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 [decorative delimiter] Class of 1853

Vol. II

(Born N. Y.)

Robert O. Tyler

(Ap'd Ct.)


Robert Ogden Tyler: Born Dec. 22, 1831, Hunter, NY.

Military History. — Cadet at the Military Academy, July 1, 1849, to July 1, 1853, when he was graduated and promoted in the Army to

Bvt. Second Lieut. of Artillery, July 1, 1853.

Served: in garrison at Barrancas, Fla., 1853‑54, — and Ft. Wood,

(Second Lieut., 3d Artillery, Dec. 24, 1853)

N. Y., 1854; on frontier duty on March through Utah to California, 1854‑55; in garrison at San Francisco, Cal., 1855‑56; on frontier duty

(First Lieut., 3d Artillery, Sep. 1, 1856, to Nov. 1, 1861)

at Fts. Vancouver and Dalles, and on Yakima Expedition, 1856, — and in garrison at San Francisco, Cal., 1857; on frontier duty at Ft. Yuma, Cal., 1857‑58; on Spokane Expedition, Wash., 1858, being engaged in the Combat of the Four Lakes, Sep. 1, 1858, — Combat on Spokane Plains, Sep. 5, 1858, — and Skirmish on Spokane River, Sep. 8, 1858; on frontier duty at Ft. Ridgely, Min., 1859, — March to Sioux Agency, 1859, — and Ft. Ridgely, Min., 1859‑60; on leave of absence, 1860‑61; and in garrison at Ft. Columbus, Recruiting Depot, N. Y., 1861.

Served during the Rebellion of the Seceding States, 1861‑66: on Expedition to relieve Ft. Sumter, S. C., Apr., 1861; in re-opening communications with Washington, D. C., through Baltimore, Md., May, 1861;

(Captain, Staff — Asst. Quartermaster, May 17, 1861)

as Depot Quartermaster, at Alexandria, Va., for the Army of the Potomac, May 23 to Sep. 21, 1861; in the Defenses of Washington, D. C.,

(Colonel, 4th Connecticut Volunteers: 1st Heavy Artillery, Sep. 17, 1861)

Oct., 1861, to Apr. 4, 1862; in the Virginia Peninsular Campaign (Army of the Potomac), Apr. to Aug., 1862, being engaged in the Siege of Yorktown, Apr. 11 to May 4, 1862, in charge of Siege Batteries, — Capture of Hanover C. H., May 27, 1862, — Battle of Gaines's Mill, June 27, 1862, — and Battle of Malvern Hill, July 1, 1862; in the Rappahannock Campaign

(Brig.‑General, U. S. Volunteers, Nov. 29, 1862)

(Army of the Potomac), being engaged in the Battle and Bombardment of Fredericksburg, Dec. 13‑15, 1862, in command of the Artillery of Centre Grand Division, — and Battle of Chancellorsville, May 2‑4,

(Bvt. Major, Dec. 13, 1862,
for Gallant and Meritorious Services at the Battle of Fredericksburg, Va.)

 p538  1863; in command of Artillery Reserve of the Army of the Potomac, May 2, 1863, to Jan. 1, 1864; in the Pennsylvania Campaign (Army of the Potomac), June 14 to Sep. 15, 1863, being engaged in the Battle of Gettysburg, July 1‑3, 1863, — and Pursuit of the enemy to Culpeper,

(Bvt. Lieut.‑Col., July 2, 1863,
for Gallant and Meritorious Services at the Battle of Gettysburg, Pa.)

Va., July 4 to Sep. 15, 1863; in the Rapidan Campaign (Army of the Potomac), Oct. to Dec., 1863, being engaged in the Combat of Rappahannock Station, Nov. 7, 1863, — and Mine Run Operations, Nov. 26 to Dec. 3, 1863; in command of Division of 22d Army Corps, covering Washington, D. C., and the communications of the Army of the Potomac, Jan. 1 to May, 1864; in command of Division of Heavy Artillery, attached to 2d Army Corps, May, 1864; in the Richmond Campaign (Army of the Potomac), May‑June, 1864, being engaged in the Battle about Spottsylvania, May 17‑20, 1864, — Battles of North Anna, May 23‑24,

(Bvt. Colonel, May 17, 1864,
for Gallant and Meritorious Services at the Battle of Spottsylvania, Va.)

1864, — Battle of Tolopotomy, May 30, 1864, — and Battle of Cold Harbor, June 1, where he was severely wounded; on sick leave of absence, disabled by wound, June to Dec., 1864; as Commissioner on the

Bvt. Major-General, U. S. Volunteers, Aug. 1, 1864,
for Great Gallantry at the Battle of Cold Harbor, Va.)

part of the United States for the disbursement of Cotton Fund for the supply of Rebel Prisoners, Dec., 1864, to Aug., 1865; in command of

(Bvt. Brig.‑General, U. S. Army, Mar. 13, 1865,
for Gallant and Meritorious Services at the Battle of Cold Harbor, Va.)

