Short URL for this page:

[image ALT: Much of my site will be useless to you if you've got the images turned off!]
Bill Thayer

[image ALT: Cliccare qui per una pagina di aiuto in Italiano.]

[Link to a series of help pages]
[Link to the next level up]
[Link to my homepage]

This site is not affiliated with the US Military Academy.

[decorative delimiter]

 [decorative delimiter] Class of 1815

Vol. I

(Born Mas.)​a1

William H. Chase​b

(Ap'd Mas.)

William Henry Chase: Born June 4, 1798, Buckfield, ME.​a2

Military History. — Cadet of the Military Academy, May 4, 1814, to Mar. 4, 1815, when he was graduated and promoted in the Army to

Bvt. Second Lieut., Corps of Engineers, Mar. 4, 1815.

Served: as Asst. Engineer in the construction of the defenses of Brooklyn, N. Y., 1815, — in making Surveys in the vicinity of Lake Champlain, 1816‑17, — in repairing Ft. Niagara, N. Y., 1817‑18, and in

(Second Lieut., Corps of Engineers, Apr. 15, 1818)

 p143  constructing Ft. Pike, La., 1819, 1820‑22; as Superintending Engineer of

(First Lieut., Corps of Engineers, Mar. 31, 1819)

the defenses of Rigolets, and Chef Menteur Passes to New Orleans, La., 1822‑24, — of Ft. Jackson, Mississippi River, La., 1823‑24, — of Breakwater for the preservation of Plymouth Beach, Mas., 1824, — and of Forts at Rigolets, Chef Menteur, Bienvenue, and Bayou Dupré Passes to New Orleans, La., 1824‑28; on inspection of Improvement of Ohio River,

(Captain, Corps of Engineers, Jan. 1, 1825)

1825, — Red River Raft, 1828, — and sites for Lighthouses between Lake Pontchartrain, La., and Mobile Bay, Ala., 1829; as Superintending Engineer of the construction of the defenses of Pensacola harbor, Fla., 1828‑54, — and of Improvements of Pascagoula River, Mis., 1829, Escambia River, 1833‑34, — Choctaw Pass, Mobile harbor, 1834‑37, and Pass au Héron, 1834‑37; in charge of Ft. Morgan, Ala., 1834‑41, — of Ft. Jackson, La., 1835‑41, — of Improvement of the mouth of the Mississippi,

(Major, Corps of Engineers, July 7, 1838)

1836‑39, — and of deepening Dog River Bar, Mobile Bay, 1837; on special Board of Engineers for examination of Florida Reef, 1844‑45, — of Gulf Frontier of Mississippi and Texas, 1845, — of Memphis Navy Yard, Ten., 1851, — of Floating Dock, etc., at Pensacola Navy Yard, Fla., 1851, — of New Orleans Custom House, La., 1851, — and of the Pass of the Mississippi River and Harbor at Lake Pontchartrain, with a view to their improvement, 1852; on Board of Engineers for Atlantic Coast Defenses, Mar. 13 to Sep. 13, 1848; and as Superintending Engineer of Improvement of Choctaw Pass and Dog River Bar, Mobile Bay, Ala., 1852‑54, — and of construction of Ft. Taylor, Key West, Fla., 1854‑56.

Resigned, Oct. 31, 1856.

Civil History. — President of the Alabama and Florida Railroad Company, from Montgomery, Ala., to Pensacola, Fla., 1856‑61.​c

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

Died, Feb. 8, 1870, at Pensacola, Fla.: Aged 72.

Buried (?) in Grace Episcopal Church Cemetery, Saint Francisville, LA.​e

Thayer's Notes:

a1 a2 The place of birth should present no difficulty, once we remember that the present State of Maine was part of Massachusetts when Chase was born. There's some difficulty with his date of birth, however, here taken from John Carroll Chase, Seven generations of the descendants of Aquila and Thomas Chase (Derry, N. H., 1928), p516; the census record for 1850 — which we may safely assume refers to him, see my note below — makes him 54 on Nov. 27 of that year.

[decorative delimiter]

b According to American Ancestry: giving the Name and Descent, in the Male Line, of Americans whose Ancestors settled in the United States previous to the Declaration of Independence, A.D. 1776 (Thomas Patrick Hughes, ed., Albany, 1892), VII.218, he was the brother of Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.George Edmund Chase, who was also involved with the forts at Pensacola.

[decorative delimiter]

c His "Brief memoir explanatory of a new trace of a front of fortification in place of the present Bastioned Front" has been thrown online by Google Books. It is short, and I would have attached it to my site, but typically, the version there is defective, the engineering plans essential to an understanding of it being unreadable.

[decorative delimiter]

d Chase was an officer in the forces of the State of Florida in the early days of the War between the States; he negotiated, unsuccessfully, with fellow West Pointer Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Adam Slemmer for a peaceful surrender of Ft. Pickens in Pensacola harbor: see "Civil War Operations in and around Pensacola" (FlaHQ 36:125‑165), pp130, 134‑142, which give an excellent insight into his character.

[decorative delimiter]

e The identification is by no means certain, but the grave linked on this page bears his correct middle name and is in an equally plausible location; to which I can add the following, being entirely indebted to Michelle Woodham for both the information and the photograph:

that the 1850 Census (photograph of the census record) lists in his household Ann P. Chase, age 29, born in Louisiana; and Ann Paul Chase is buried next to William Henry Chase, with the same type of marker. J. C. Chase, loc. cit., identifies her as his wife, née Anna Paul Matthews. (This same source, mind you, states oddly that he was appointed Superintendent of the U. S. Military Academy yet resigned instead; of which I find no trace elsewhere for now.)

None of this may be proof in the strictest sense; but all taken together it seems impossible that the grave in St. Francisville could be that of another man.

[image ALT: Valid HTML 4.01.]

Page updated: 11 Oct 13