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Bill Thayer

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 [decorative delimiter] Class of 1815

Vol. I

(Born Del.)

John Symington

(Ap'd Md.)

Military History. — Cadet of the Military Academy, Sep. 10, 1813, to Mar. 2, 1815, when he was graduated and promoted in the Army to

Third Lieut., Ordnance, Mar. 2, 1815.

 p132  Served on Ordnance duty, at various Arsenals, Mar. 2, 1815, to

(Second Lieut., Ordnance, Apr. 8, 1818)

(First Lieut., Ordnance, May 17, 1820)

(First Lieut., 1st Artillery,
in Re-organization of Army, June 1, 1821)

(Bvt. Captain, May 17, 1830, For Faithful Service Ten Years in one Grade)

May 30, 1832; as Assistant Inspector of Foundries, 1832‑33; in command

(Captain, Ordnance, May 30, 1832)

of St. Louis Arsenal, Mo., 1833‑40; on duty in Ordnance Bureau, Washington, D. C., 1840‑41; in command of Washington Arsenal, D. C., 1840‑44; as Member of the Ordnance Board, Dec. 26, 1840, to Jan. 5,

(Major, Ordnance, Mar. 27, 1842)

1858; in command of Harper's Ferry Armory, Va., 1844‑51, — of Watervliet Arsenal, N. Y., — and of Allegheny Arsenal, Pa.,

(Colonel, Ordnance, Aug. 3, 1861)

1857‑62; on sick leave of absence, 1862‑63; and unemployed 1863‑64.​a

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."

Died, Apr. 4, 1874, in Harford County, Md.

Thayer's Note:

a I am indebted to James Doran, a much more careful and experienced student of American history than I, for kindly taking the time to give the following explanation of what seemed to me a rather mysterious silence on the part of the Register, which I'd then proceeded to fill in with a (very mistaken) surmise of my own. Here then the proper explanation, with a further small correction gratefully received from Joe Martz; as you can see, this website owes a lot to many people:

[H]e was Commanding Officer of Allegheny Arsenal in Pittsburgh when it blew up on 17 Sep 1862. There were 58 or so casualties among his work force, all women, most so badly battered and dismembered that they were not identifiable. I believe that this is the reason why he went on "Sick Leave" in the fall of 1862. Because of his age and length of service he was involuntarily retired on 1 June 1863 in accordance with the Law of 17 July 1862, "Having been borne on the Army Register more than 45 years". (Counting his time at West Point, he had been in the Army 50 years, 6 months, 27 days when he retired.)

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Page updated: 20 Nov 23