(Bvt. Major-General, U. S. Army, Mar. 13, 1865,
for Gallant and Meritorious Services in the Field during the Rebellion)

the District of Delaware and Eastern Shore, Sep. to Dec., 1865, — and of Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Eastern Shore, Dec., 1865, to Jan., 1866;

(Mustered out of Volunteer Service, Jan. 15, 1866)

and awaiting orders, Jan. 15 to July 10, 1866.

Lieut.‑Colonel, Staff — Dep. Quartermaster-General, July 29, 1866.

Served: as Chief Quartermaster, Department of the Carolinas, July 31 to Aug. 6, 1866, — of the Department of the South, Aug. 17, 1866, to Mar. 20, 1867, — of Second Military Division, Mar. 21, 1867, to Aug. 25, 1868, including Cemeterial operations therein, Nov. 7, 1867, to Aug. 25, 1868, — and Depot Quartermaster at Charleston, S. C., Mar. 23 to Aug. 25, 1868; on leave of absence in Europe, Sep. 15, 1868, to July 15, 1869; as Chief Quartermaster, Division of the South, Aug. 3, 1869, to Apr. 1, 1870, — and of the Division of the Pacific, Apr. 24, 1870, to Aug. 1, 1872; on leave of absence, making the tour around the world, Aug. 1, 1872, to June 30, 1873; and as Chief Quartermaster, Division of the Atlantic, July 1, 1873, to Feb. 4, 1874, — of the Department of the East, July 1 to Oct. 29, 1873, and of its First District, Sep. 11 to Oct. 29, 1873, — of the First District, Division of the Atlantic, Oct. 29, 1873, to Feb. 4, 1874, — and of Second District, June 8 to Dec. 1, 1874.

Died, Dec. 1, 1874, at Boston, Mas.: Aged 43.

Buried, Cedar Hill Cemetery, Hartford, CT.

Biographical Sketch.

Brevet Major-General Robert Ogden Tyler, U. S. Army, was born, Dec. 22, 1831, in Hunter, Greene County, N. Y., and died, Dec. 1,  p539 1874, at Boston, Mas., having attained nearly the age of forty-three years. His paternal grandfather was a soldier of the Revolution, and three of his paternal uncles were officers of the U. S. Army, of whom one, General Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Daniel Tyler, was graduated at the Military Academy in 1819.

When young Tyler was seven years old, his family removed to Hartford, Ct., where he received an excellent English education, and was thoroughly fitted to enter college; but his inherited military tastes decided him to become a Cadet at West Point. His course at the Military Academy was creditable, but not brilliant as compared with that of some of his distinguished classmates, Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.McPherson, Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Craighill, Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Schofield, Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Vincent, etc. Upon graduation he was appointed, July 1, 1853, a Brevet Second Lieutenant of Artillery, and assigned to duty at Barrancas Barracks, Fla. He became a full Second Lieutenant, Third Regiment of Artillery, and in the spring of 1854 joined Brevet Colonel Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Steptoe's command, with which he marched from the Mississippi to the Pacific, spending the winter at Salt Lake; and in the following spring he crossed the alkaline plains and through the cañons of the Sierra Nevada to San Francisco, taking post at the Presidio. The next year he was stationed at Forts Vancouver and Dalles; was engaged in the expedition against the Yakima Indians, and received his promotion, Sep. 1, of First Lieutenant. Soon after joining his company at San Francisco, he was ordered to Fort Yuma, Cal., probably the most uncomfortable of our frontier posts. Here he was engaged in the responsible duties of Quartermaster, and of conducting several detachments of recruits across the hot, arid desert of Lower California, to which he often afterwards referred as the most disagreeable of all his army service.

Lieutenant Tyler participated, in 1858, in the Spokane Expedition, being engaged in the Combats of the Four Lakes and of Spokane Plains, and in the Skirmish on Spokane River, in all of which contests he bore a most creditable part. He was attached, in 1859, to Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.T. W. Sherman's Light Battery at Fort Ridgely, Min., which proved to him a valuable school of instruction; and the next year he joined his company at the Fort Columbus Recruiting Depot, New York Harbor, where he remained until the breaking out of the Rebellion.

