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Bill Thayer

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 [decorative delimiter] Class of 1872

Vol. III

(Born Md.)

Rogers Birnie

(Ap'd Md.)


Born Glenburn Farm, Carroll County, MD.​a

Military History. — Cadet at the Military Academy, Sep. 1, 1868, to June 14, 1872, when he was graduated and promoted in the Army to

Second Lieut., 13th Infantry, June 14, 1872.

Served: on frontier duty at Camp Douglas, Utah, Sep. 30, 1872, to July 16, 1874, — Regimental Quartermaster, Mar. 27 to Aug. 1, 1874;

(First Lieut., 13th Infantry, Feb. 13, 1874)

on Engineer duty on Lieut. Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Wheeler's Geographical Explorations west of 100th Meridian, Aug., 1874, to Mar. 15, 1879; as Assistant in the

(Transferred to Ordnance, June 13, 1878)

office of the Chief of Ordnance, to May 8, 1879, — and at Springfield Armory, Mas., to Jan. 1, 1880; on leave of absence, to Nov. 1, 1880; on Foundry duty at Cold Spring, N. Y., to July 15, 1886; and as Assistant in the office of the Chief of Ordnance, to –––––.

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

Military History. —

(Captain, Ordnance, June 14, 1886)

Served: As Assistant in the office of the Chief of Ordnance, Washington, D. C., July 15, 1886 to July 20, 1896; as expert adviser to the Board of Supervising Inspectors of steam vessels, Sept. 23 to Oct. 1, 1891; as member of Boards for examination of officers for transfer to the Ordnance Department, Dec. 7, 1891, Nov. 1, 1893, March 16, 1894, May 19, 1894, and March 8, 1897, and for promotion in the Ordnance Department, May 31, 1898 and May 12, 1899; as delegate to the International Congress of Military Engineers at the World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, July, 1893 (and read Essay on "Modern Guns and Breech Mechanism"); on special duty to investigate ammunition of field batteries at Chicago, July 19, 1894, and at Evanston, Ill., Aug. 23, 1894; as chief Ordnance Officer

(Lieut.‑Colonel and Chief Ordnance Officer, U. S. Volunteers, July 18, 1898)

7th Army Corps, in the field, July 23, 1898 to Jan. 11, 1899, and in charge of Ordnance Supply Depot at Jacksonville, Fla., July 23 to Oct. 31, 1898. — At Savannah, Ga., to Dec. 11, 1898, and at Havana, Cuba, Jan. 14 to March 1, 1899; on special duty at Havana to receive, from the Spanish officers in charge, the following forts, etc., with public property: Dec. 26, 1898, Castillo del Principe, Pirotecnia Militar, Cuartel de Belascoain, Reina Battery, and Magazine of San Antonio; Dec. 27, 1898, Fort San Diego and sea‑coast batteries No. 1 and No. 2; and Jan. 1, 1899, Morro Castle. — As Chief Ordnance officer, Military Division of Cuba, Jan. 14 to March 1, 1899;

(Honorably discharged from Volunteer Service, April 10, 1899)

 p216  as Assistant at Springfield Armory, Mas., March 10 to July 24, 1899; as member of the Board for Testing Rifled Cannon, June 20, 1899 to –––––; and of the Ordnance Board, New York City, July 25, 1899 to ––––

Civil History. — Author of Gun‑Making in the United States (1897), and of numerous professional papers on construction of modern steel guns.

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

Military History. — Served: As member of the Board for Testing Rifled Cannon, June 20, 1899 to –––––; and of the Ordnance Board, New York City, July 25, 1899, to

(Major, Ordnance, Feb. 7, 1901)

— As member of the Board of Engineers, U. S. Army, July 17, 1902 to Feb. 19, 1908; and of Board on Enlargement of U. S. Powder Depot, Dover, New Jersey, January, 1902; and of Joint Board of Army and Navy Officers to conduct competitive test of Gathmann 18‑inch and Army 12‑inch guns, firing shell charged with high explosive, April, 1902; and of Board to prepare plans for permanent improvement of the post of San Juan, Porto Rico, Sept., 1903.

