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 [decorative delimiter] Class of 1845

Vol. II

(Born Mas.)

Charles P. Stone

(Ap'd Mas.)


Charles Pomeroy Stone: Born Sep. 30, 1824, Greenfield, MA.

Military History. — Cadet at the Military Academy, July 1, 1841, to July 1, 1845, when he was graduated and promoted in the Army to

Bvt. Second Lieut., Ordnance, July 1, 1845.

Served: at the Military Academy, as Asst. Professor of Geography, History, and Ethics, Aug. 28, 1845, to Jan. 13, 1846; as Asst. Ordnance Officer at Watervliet Arsenal, N. Y., 1846, — and at Ft. Monroe Arsenal, Va., 1846; in the War with Mexico, 1846‑48, being engaged in the Siege

(Second Lieut., Ordnance, Mar. 3, 1847)

of Vera Cruz, Mar. 9‑29, 1847, — Skirmish of Amazoque, May 14, 1847, — Battle of Contreras, Aug. 19‑20, 1847, — Battle of Molino del Rey,

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

Sep. 8, 1847, — Battle of Chapultepec, Sep. 13, 1847, — and Assault and

(Bvt. Capt., Sep. 13, 1847,
for Gallant and Meritorious Conduct in the Battle of Chapultepec, Mex.)

Capture of the City of Mexico, Sep. 13‑14, 1847; as Asst. Ordnance Officer at Watervliet Arsenal, N. Y., 1848; on leave of absence in Europe and the East, 1848‑50; as Asst. Ordnance Officer at Watervliet Arsenal, N. Y., 1850; and in command of Ft. Monroe Arsenal, Va., 1850‑51, — and in charge of the construction of Benicia Arsenal, Cal.,

(First Lieut., Ordnance, Feb. 26, 1853)

1851‑56, being Chief of Ordnance for the Pacific Division, 1851‑55.

Resigned, Nov. 17, 1856.

Civil History. — Banker, San Francisco, Cal., 1856‑57. Chief of the Scientific Commission in the service of the Mexican Government, for the Survey and Exploration of the Public Lands in the State of Sonora, Mex., 1857‑60, — and of Lower California, 1858‑60. Acting U. S. Consul, Guaymas, Mex., 1858‑59.

Military History. — Served during the Rebellion of the Seceding States, 1861‑64: in Organizing and Disciplining District of Columbia

(Colonel, Staff — Inspector-General D. C. Volunteers, Jan. 1, 1861)

Volunteers serving in the Defense of Washington, D. C., Jan. 1 to Apr. 16, 1861; in command of District of Columbia Volunteers, Apr. 16 to July 23, 1861, being engaged in guarding the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and outposts of Washington, D. C., Apr., 1861, — in the Capture

(Colonel, 14th Infantry, May 14, 1861)

(Brig.‑General, U. S. Volunteers, May 17, 1861)

of Alexandria, Va., May 24, 1861, — on Rockville Expedition, June 10, 1861, — Skirmishes at Conrad's and Edwards' Ferry, Md., June, 1861, — Skirmish at Harper's Ferry, July 7, 1861, — and in Major-General Patterson's Operations in the Shenandoah Valley, commanding Brigade, July 8‑23, 1861; in command of Special Corps of Observation on the Upper Potomac, Aug. 10, 1861, to Feb. 9, 1862; as Prisoner at Ft. Lafayette and Ft. Hamilton, N. Y., where he was incarcerated Feb. 9, 1862, without charges being preferred against him, and held till Aug. 16, 1862, when he was released from arrest; in waiting orders at Washington, D. C., Aug. 16, 1862, to May, 1863; in the Department of the Gulf, May, 1863, to Apr. 16, 1864, being engaged in the Siege of Port Hudson, May 27 to July 8, 1863, and was one of the Commissioners for receiving its Surrender, — as Chief of Staff of Major-General Banks, July 25, 1863, to Apr. 16, 1864, — in Skirmishes on Bayou Teche, Oct., 1863, — Battle of Sabine Cross Roads, Apr. 8, 1864, — and Battle of

 p215  (Mustered out of Volunteer Service, Apr. 4, 1864)

Pleasant Hill, Apr. 9, 1864; awaiting orders at Cairo, Ill., Apr. 18 to Aug. 13, 1864; and in command of Brigade of 5th Corps (Army of the Potomac), before Petersburg, Aug. 21 to Sep. 13, 1864.

Resigned, Sep. 13, 1864.