Lieutenant Tyler sailed, in April, 1861, with the expedition intended to relieve Fort Sumter, Charleston Harbor, S. C.; was an unwilling spectator of the bombardment of that almost powerless work; and returned to New York city on the steamer Baltic, which brought off Major Anderson and his gallant command. Soon after he was assigned to duty as Inspector-General on the Staff of Major-General Patterson, which position he relinquished to take command, in May, 1861, of a light battery, with which he assisted in opening the communications through Baltimore, Md., closed after the attack of April 19 upon the Sixth Massachusetts Regiment.

Lieutenant Tyler was appointed May 17, 1861, a Captain in the Quartermaster's Department, and was immediately ordered to Alexandria, Va., with Ellsworth's Zouaves, to establish depots, from which, during the whole of 1861, supplies of stores and provisions were distributed to the forces in Virginia and around Washington.

Captain Tyler, Sep. 17, 1861, was next appointed Colonel of the Fourth Connecticut Volunteers, a regiment which, from bad handling in the Shenandoah Valley, had become completely demoralized, and whose rank and file were fast deserting their colors. It was under such discouraging circumstances that the young Colonel took command; but, almost as by magic, these raw, disorderly militia recruits were suddenly transformed into disciplined soldiers. He established schools for both commissioned and non-commissioned officers; gave promotion to the more exemplary and deserving; and at his post near Washington (Fort Richardson) commenced  p540 that system of minute, practical instruction which subsequently made this regiment the admiration of the Army. His Argus eyes saw everything; all soldierly acts were rewarded, and severe punishment was inflicted for every breach of military discipline; and, while indulgent to the obedient and prompt to commend merit, he was, at the same time, as stern as fate to the derelict and the insubordinate.

Colonel Tyler's regiment, by order of the War Department, became, Jan. 2, 1862, the "First Connecticut Heavy Artillery," and continued in the Defenses of Washington till Apr. 4, 1862, when Tyler was assigned to the command of the siege train of the Army of the Potomac. He conducted seventy-one pieces of artillery to Yorktown, — the first objective in the Virginia Peninsular Campaign, — but the enemy abandoned the place just as the guns, with much labor, were put in battery. With great difficulty the same train was afterwards embarked and transported to the "White House" on the Pamunky River.

In the subsequent movements on Richmond, Colonel Tyler received high commendations for the distinguished part his regiment took in the Capture of Hanover Court House, and in the Battles of Gaines's Mill and Malvern Hill. When general Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.McClellan retired from the Peninsula, Colonel Tyler's regiment did splendid service, in concert with the gunboats, in protecting the rear of the Army. With incredible effort, and under the most trying difficulties, he brought off the entire siege train, saving many of his heavy guns by drawing them away by hand. Of his meritorious conduct in this campaign, the Adjutant-General of Connecticut officially said: "The high reputation for discipline and drill acquired by this regiment, during its arduous services in the field, was due in a great measure to the acknowledged excellence and superior qualities of the commanding officer." At the same time the President of the United States, in recognition of his brilliant services, appointed him, Nov. 29, 1862, a Brigadier-General of Volunteers.

Upon the application of General Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Burnside, who had succeeded McClellan, General Tyler was assigned to the command of the artillery of the Centre Grand Division of the Army of the Potomac, in which position he did excellent service during the Battle and Bombardment of Fredericksburg, Va., Dec. 13‑15, 1862.

General Tyler was assigned, May 2, 1863, to the command of the "Artillery Reserve" of the Army of the Potomac, which played an important part in the Battle of Chancellorsville, and in the pursuit of Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Lee's army into Pennsylvania. At the Battle of Gettysburg this Artillery Reserve comprised over one hundred and thirty guns, and more than three hundred ammunition wagons. The grand part which the artillery played in this death struggle with the Confederacy is too well known to require description here. Impatiently awaiting the signal for action, Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Hunt, the chief, and Tyler, his able assistant, opened with almost one hundred guns, from Cemetery Hill to the Round Top, upon Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Pickett's magnificent assaulting column, tearing vast gaps in the advancing ranks, and almost annihilating that proud array of eighteen thousand of the best Southern infantry. General Tyler, in this battle of the giants, had two horses shot under him, and his coolness, skill, and intrepidity contributed greatly to the success of the final struggle. General Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Meade, in his official dispatch, warmly commended his "efficient and distinguished services;" and Swinton, in his "History of the Army of the Potomac," says, "As the batteries exhausted their ammunition, it was replaced by the 'Artillery reserve,' sent forward by its efficient chief, General Robert O. Tyler." After Gettysburg, Tyler was engaged in the pursuit of the enemy to Culpeper, Va., and commanded the artillery in the Combat of Rappahannock Station, and in the Mine Run Operations. From Jan. 1 to May, 1864, he was a Division Commander in the Twenty-Second  p541 Army Corps, covering the Capital and the communications of the Army of the Potomac; and afterwards, in the command of a division of Heavy Artillery, was attached to the Second Army Corps.

