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Bill Thayer

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 [decorative delimiter] Class of 1858

Vol. II

(Born Va.)

John S. Saunders​1

(Ap'd at Large)


John Selden Saunders: Born Jan. 30, 1836, Norfolk, VA.

Military History. — Cadet at the Military Academy, July 1, 1854, to July 1, 1858, when he was graduated and promoted in the Army to

Bvt. Second Lieut. of Artillery, July 1, 1858.

Served as Asst. Ordnance Officer at Watervliet Arsenal, N. Y., 1858‑59,

(Transferred to Ordnance Corps, Sep. 1, 1858)

(Second Lieut., Ordnance, Feb. 1, 1861)

and at Washington Arsenal, D. C., 1859‑61.

 p701  Resigned, Apr. 22, 1861.​a

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

Civil History. — Unknown, nothing authentic having been received.

Vol. IV
[Supplement, Vol. IV: 1890‑1900]

Civil History.Inspector-General 1st Brigade Maryland National Guard, with rank of Colonel. — Insurance business. — Post-office address, Baltimore, Md.

Vol. V
[Supplement, Vol. V: 1900‑1910]

Civil History. — Insurance business. — Post-office address, Baltimore, Md.

Died Jan. 19, 1904, at Annapolis, Md.: Aged 68.

See Annual Association of Graduates, U. S. M. A., 1904, for an obituary notice, with a portrait.

Buried, Green Mount Cemetery, Baltimore, MD.

The Author's Note:

1 Son of Commander John L. Saunders, U. S. N.º

Thayer's Notes:

a Maybe the most puzzling thing about the War between the States is why it happened in the first place; it is often said that just because Lincoln had been elected President was hardly a reason for citizens, in a democratic country where the leader was fairly chosen by all, to leave en masse. John Saunders, at the end of this passage from Hudson Strode, Jefferson Davis: Confederate President (New York, 1959; p12) gives voice to some of those who left (my italics); the scene is Washington, D. C., on the evening of Lincoln's inaugural:

On the night of March 4, De Leon had attended a farewell dinner at Wormley's with Wade Hampton, Jr., and some other Southern blades. Dining in the next room was General Winfield Scott, and according to "Jim," the popular mulatto waiter, the General looked "worrit in his mind, not talking, just eating, but eating power­ful." As ticket holders drove through a depressing drizzle to the Inaugural Ball, De Leon and his friends took a hack for the Aquia Creek mail boat. When their vehicle passed a gaslit corner, the head of a U. S. light battery, who was slowly trotting back to the arsenal, stopped them. It was Lieutenant John Saunders, who had been "protecting" the district about the Treasury. He wanted to bid De Leon farewell. He avowed that in the day's "Peace Pageant" his cannon had really been shotted with canister and that Lincoln's foot escort had had ball cartridges in every musket. "Today settled it," he declared. "My resignation goes in tonight. I shan't wait for Virginia. If I have to shoot at Americans, I'll do it from the other side of the Potomac."

He did, finally, wait for Virginia, resigning five days after she seceded.

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b As with other Confederate officers, Cullum's Register omits his war record: according to the Southern Historical Society Papers, he was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel December 5, 1862 and served at the Ordnance Bureau in Richmond.

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Page updated: 8 Jul 13