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 [decorative delimiter] Class of 1851

Vol. II

(Born Mas.)

Thomas J. C. Amory

(Ap'd Mas.)


Thomas Isaac​a Coffin Amory: Born Nov. 27, 1828, Boston, MA.

Military History. — Cadet at the Military Academy, July 1, 1846, to July 1, 1851, when he was graduated and promoted in the Army to

Bvt. Second Lieut., 7th Infantry, July 1, 1851.

Served: in garrison at Ft. Columbus, N. Y., 1851; on frontier duty at

(Second Lieut., 7th Infantry, Aug. 24, 1851)

Ft. Smith, Ark., 1851‑54, — Ft. Gibson, I. T., 1854‑55, — March to Big Timbers, Arkansas River, 1855, — Ft. Gibson, I. T., 1855‑57, — and Ft.

(First Lieut., 7th Infantry, Oct. 16, 1856)

Smith, Ark., 1857‑58; in garrison at Jefferson Barracks, Mo., 1858; on frontier duty on Utah Expedition, 1858‑60; and on Recruiting service, 1860‑61.

Captain, 7th Infantry, May 7, 1861.

Served during the Rebellion of the Seceding States, 1861‑64: in command of Regiment at Baltimore, Md., Sep., 1861, to Mar., 1862; in Operations

(Colonel, 17th Massachusetts Volunteers, Sep. 2, 1861)

in the Department of North Carolina, Mar., 1862, to Oct., 1864, commanding his Regiment and Acting Brig.‑General, at Newberne and Beaufort, — in command of Brigade on expedition to Goldsborough, Dec., 1862, participating in the Action of Kinston, Dec. 14, 1862, and Action of Goldsborough Bridge, Dec., 1862, — and as Commissary of Musters of 18th Army Corps, Dec., 1862, to Dec. 19, 1863; and in command of Regiment at Newberne, N. C., Dec. 19, 1863, to Feb. 13, 1864, — of the Forces and Defenses on the South Side of Trent River, N. C., Mar. 1 to

(Major, 8th Infantry, Sep. 19, 1864)

July 5, 1864, — and of Sub-District of Beaufort, N. C., July 5 to Oct. 8, 1864.

Bvt. Brig.‑General, U. S. Volunteers, Oct. 1, 1864,
for Gallant and Meritorious Services during the Rebellion.

Died, Oct. 8, 1864, at Beaufort, N. C.: Aged 36.

Buried, Forest Hills Cemetery, Jamaica Plain, MA.

Thayer's Note:

a The Register gives Thomas Amory's middle initials as J. C., consistently thru Vol. IX of the Supplement (1950), and I've seen his name expanded online as Thomas Jonathan Coffin Amory. Reliable 19c print sources repeatedly refer to him, however, as Thomas Isaac Coffin Amory (his father being Jonathan Amory). Since, quite apart from the question of Gen. Amory's exact name, these sources are of interest I give them here:

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Vol. 19 of the New England Historical and Genealogical Register (Boston, 1865), pp77‑78, under "Deaths", January:

p77 Amory. — On the third of October, at Beaufort, North Carolina, Mrs. Mary B. Amory, wife of Col. Amory, of the Seventeenth Massachusetts Volunteers, and daughter of Mr. Noland,º attached to the 7th U. S. Infantry, a planter in Arkansas, near Fort Smith.