Civil History. — Engineer and Superintendent of the Dover Mining Company, Goochland County, Va., 1865‑69. Brig.‑General (Chief of Staff) in the Egyptian Army, Mar. 30, 1870; and Ferik-Pasha (grade next to Field Marshal), Sep. 20, 1873, to Jan. 15, 1883. Inspector-General, ex officio, of the Egyptian Military Schools (many of which he had organized or re-organized), 1870‑83. General Aide-de‑Camp to the Khedive, Ismaël First, 1871‑83. For "his valuable services in command, organization, and administration," decorated Commander of the Order of Osmanieh, Oct. 10, 1870; and Grand Officer of the Order of Medjidieh, Jan. 24, 1875. Member of the Egyptian Institute, 1872; of Commission for Frontier and Coast Defense, 1871‑72; of the Superior Commission of Agriculture, 1877‑78; and of Board of Senior Generals to form new Conscription Law, 1877. Vice-President of Commission to organize Egyptian Section for International Exhibition at Vienna, 1873, at Philadelphia, 1876, and Paris, 1878. Vice-President of the Khedivial Society of Geography (which he founded), Nov. 11, 1875, to Oct. 11, 1879; President, Oct. 11, 1879, to Jan. 15, 1883; and Honorary Member, Jan. 19, 1883, to Jan. 24, 1887. Decorated, Sep. 21, 1881, "Commander of the Order, 'The Crown of Italy,' " for assistance rendered to Italian explorers to Central Africa, and for his services to Geographical Science. Chief Engineer of the Florida Ship Canal and Transit Company, and directed a preliminary survey across the northern part of the peninsula, 1883‑84. Engineer-in‑Chief to the Committee for the construction of the pedestal of the colossal statue of "Liberty enlightening the World" (the gift of the people of France to the people of the United States), on Bedloe's Island, New York Harbor, 1886‑87. Author of various Military, Statistical, and Geographical Papers, 1860‑78.

Died, Jan. 24, 1887, at New York City: Aged 62.

Buried, West Point Cemetery, West Point, NY.

Biographical Sketch.

Brig.‑General Charles P. Stone was born, Sep. 30, 1824, at Greenfield, Mas. He was descended from a Puritan line of ancestors who had taken part in every war in which the American people had been engaged, and hence by heredity he was a soldier.

With a good elementary education he entered the Military Academy, from which he was graduated, July 1, 1845, and promoted to the Ordnance Corps, being assigned to duty at his Alma Mater as Assistant Professor of History, Geography, and Ethics. At his own request he was relieved from this detail, Jan. 13, 1846, wishing to be engaged in his proper professional duties and fitted for the anticipated War with Mexico. After a short service at Watervliet Arsenal, he went to Fort Monroe as assistant to Captain Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Huger, whom he soon followed to Vera Cruz, where he was attached to the only siege battery used in the Mexican War. By efficient service with this battery, and also on the Staff of General Scott, whom he accompanied in his campaign, he won for himself the confidence of his chief, and a brevet for each of the battles of Molino del Rey and Chapultepec.

While in Mexico he made the ascent of Popocatepetl, and planted, at the risk of his life, the American flag on the very summit of volcano. His description of this daring feat he gave in person, some years later, to Humboldt, who bestowed much attention upon him while in Berlin, even securing for him a special invitation to dine with the King of Prussia.

 p216  After the Mexican War, Stone spent two years in Europe and the East studying the movements and appliances of great armies. Upon his return home, after a short service at Watervliet and Fort Monroe, he embarked for San Francisco, via Cape Horn, and, upon his arrival there, was assigned to duty as Chief of Ordnance on the Pacific coast, in which capacity he explored the whole coast for depot and arsenal sites. Among the latter was chosen Benicia, where he immediately commenced the erection of shops and other buildings for its permanent occupation as the Arsenal of the Pacific. After five years of incessant toil, finding his pay inadequate to his necessities, he resigned from the Army.

He now undertook banking, which he had to abandon in about a year in consequence of the absconding of his treasurer. Then he entered the service of the Mexican Government as Chief of a Scientific Commission for the survey and exploration of the public lands in the State of Sonora. While making, at Washington, D. C., his maps and report, there came the premonitory rumbling of the Rebellion, soon to break forth. Foreseeing the danger, like a loyal soldier he promptly tendered his services to the Government. His old chief, General Scott, knowing Stone's value, tendered him the position of Inspector-General, with the rank of Colonel, of the District of Columbia Militia, with authority to re-organize its volunteers, then largely composed of Southern sympathizers. Ridding himself of this disloyal element, Stone, by drill and discipline, formed the remainder into a compact body for the protection of the public property in the capital. By indefatigable industry, sleepless devotion to his trust, and judicious arrangements to meet all danger, his volunteers and a few companies of regular troops efficiently protected Washington from its enemies within and without. At all hours, day and night, as I know from personal observation, Stone was to be found at any threatened point. He it was who secured the safe arrival of the President-elect at the capital, and when by the riot in Baltimore and destruction of bridges our communications were severed with the loyal North, he promptly seized the Baltimore and Ohio Depot, and sent trains and troops to Annapolis Junction to ensure reinforcements to the garrison of Washington. His zeal and efficiency won the confidence of all loyal citizens, and especially the President, who, May 14, 1861, appointed Stone a Colonel in the Regular Army, and three days later a Brigadier-General of U. S. Volunteers. A week after he was engaged in the capture of Alexandria, Va., and, June 10, 1861, placed in command of the Rockville Expedition, followed a month later by that of a brigade in General Patterson's army in the Shenandoah Valley.