(Lieut.‑Colonel, Ordnance, June 25, 1906)

— and of Board to select a suitable locality for the erection of an Army Powder Factory, Aug., 1906; and of Joint Board of Army and Navy Officers on Specifications for Steel Gun Forgings, Dec. 30, 1907 to –––––.

(Colonel, Ordnance, Oct. 7, 1907)

— As commanding officer, New York Arsenal, N. Y., Sept. 19 to Nov. 30, 1907; as Chief Ordnance Officer, Department of the East, Sept. 21 to Nov. 30, 1907; as Commanding Officer Sandy Hook Proving Ground, New Jersey, Jan. 4, 1908 to –––––.

Civil History. — Member of the Jury of Awards of the Jamestown Exposition, Va., Sept., 1907.

Vol. VI
[Supplement, Vol. VI: 1910‑1920]

(Born April 5, 1851.)

Military History. —

Colonel, Ordnance Department, Oct. 7, 1907.

Commanding Officer, Sandy Hook Proving Ground, N. J., Jan. 4, 1908, to Sept. 30, 1912; Acting Chief of Ordnance, October, 1912, to July, 1913, during the assignment of General Crozier to duty as President of the Army War College; Member of Board of Ordnance and Fortification, November, 1912, to July, 1913; President of Ordnance Board, of the Board for Testing Rifled Cannon, and of the Joint Board of Army and Navy Officers on Specifications for Steel Gun Forgings, July, 1913, to April 5, 1915.

Colonel, U. S. A., Retired, April 5, 1915,
By Operation of Law.

Civil History. — A recognized authority on gun construction and author of numerous professional papers, notably: Discussion of Steel for Heavy Guns, U. S. Naval Institute, January, 1887; Gun Making in the United States, Monograph, M. S. I., April, 1891; Modern Gun Construction, Congress of Military Engineers, World's Fair, Chicago, 1893; Stresses Due to Interior Cooling of Steel Cylinders, Bulletin Phil. Soc. of Washington, 1895; Ordnance for the Land Service, Vol. XXV Transactions Amer. Soc. of Mechanical Engineers, 1904; and the following "Ordnance Construction Notes" treating of experiments conducted and deductions therefrom in built‑up gun construction, viz.: Nos. 25 (1884), 32 (1885), 35 (1885), 39 (1886), 59 (1891); member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers; American Forestry Association; Philosophical Society of Washington; National Geographic Society; Life member American Association for the Advancement of Science; Chevalier of the Legion of Honor; Ordnance Advisor, International Arms and Fuze Company, Inc., works at Bloomfield, N. J.; and of International Manufacturing Company, Ltd., works at Montreal, Canada, May 1, 1915, to January 31, 1919; Consulting Ordnance Engineer.

Vol. VII
[Supplement, Vol. VII: 1920‑1930]

Military History: —

Colonel, U. S. A., Retired, Apr. 5, 1915,
By Operation of Law.

Civil History: — Member of firm of Birnie, Hawkins and Watson, consulting engineers, 511 Fifth Ave., New York City, to 1919, employed as expert witness by the government in the suit for compensation brought by the Semple Fuze Co., and in other suits involving knowledge of Ordnance material, 1919‑1922. Expert witness in several suits, since 1922, arising under the receiver­ship of the Maxim Gun Co.

[Supplement, Vol. VIII: 1930‑1940]

Military History: —

Col., Ret., Apr. 5, 1915.

Died, Sept. 25, 1939, at Washington, D. C.: Aged 88.

Portrait and obituary in Annual Report, Association of Graduates, for 1940, for an obituary notice.º

Buried, West Point Cemetery, West Point, NY.

Thayer's Note:

a Col. Birnie's birthplace is from his AOG obituary.

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Page updated: 13 Feb 16