On the 7th of the same month, Colonel Thomas Isaac Coffin Amory, eldest surviving son of Jonathan Amory, of West Roxbury. Col. Amory was born on the 27th day of November, 1828, and upon the nomination of the ex-President, John Quincy Adams, then in Congress, was appointed a cadet at West Point. His constitution was robust, his scholar­ship in the severe training of the Academy creditable, and his attention to his duties was exemplary. His oration delivered at the Point on the Fourth of July, 18–––, exhibited much maturity of thought, an elevated patriotism, and good command of the graces of composition. He graduated in the class of 1851, and was appointed a brevet 2d Lieut. in the 7th U. S. Infantry, then stationed at Fort Smith, in the western part of Arkansas. Here he married the lady whose decease we have above also recorded, whose mother, of a Philadelphia family, resided in the vicinity of the Fort. For the ensuing ten years he was constantly engaged in his military duties in our western wildernesses, from the Falls of St. Anthony to Texas, and by his care of his men, his fidelity and judicious discharge of every duty, secured the esteem of his brother officers, and of the soldiers. Amongst other responsibilities devolved upon him, was in one or more instances the payment of Indian tribes, a charge requiring much tact and patience. His regiment, employed in garrison service, took no part in the Mexican war, although ordered to join the army towards its close. It formed a part of the Utah expedition, under Col. Johnson, in 1854. In the ensuing Spring, with a force of two hundred men under his command, he marched some thousand miles to California, for the purpose of escorting those crossing the plains, who were at that time exposed on that route to Indian depredations. After having passed many years in active duty in the western wilderness, he came home in the year 1861, on recruiting service. He was thus employed when the angry clouds of discord, which had long threatened our public tranquillity, finally culminated. As mustering officer, and in other ways, he rendered important service in expediting the military preparations of the State, and the command of the Seventeenth Massachusetts Volunteers was assigned to him in the autumn of 1861. With the experience gained in active service, and by unremitting care, he soon made it one of the most efficient in the field, and while stationed at Baltimore it often elicited praise for its precision and promptness in evolutions and thoroughness of discipline. The regiment took part in establishing tranquillity in the Eastern counties of Maryland; and in the protection of Newbern, after its occupation, for a long period was of use in securing that important stronghold for our arms. Col. Amory, acting as Brigadier under General Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Foster in the reconnoissance in force into the interior in 1862, commanded some four thousand men, who marched across the country to join the rest of the expedition, which had ascended the river in boats. The unexpected difficulties of the way impeded their progress, and rendered impossible the despatch that was anticipated, but were in exact compliance with the written instructions of General Foster, who in general orders subsequently allowed that no blame was attached to Col. Amory for any delay. When Newbern was attacked, although the forces under his command had been greatly reduced, he enlisted a large number of the noncombatants p78of the post to man the forts, and the enemy were compelled to retire discomfited, without effecting their object. (See Gen. Butler's recommendation for Brevet, and Col. Franklin's letter.)

During the Summer of 1864, he had command at Beaufort, at the mouth of the Bay, below Newbern, and towards its close the yellow fever, introduced, as was supposed, from Wilmington, made its appearance there. His wife fell an early victim to the disease on the third of October, and on the day of her funeral Col. Amory was also attacked, and died on the 7th.

We close this account of a gallant officer, who, if not thus cut off in the prime of his manhood, might have been justly expected to attain distinction in his profession, with the following tribute. It comes from one who had favorable opportunity for forming a just estimate of the good qualities which endeared both Col. Amory and his wife to all within the sphere of their hospitality and kindness.

"The death, by yellow fever, at Beaufort, N. C., of Col. T. I. C. Amory, 17th Mass. Vols., preceded by that of his lovely and devoted wife, has filled with grief many hearts in this community. No one ever knew either but to love and respect them, and all who remember their hospitable and kindly home at Newbern, will sincerely mourn the desolation which has fallen.

"Those who have been in intimate personal and official relations with Col. Amory, will bear witness to the rectitude and manliness of his character, combined with a gentleness almost feminine. A soldier of dauntless courage, there was yet in his nature such a shrinking from the appearance of bravado or the suspicion of ostentation, that a cursory observer would never suspect the lion-heart that lay under an exterior so gentle and refined. If through delicacy of perception, the most unselfish consideration for the feelings of others, a courtesy of manner the perfection of simplicity and kindness, combined with a loftiness of mind above every thing small or mean, give a title to the 'grand old name of gentleman,' then no man, living or dead, deserves it better than the brave and accomplished officer who is the subject of this obituary.

"It may be said of him and of his wife, in the touching words of the Psalmist:— "They were lovely in their lives, and in their deaths they were not divided."

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Memorial History of the Seventeenth Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry (Old and New Organizations) in the Civil War from 1861‑1865, an official regimental history (Salem, MA, 1911), pp66‑68, heading off Chapter III, "Portraits with Biographies of Field and Staff . . . ". The copyright holder on the work, "Issued by the Authority of the Supervisors, authorized to write and publish the History", is its editor, Col. Henry Splaine, who is mentioned in the text as Gen. Amory's second-in‑command:

Colonel Thomas Isaac Coffin Amory

p66 Thomas I. C. Amory was born in Boston, Mass., November 27, 1828. He was the son of Jonathan Amory, who succeeded his father in business in the house of Jonathan Amory & Son, and who was United States Dispatch Agent during the Civil War. His wife, the mother of Thomas I. C. Amory, was a Miss Austin, whose father, an English physician, owned a sugar plantation in Demarara, British Guiana, where Miss Austin was born in 1809. Thomas I. C. Amory's grandfather, Jonathan Amory, died in Boston about the time he (Colonel Amory) was born, and had been a success­ful merchant. He married a daughter of James Sullivan, who had been attorney-general, was the sixth governor of Massachusetts, and whose brother was General John Sullivan of the Revolutionary Army, and governor of New Hampshire.

