepec, Sep. 13, 1847, — Assault and Capture of the City of Mexico, Sep. 13‑14, 1847; on Recruiting service, 1848; on frontier duty, on the march from Jefferson Barracks, Mo., to New Mexico, 1849, — Santa Fé, N. M., 1849, — Scouting, 1849, being engaged against the Navajo Indians in the Skirmish of Tuni Cha, N. M., Aug. 31, 1849, — and at Santa Fé, N. M., 1849‑50; on Recruiting service, 1851‑52; and on leave of absence, 1852‑53.

Resigned, Mar. 31, 1853.

Civil History. — Treasurer of projected Railroad from New York to Syracuse, via Newburg, N. Y., 1853‑57. Cashier of Burnet Bank, Syracuse, N. Y., 1853‑66. President of the Board of Education, Syracuse, N. Y., 1859‑61. Delegate to the Democratic Convention for the Nomination of President, at Cincinnati, O., 1856, — and at Charleston, S. C., 1860.

Military History. — Served during the Rebellion of the Seceding States, 1861‑65: in the Defenses of Washington, D. C., Aug., 1861, to

(Brig.‑General, U. S. Volunteers, Aug. 9, 1861)

Mar., 1862; in the Virginia Peninsular Campaign (Army of the Potomac), Mar. to July, 1862, being engaged in the Siege of Yorktown, Apr. 5 to May 4, 1862, — Battle of Williamsburg, May 5, 1862, — Battle of Fair Oaks, May 31 to June 1, 1862, — and Operations of the Seven Days' Change of Base to the James River, June 26 to July 2, 1862; in the Defenses of

(Major-General, U. S. Volunteers, July 4, 1862)

Yorktown, July to Sep., 1862; in Operations against Suffolk, Va., Sep., 1862, to June, 1863, being engaged in the Defense of Suffolk, Apr. 10 to May 4, 1863, in numerous Skirmishes and Demonstrations, and the Removal of 40 miles of railroad track; on sick leave of absence, having been seriously injured at Suffolk, Apr. to Aug., 1863; in command in North Carolina, Aug. 14, 1863, to Apr. 25, 1864, being engaged in numerous Skirmishes and Minor Actions; in the Department of the East, July 5,  p159 1864, being in command on the Canada frontier, Nov. 5, 1864, to Aug. 24, 1865, regulating Intercourse with the British Provinces.

Mustered out of Volunteer Service, Aug. 24, 1865.

Civil History. — President of New York State Life Insurance Company, 1866‑78.

Died, Apr. 21, 1878, at Syracuse, N. Y.: Aged 57.

Buried, Oakwood Cemetery, Syracuse, NY.

Biographical Sketch.

Major-General John James Peck was born Jan. 4, 1821, at Manlius, N. Y., his father having been among the earliest and most active settlers of Onondaga County. The son received a liberal education, and at the age of eighteen entered the U. S. Military Academy, from which he was, July 1, 1843, graduated eighth in the same class with President Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Grant and many who subsequently rose to fame. Commissioned in the Second Regiment of Artillery as a Brevet Second Lieutenant, he was on duty in New York harbor till 1845, when he joined General Taylor's "Army of Occupation," participating in all its operations in Texas till it reached the Rio Grande. Having, Apr. 16, 1846, been promoted a full Second Lieutenant, he was attached to Captain Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Duncan's celebrated battery, and was distinguished in the Battles of Palo Alto and Resaca-de‑la‑Palma. In September he was one of the "forlorn hope" which, under that noble soldier, Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.C. F. Smith, stormed Federation Hill, and was active and conspicuous in all the after operations which culminated in the fall of Monterey. He accompanied the mass of Taylor's regulars to Lobos, and, under General Scott, participated in the uninterrupted career of victory at Vera Cruz, Cerro Gordo, Amazoque, San Antonio, Churubusco, Molino del Rey, and Chapultepec, terminating in the Capture of the City of Mexico. For his gallantry at Churubusco he was brevetted a Captain, and for Molino del Rey a Major; and, says his division commander, General Worth, "the name and services of this officer will be found in the official account of every battle save one, from the commencement of the war to the conquest of the basin of Mexico."