Stone, Aug. 10, 1861, was assigned to the command of a special corps of observation on the Upper Potomac. A portion of this force was engaged, Oct. 21, 1861, in the Battle of Ball's Bluff, for the blunders of which Stone was most unjustly held responsible. Colonel Baker, a popular Senator, who commanded in the conflict, was killed, and our losses were greatly exaggerated. Congress was much excited, and the Committee on the Conduct of the War demanded a victim, the choice falling upon poor Stone, who was arrested and incarcerated in Fort Lafayette, N. Y., without any charges against him, denied all intercourse with others, and treated as a common felon. This disgraceful transaction, paralleled only in the annals of Eastern despots, is carefully reviewed at considerable length in Blaine's "Twenty Years in Congress," with the following conclusion:—

"The responsibility for the arrest and imprisonment of General Stone must, according to the official record of the case, rest on Secretary Stanton, Major-General Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.McClellan, and the Committee on the Conduct of the War. It is very clear that Mr. Lincoln, pressed by a thousand calls and placing implicit confidence in these three agencies, took it for granted that  p217 ample proof existed to justify the extraordinary treatment to which General Stone was subjected. General Stone is not to be classed in that long list of private citizens temporarily confined without the benefit of habeas corpus, on the charge of sympathizing with the Rebellion. The situation of these persons more nearly assimilates with that of prisoners of war. It differs totally from the arrest of General Stone in that the cause of detention was well known and very often proudly avowed by the person detained. The key of their prison was generally in the hands of those who were thus confined, — an honest avowal of loyalty and an oath of allegiance to the National Government securing their release. If they could not take the oath they were justifiably held, and were no more injured in reputation than the millions with whose daring rebellion they sympathized. But to General Stone the Government permitted the gravest crimes to be imputed. A soldier who will betray his command belongs by the code of all nations to the most infamous class, — his death but feebly atoning for the injury he has inflicted upon his country. It was under the implied accusation of this great guilt that General Stone was left in duress for more than six weary months, deprived of all power of self-defense, denied the inherent rights of the humblest citizen of the Republic. In the end, not gracefully but tardily, and as it seemed grudgingly, the Government was compelled to confess its own wrong and to do partial justice to the injured man by restoring him to honorable service under the flag of the Nation. No reparation was made to him for the protracted defamation of his character, no order was published acknowledging that he was found guiltless, no communication was ever made to him by National authority giving even a hint of the ground on which for half a year he was pilloried before the nation as a malefactor. The wound which General Stone received was deep. From some motive the source of which will probably remain a mystery, his persecution continued in many petty and offensive ways, until he was finally driven, towards the close of the war, when he saw that he could be no longer useful to his country, to tender his resignation. It was promptly accepted. He found abroad the respect and consideration which had been denied him at home, and for many years he was Chief of the General Staff to the Khedive of Egypt.

"It is not conceivable that the flagrant wrong suffered by General Stone was ever designed by any one of the eminent persons who share the responsibility for its infliction. They were influenced by and largely partook of the popular mania which demanded a victim to atone for a catastrophe. The instances in which this disposition of the public mind works cruel injury are innumerable, and only time, and not always time, seems able to render justice. Too often the object of popular vengeance is hurried to his fate, and placed beyond the pale of that reparation which returning reason is eager to extend. Fortunately the chief penalty of General Stone was the anguish of mind, the wounding of a proud spirit. His case will stand as a warning against future violations of the liberty which is the birthright of every American, and against the danger of appeasing popular clamor by the sacrifice of an innocent man. Throughout the ordeal, General Stone's bearing was soldierly. He faced accusation with equanimity and endured suffering with fortitude. He felt confident of ultimate justice, for he knew that it is not the manner of his countrymen 'to deliver any man to die, before that he which is accused have the accusers face to face, and have license to answer for himself concerning the crime laid against him.' "

Of the War Secretary, probably the most responsible authority for this outrageous treatment of this meritorious and innocent soldier, Blaine further says:—

"Mr. Stanton had faults. He was subject to unaccountable and violent prejudice, and under its sway he was capable of harsh injustice.  p218 Many officers of merit and spotless fame fell under his displeasure and were deeply wronged by him. General Stone was perhaps the most conspicuous example of the extremity of outrage to which the Secretary's temper could carry him. He was lacking in magnanimity. Even when intellectually convinced of an error, he was reluctant to acknowledge it."