T. I. C. Amory's younger days were passed mostly at boarding-schools, and he spent some time at a boarding-school in Newport, R. I. His father's family were living in Roxbury, Mass., in 1846, when he received his appointment as a cadet to West Point, from which he was graduated in 1851. Upon graduation he was brevetted second lieutenant and assigned to the 7th United States Infantry, in which regiment he served until 1860, when he was ordered to Boston on recruiting service, and was there on duty at the breaking out of the Civil War.

p67 He was commissioned second lieutenant in the regular army, August 21, 1851; first lieutenant, October 16, 1855; captain, May 7, 1861; and major of the 8th United States Infantry, September 19, 1864. His service with the 7th United States Infantry was mostly in the West and Southwest. He was for a time at Jefferson Barracks, Mo., and afterwards at Fort Smith, Ark. At the latter place he married, in 1853, Miss Nolan,º who died a few days before her husband, in October, 1864, at Beaufort, N. C. Their oldest son died at Newberne, N. C., in 1863. Their oldest daughter died in 1878, while at school at Pelham Priory, New Rochelle, N. Y. The other children — two sons and a daughter — are still living — one of the sons in Wilmington, Del., the other son and daughter in New York City.

At the breaking out of the Civil War, Thomas I. C. Amory, then a lieutenant, was for a time the only regular army officer in Massachusetts, and was very useful to Governor Andrew in offering opinion and advice as to equipment and organization of the first regiments that went to the front from this state. He was also Acting Commissary of Musters of the first regiments going from Massachusetts into the United States service, until Governor Andrew insisted upon his going to Baltimore to take command of the Seventeenth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, of which regiment he was commissioned colonel September 12, 1861. The regiment had been in Baltimore nearly two months, under command of Lieut.‑Col. Fellows, when Colonel Amory joined it, but he soon became a great favorite with the men for his uniform courtesy and kindness to all, and for the interest which he manifested in the efficiency and welfare of the regiment. He was a good disciplinarian, without being unnecessarily strict or exacting, and was always ready to listen to complaints or grievances of the men, and to do all in his power to make army life pleasant to them.

After the regiment was sent to Newberne, N. C., early in 1862, Colonel Amory, much to the regret of the officers and men, was detached as acting brigadier-general and the Seventeenth knew him only as commander of the brigade of which it formed a part. But they knew that he still retained a lively interest and affection for his old command. He was in active command of his brigade p68in North Carolina, and participated in all the expeditions and battles in that department until the latter part of 1864.

When the Seventeenth Regiment was reorganized, after the expiration of its term of service in July, 1864, he became colonel of the new regiment, though he still retained command of the brigade to which it was attached, at Morehead City, Captain Henry Splaine being placed in command of the regiment, of which he afterwards became colonel.

In the fall of 1864, yellow fever broke out in the department of North Carolina, and was very destructive among the negroes that congregated there. A negro servant in Colonel Amory's family, it was said, brought the fever into it, which resulted in the death of Mrs. Amory and her mother, and a few days later the colonel succumbed to the same disease. His death occurred at Beaufort, N. C., on October 7, 1864.

One of the members of Company G, of the Seventeenth (Thomas H. Taylor), writing in an article published in the "Salem Gazette," September 17, 1886, of the experiences of his company in the regiment, some twenty-five years after the close of the war, said of him:

"Colonel T. I. C. Amory fell a victim to this terrible disease. He was one of the few commanding officers who remained at his post of duty, and in doing so, fell a victim. A perfect soldier and a gentlemen.º His loss was sincerely mourned by all the department."

To show how sincere and lasting was the affection that Col. Amory inspired in the men of the Seventeenth, at the annual reunion of the surviving members of that regiment, on August 28, 1899, his youngest daughter, Mrs. Laura Amory Dugan, who was born in Newberne, N. C., in May, 1864, during the third Confederate attack on that city, was elected a member of the Regimental Association, and adopted as the "Daughter of the Regiment."

Col. T. I. C. Amory was brevetted Brigadier-General before his death. He will always be kindly remembered by his comrades as long as any one of them survives.

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