On his return to his home, in 1848, he was tendered a public dinner and received an elegant sword with appropriate devices; declined the promotion to Captain in the Quartermaster's Department, in 1849; served, 1849‑50, against the Navajo Indians in New Mexico, besides interesting himself in the civil administration of this newly acquired territory; and, after a tour of recruiting duty, resigned from the Army, Mar. 31, 1853, much to the regret of the General-in‑Chief, who was sorry to lose a meritorious officer "who had been baptized in fire with him in Mexico."

Upon entering civil life he interested himself in a projected railroad from New York, via Newburg, to Syracuse, being its Treasurer till 1857; and also organized the Burnet Bank of Syracuse, being its Cashier and Manager till the Rebellion broke out, when he tendered his resignation, which was not accepted till after his return from the war, in 1866. He received the honorary degree of A. M., in 1856, from Hamilton College, N. Y.; was President, 1859‑61, of the Syracuse Board of Education, and for some years a Vice-President of the Franklin Institute; was twice (1856 and 1858) nominated for Congress, and once declined a foreign mission; and was a Delegate to the National Democratic Convention at Cincinnati in 1856, and to that at Charleston in 1860, voting there for Douglas as candidate for the Presidency of the United States.

Upon the breaking out of the Rebellion, he, like most of the graduates of the Military Academy in civil life, promptly tendered his sword to his country in any position he could fill, at the same time declining to participate with the New York delegation in Congress in their movement to secure him a high commission, as showing more a personal than patriotic  p160 motive. He was, notwithstanding, appointed, Aug. 9, 1861, a Brigadier-General, U. S. Volunteers; was assigned to an important command in the Defenses of Washington; and in 1862 accompanied General Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.McClellan in the Virginia Peninsular campaign, rendered signal service at Yorktown, won an envied reputation at Williamsburg, fought with skill and daring at Fair Oaks, where he had a horse killed under him, and held an important place in the Seven Days' "change of base," terminating in the bloody Battle of Malvern Hill and the occupation of Harrison's Landing. Here he was, July 4, 1862, promoted to be a Major General of Volunteers for his distinguished services in the campaign; and, when our troops fell back from before Richmond, he was ordered to Yorktown, which place he put in a proper condition for defense.

He was, Sep. 22, 1862, assigned to the command of all our troops in Virginia south of the James. In the spring of 1863 the attention of the Confederates was drawn to the importance of Suffolk, the reduction of which would involve both that of Norfolk and Portsmouth. Accordingly General Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Longstreet, with a well-appointed force of more than double our own, was assigned to this important duty. His well-designed plan was to cut the Nansemond six miles below the city, and the railroad on left and rear, while at the same time endeavoring to divert a part of our troops by a threatened raid on Little Washington. The Confederate commander confidently expected by these combined operations that our ten thousand men would be the rich spoils of his enterprise, but fortunately a captured mail disclosed to his sagacious opponent enough for him to divine the plans of his wily adversary. Longstreet then attempted, but failed, to take the place by assault, and our gunboats prevented his cutting the river. At length, on the 18th of April, a battery for five heavy guns was thrown up at Hill's Point, six miles below Suffolk, which commanded the river, and which our light-armed flotilla could not batter. Peck, undismayed, with a small detachment stormed and captured this strong position, which had been invested for three weeks. For his brilliant defense, Peck received the well-deserved commendations of his superiors, Generals Dix and Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Meade.

From Aug. 14, 1863, to Apr. 25, 1864, Peck held command of North Carolina, where little of importance occurred. In consequence of ill health he returned home, and July 5, 1864, was ordered under General Dix, at his request, to the Department of the East, in which he commanded on the Canada frontier, regulating intercourse with the British Provinces, from Nov. 5, 1864, till he was, on the conclusion of the war, mustered out of service, Aug. 24, 1865.

After once more entering civil life, he in 1867 organized the New York State Life Insurance Company at Syracuse, of which he was President till Apr. 21, 1878, when, broken in health by the fatigues and hardships of two wars, he died in the midst of his usefulness at the early age of fifty-seven.

General Peck was a warm, true-hearted friend, a good citizen, of the strictest integrity, and methodical in all his transactions; a patriot devoted to the Union in her darkest hour; and a soldier firm in command, strict in discipline, but always just and consider to subordinates, and as much the protector of private as public rights.

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