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Bill Thayer

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 [decorative delimiter] Class of 1843

Vol. II

(Born N. Y.)

Franklin Gardner​1

(Ap'd Io.)


Franklin Kitchelº Gardner: Born Jan. 29, 1823.

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., 7th Infantry, July 1, 1843.

Served: in garrison at Pensacola harbor, Fla., 1844, — Scouting, 1844, — and Pensacola harbor, Fla., 1844‑45; in Military Occupation of Texas,

(Second Lieut., 7th Infantry, Sep. 12, 1845)

1845‑46; in the War with Mexico, 1846‑48, being engaged in the Defense of Ft. Brown, May 3‑9, 1846, — Battle of Monterey, Sep. 21‑23,

(Bvt. First Lieut., Sep. 23, 1846,
for Gallant and Meritorious Conduct in the several Conflicts at Monterey, Mex.)

1846, — Siege of Vera Cruz, Mar. 9‑29, 1847, — Battle of Cerro Gordo, Apr. 17‑18, 1847, — Battle of Contreras, Aug. 19‑20, 1847, — Battle of

(Bvt. Captain, Apr. 18, 1847,
for Gallant and Meritorious Conduct in the Battle of Cerro Gordo, Mex.)

Churubusco, Aug. 20, 1847, — Battle of Molino del Rey, Sep. 8, 1847, — and Operations before and Capture of the City of Mexico, Sep. 13‑14, 1847; as Adjutant, 7th Infantry, July 14, 1847, to Nov. 16, 1853; in

(First Lieut., 7th Infantry, Sep. 13, 1847)

Mustering out troops at New York, 1848; in garrison at Jefferson Barracks, Mo., 1848‑49; in Florida Hostilities, 1849‑50, being Acting Asst. Adjutant-General of the Eastern District of Florida, Feb. 8 to June 17, 1850; in garrison at Jefferson Barracks, Mo., 1850‑51; on frontier duty at Ft. Gibson, I. T., 1851‑52, — and Ft. Smith, Ark., 1852‑53; on Recruiting service, 1854‑55; in garrison at Carlisle Barracks, Pa., 1855;

(Captain, 10th Infantry, Mar. 3, 1855)

on frontier duty at Ft. Crawford, Wis., 1855‑56, — Ft. Snelling, Min., 1856, — Expedition to Red River of the North, 1856, — Ft. Snelling, Min., 1856‑57, — and Utah Expedition, 1858; on leave of absence, 1858‑60; and on frontier duty at Ft. Bridger, Utah, 1860‑61, for leaving which, and abandoning his command, he was

Dropped, May 7, 1861.

Joined in the Rebellion of 1861‑66 against the United States.​a

Civil History. — Planter, near Vermilionville, La.,​b 1866‑73.

Died, Apr. 29, 1873, near Vermilionville, La.: Aged 50.

Buried, St. John Cathedral Cemetery, La­fayette, LA.

The Author's Note:

1 Son of Colonel Charles K. Gardner, Adjutant-General in the War of 1812‑15.

Thayer's Notes:

a As with other Confederate officers, Cullum's Register omits his war record. Here is his entry in Confederate Military History, pp297‑298:

 p297  Major-General Franklin Gardner was born in New York in 1823. His family moved West and he was appointed to the United States military academy from Iowa in 1839. After his graduation in 1843 and promotion to brevet second-lieutenant of the Seventh infantry he served in the garrison at Pensacola harbor, in scouting on the frontier, in the military occupation of Texas, and in the war with Mexico. He participated in the defense of Fort Brown, and the battle of Monterey, where he was brevetted first-lieutenant for gallant and meritorious conduct. He served at the siege of Vera Cruz; the battle of Cerro Gordo, where he was brevetted as captain; the battles of Contreras, Churubusco, Molino del Rey and other operations before the city of Mexico, and in the capture of that city. He was afterward on frontier and garrison duty at various posts in Florida, Louisiana and Arkansas, Wisconsin and Minnesota. At the commencement of the war between the States he was stationed in Utah Territory, and was captain of the Tenth infantry. He had spent a great part of his army life among the Southern people, and in sentiment and sympathy was one of them. The army officers who in such large numbers resigned their commissions and embraced the cause of the South, did not regard the Southern people as rebels against the government of the United States. They looked upon the Union as already divided into two governments, and felt that they had the right to choose the defense of that side whose cause not only their inclinations, but also their ideas  p298 of duty, led them to espouse. Thus, with the purest of motives, Franklin Gardner left the service of the old army and entered that of the Confederate States. He was immediately appointed lieutenant-colonel of infantry, his commission dated March 16, 1861. His services were during the first year mostly in Tennessee and Mississippi. At Shiloh he had command of a cavalry brigade. There was very little opportunity in that battle for the cavalry to take part; but they performed faithfully whatever duties were committed to them. A short while after the battle of Shiloh General Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Beauregard expressed his appreciation of Gen. Franklin Gardner in the following language: "The general commanding avails himself of this occasion to return thanks to General Gardner for his services in the reorganization of the cavalry of this army." He had been commissioned a brigadier-general a few days before the battle of Shiloh. Soon after this he was appointed to the command of a brigade in Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Withers' division, Polk's corps. He shared in the marches and battles of the Kentucky campaign, and on December 13, 1862, he received the commission of major-general in the army of the Confederate States. Early in 1863 he was placed in command of the important post of Port Hudson. His gallant defense of that place, against greatly superior numbers, is a brilliant page of Confederate history. The heroism of Gardner and his men is not dimmed by the fact that they were finally compelled to yield to the power­ful combinations that were brought against them. After his exchange General Gardner was assigned to duty in Mississippi, at the last under the orders of Gen. Richard Taylor. After the war General Gardner lived in Louisiana the quiet life of a planter, near Vermilionville. There he died April 29, 1873.

Gen. Gardner's ties to Louisiana were many and solid: his mother was from the State; his sister Emma was the wife of Alexandre Mouton, governor of the State from 1843 to 1846, and later president of the convention that voted the secession of Louisiana; and he himself married Gov. Mouton's daughter Marie.

The 48‑day defense of Port Hudson is what Gen. Gardner is most often remembered for. The site, rather similar to that of West Point, was a natural defensive stronghold and thus a natural battlefield: interesting details and a map are given by S. C. Arthur in The Story of the West Florida Rebellion, pp155‑156.

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b Vermilionville has been renamed and is now La­fayette.

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Page updated: 15 Feb 14