On the opening of the Richmond campaign, General Tyler was ordered to Belle Plain, to take command of a division of Heavy Artillery, acting as infantry, attached to the Army of the Potomac; and in the battles about Spottsylvania, when occupying the extreme right, May 19, 1864, he gallantly repulsed a furious assault of Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Ewell's Confederate corps in such a mention as to win from General Meade a congratulatory order, "thanking General Tyler, his officers and men, for their gallant conduct and brilliant success in the engagement."

In the subsequent vigorous pursuit of the enemy by the Army of the Potomac, he fought at North Anna, Tolopotomy, and Cold Harbor. In this last terrible battle, leading his picked brigade, he was severely wounded by a rifle-ball passing through his ankle. Finding himself disabled, he sent an order to Colonel Porter, of the Eighth New York Artillery, to assume the command; but that accomplished gentleman, ripe scholar, and gallant officer had already fallen before the foe. The next in rank was the brave McMahon, who, with part of his regiment, had just stormed opposing intrenchments and planted his colors thereon; but he, too, had been pierced with many wounds, and gave up his life in the enemy's hands. Cold Harbor will long be remembered as the bravest battle and bloodiest butchery of this campaign, without accomplishing a single military result. Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Grant lost not less than seven thousand veteran soldiers in this engagement, and when he ordered a renewal of the assault, "the whole army, correctly appreciating what the inevitable issue must be, silently disobeyed." For ten days after, so exhausted were both armies by the fearful carnage that they lay supine, confronting each other in their trenches.

Tyler's active military career was now closed; his hitherto vigorous constitution had received a shock from which he never recovered; and, as truly remarked by a friend, "although he long survived the war, he was killed at Cold Harbor."

For his many distinguished services he was brevetted in the Regular Army a Major for Fredericksburg; Lieutenant-Colonel for Gettysburg; Colonel for Spottsylvania; Brigadier-General for Cold Harbor; and Major-General "for gallant and meritorious services in the field during the Rebellion." Besides these well-earned honors, he received a sixth brevet, that of Major-General of United States Volunteers, "for great gallantry at the Battle of Cold Harbor."

The citizens of Hartford, the abode of his boyhood, presented General Tyler with a sword of honor as a token of their regard and of their appreciation of his personal gallantry at Spottsylvania and Cold Harbor, and the honorable distinction he had won in the many engagements of the Civil War. Connecticut, his adopted State, through its Legislature, passed a graceful resolution, thanking him for his distinguished military services in the many battles in which he had won unfading laurels.

After a six months' sick-leave of absence on account of his severe wound, he went on duty as Commissioner, on the part of the United States, for the disbursement of the Cotton Fund for the supply of rebel prisoners; and this duty having terminated, he was assigned to the command of the District of Delaware and the Eastern Shore (to which Pennsylvania was subsequently added), with headquarters in the city of Philadelphia.

Upon the re-organization of the army, after the close of the war, General Tyler was appointed, July 29, 1866, Lieutenant-Colonel and Deputy Quartermaster-General, being successively stationed, as chief of his department, at Charleston, S. C., Louisville, Ky., San Francisco, Cal.,  p542 New York city, and Boston, Mas. In this lesser sphere of action he exhibited the same zeal, energy, industry, and conscientiousness that had characterized his stirring career in the recent war.

General Tyler's declining health, consequent upon his wound, induced him to make a trip to Europe in 1868‑69; and again, in August, 1872, to apply for a year's leave of absence for the purpose of making the tour round the world. Sailing from San Francisco, he visited Japan, China, and India. His long journey brought him no relief; and on his return, for month after month, — while performing his duties with punctilious fidelity, — he secretly suffered, growing weaker and weaker, till death suddenly closed his brief and brilliant career.

He was buried at Hartford, in the beautiful Cedar Hill Cemetery, with the highest military honors. The Governor of Connecticut ordered the flags of all the military departments of the State to be displayed at half-staff; the public offices to be closed on the day he was to be buried; and four companies of the First Connecticut National Guards to be detailed, under the command of the colonel of the regiment, to act as a funeral escort to the deceased.

His devoted sister, Mrs. Cowen, thus writes of him: "So closed the earthly career of this gallant officer and true soldier. His record tells its own story, but it cannot speak of the high qualities which made up the finished character. His strict sense of justice; his perfect integrity and fine sense of honor; his devoted love of country and his loyalty to his friends; his scrupulous regard for the feelings of others; his cultivated mind and warm, affectionate heart, — who can justly estimate in words the value of all these characteristics?"

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