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Bill Thayer

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 [decorative delimiter] Class of 1803

Vol. I

(Born Va.)

Walker K. Armistead

(Ap'd Va.)

Walker Keith Armistead: Born March 25, ca. 1780, Newmarket, VA.​a

Military History. — Cadet​1 of the Military Academy from its organization​2 to Mar. 5, 1803, when he was graduated and promoted in the Army to

Second Lieut., Corps of Engineers, Mar. 5, 1803.

First Lieut., Corps of Engineers, June 11, 1805.

Captain, Corps of Engineers, Oct. 30, 1806.

Served: at the Military Academy, 1803‑6; Asst. Engineer, Ft. Jay, N. Y., 1806‑7; Superintending Engineer of the defenses of New Orleans, La., 1807‑8, and of Norfolk, Va., 1808‑11; at the Military Academy,

(Major, Corps of Engineers, July 23, 1810)

 p57  1811‑12; in the War of 1812‑15 with Great Britain, as Chief Engineer of the Army, on the Niagara Frontier, in the Autumn of 1812, being engaged

(Lieut.‑Colonel, Corps of Engineers, July 31, 1812)

at Ft. Niagara during its bombardment, Nov. 21, 1812, — and of the forces for the defense of the mouth of Chesapeake Bay (including Norfolk and Craney Island), in 1813; as Superintending Engineer of the defenses of Chesapeake Bay and its tributary waters, 1814‑18; in command

(Colonel and Chief Engineer of the U. S. Army, Nov. 12, 1818)

of the Corps of Engineers and in charge of the Engineer Bureau at Washington, D. C., and Inspector of the Military Academy, Nov. 12,

(Colonel, 3d Artillery,
in Re-organization of Army, June 1, 1821)

1818, to June 1, 1821; at Headquarters of 3d Artillery, established at Ft. Washington, Md., 1821‑27, — Upperville, Va., 1827, — Ft. Washington, Md., 1827‑28, — Boston, Mas., 1828‑30, — New London, Ct., 1831‑32,

(Bvt. Brig.‑General, Nov. 12, 1828, for Faithful Service Ten Years in One Grade)

— Upperville, Va., 1832‑34, — and Ft. Monroe, Va., 1834‑36; in the Florida War, serving against the Seminole Indians, 1836‑37, 1838; on Court-Martial duty, 1838‑40; in command of Florida Army, serving against the Seminole Indians, May 6, 1840, to May 31, 1841; on Board for selection of site for a Western Armory, Oct. 15, 1841, to Feb. 9, 1843; in command of 3d Artillery at Ft. Moultrie, S. C., 1843‑44; and on sick leave of absence, 1844‑45.

Died, Oct. 13, 1845, at Upperville, Va.

Buried, Armistead Family Cemetery, Upperville, VA.

The Author's Notes:

1 Appointed Cadet for his good conduct as Orderly Sergeant in the Battle of Maumee Rapids, Aug. 20, 1794.

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2 Was then a Cadet of Artillerists and Engineers, receiving instruction at the post of West Point, N. Y., under the law of 1794 and subsequent acts of Congress.

Thayer's Note:

a Gen. Armistead's middle name, and the day and month of his birth, are from his tombstone (q.v.). The year of his birth is not agreed upon: old printed references range from 1773 to 1783 and 1785, this latter year being that adopted by Appleton's Cyclopaedia, a standard 19c reference work, from which it has been very widely repeated. That same photo of his tombstone, which ought to settle the matter, shows the day and month, but coyly conceals the year: given the difficulties in accessing his grave, as noted on that page, and my experience with worn stone and transcribed inscriptions, I'm not attaching much weight to the "1773" in the transcription there.

At any rate, the earlier date would have made Armistead just short of thirty when he entered the Academy: possible for the time, but not commented on, and so it seems unlikely to me. The later date would have made him a boy about ten years old when he fought in the Battle of Maumee Rapids; again, possible for the time, but unlikely. By way of compromise as it were, and very much for what it's worth, my own preference is March 25, 1783, since that year is given by a descendant, Virginia Armistead Garber, in The Armistead Family: 1635‑1910 (p66), and attached to the place, rarely noted elsewhere.

Gen. Armistead was the father of Lt. Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Franck Armistead.

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Page updated: 16 Jan 14