Though frequent applications were made to Secretary Stanton by high officers in the field for the services of Stone, not till nine months after his release was he placed on duty, and then in the remotest theatre of operations, — the Department of the Gulf. At once Stone entered upon active duty at the Siege of Port Hudson, where for his conspicuous gallantry he was honored by being selected as one of the Commissioners receiving the surrender of the place. Soon after, Banks, the commanding general, appreciating the military merits of Stone, appointed him his Chief of Staff, and as such he served in the Teche campaign of 1863, and that of Red River in 1864, where he was engaged at Sabine Cross Roads and at Pleasant Hill. In the latter battle he exhibited almost reckless daring in a cavalry charge which changed the face of the conflict, though no credit was given to him; but, on the contrary, by an order from Washington, he was immediately after mustered out of volunteer service and rusticated four months at Cairo, there awaiting orders. In August he rejoined his regiment before Petersburg; but broken in heart and health, and seeing that he was to continue a victim of Secretary Stanton's injustice, he resigned from the Army, Sep. 13, 1864.

Stone from 1865 to 1869 was Engineer and Superintendent of the Dover Mining Company, Goochland County, Va. On Mar. 30, 1870, he accepted the distinguished position of Chief of Staff of the Egyptian Army, with the rank of Brigadier-General, and three years later became Ferik-Pasha, a grade next to Field Marshal. He at once, by his pleasing manners, linguistic accomplishments, and devotion to duty, became a great favorite of the War Minister, and also of the Khedive, becoming General Aide-de‑Camp to the latter. Stone, by his untiring industry and varied knowledge, was enabled not only to organize surveying exploring expeditions throughout Egypt, including Nubia and the Soudan, but to establish military schools and other appliances for education. He was also an active member of several military and civil commissions, and founded the Khedivial Society of Geography, of which he became the distinguished President. For his eminent services as a soldier and a scientist, he was decorated as Grand Officer of the Order of the Medjidieh, and Commander of the Order of the Crown of Italy.

General Stone, in 1883, finding his usefulness in Egypt undermined by the influence and intrigues of European powers, asked to be relieved of his duties. He was charged with siding with Arabi Pasha, to whom he was in reality decidedly inimical; but this is another of the calumnies against Stone, perhaps fabricated because he did not approve of the English policy in Egypt.

Upon Stone's return to the United States, he was appointed Chief Engineer of the Florida Ship Canal and Transit Company, and directed a preliminary survey across the northern part of the peninsula. He then, Apr. 3, 1886, became Engineer-in‑Chief of the Committee for the Construction of the Pedestal of the Colossal Statue of "Liberty Enlightening the World" (the gift of the people of France to the people of the United States), on Bedloe's Island, New York harbor, and in sight of that military prison where for over half a year he was cruelly deprived of his own liberty. Hardly had the completion of this noble monument been celebrated, on which occasion Stone acted as Grand Marshal, before he died, January 24, 1887.

His classmate, General Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Fitz-John Porter, gives the following summary of his character:—

 p219  "The salient characteristics of Stone were manifested all through his life, and have left their impress upon his associates.

"He was ambitious, but to further his designs scorned all meanness; he was pure and irreproachable in conduct; indomitable in adversity; modest when success crowned his efforts; undepressed and energetic in adversity; so courteous to his associates and dignified in bearing as always to command respect, and to furnish a model for imitation.

"He was a man of true piety, and ever responsive to the demands of duty. He loved his home and his family; was economical in his habits, indulging in no extravagances; but the requirements of social duties, arising from the many high and responsible positions he occupied, so exhausted his resources that he died leaving his family in poverty.

"Misapprehended and misunderstood, he was disgraced by an unmerited punishment. Facts then existing, but now explained, with others since brought to light, have proved that he was no traitor, and that though disgraced he could not be dishonored.

"No reparation can be made to him, — he sleeps in his grave, — but to the living whom he cherished, the Government, which in its blunders wronged the dead, may make some tardy recognition of its error.

"His surviving associates know his history, appreciate the wrong done him, and sympathize with those he has left behind.

"Let all unite in soliciting that his family shall not suffer because he spent his substance and imperiled his life in the service of his country."

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Page updated: 18 Nov 13