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 [decorative delimiter] Class of 1807

Vol. I

(Born Eng.)

Samuel Noah

(Ap'd N. Y.)

Military History. — Cadet of the Military Academy, May 5, 1805, to Dec. 9, 1807, when he was graduated and promoted in the Army to

Ensign, 2d Infantry, Dec. 9, 1807.

Second Lieut., 2d Infantry, Aug. 18, 1808.

First Lieut., 2d Infantry, Nov. 6, 1810.

 p79  Served on frontier duty in the Gulf States, 1808‑11.

Resigned Mar. 13, 1811.

After his resignation from the U. S. Army, served as a volunteer, 1812‑13 (with the rank of First Lieut., Feb. 8 to July 13, 1813), in the Patriot Army of Mexico, in its invasion of the Province of Texas, and was engaged in the Capture of Ft. Bahia (Goliad, since 1829), Nov. 14, 1812, — Defense of Ft. Bahia, Nov. 14, 1812, to March 28, 1813, — Combat, near San Antonio, Tex., April 4, 1813, in command of the Rear Guard of the Army, and Capture of San Antonio, Tex., Apr. 7, 1813. Informed of the United States' Declaration of War against Great Britain, he, with difficulty, left Texas, and not being able to obtain a commission at Washington, served, Aug. 18, 1814, to Feb. 15, 1815, as a volunteer in the Defense of Brooklyn and Harlem Heights, New York harbor, in which position, from his military information, he rendered valuable assistance to the inexperienced militia forces.

Civil History. — School Teacher, near Goshen, Orange County, N. Y., 1816‑20, — in Hanover County, Va., 1823‑30, — in Orange County, Va., 1830‑36, — Mount Meridian, Va., 1836‑37, — and in Bath County, Va., 1837‑48.

Died, Mar. 10, 1871, at Mount Pulaski, Ill.: Aged 91.

Biographical Sketch.

Samuel Noah, who was born July 19, 1779, in the city of London, died March 10, 1871, at Mount Pulaski, Logan County, Illinois, at the advanced age of nearly ninety-two, he having been for several years the senior surviving graduate of the U. S. Military Academy. He was of Jewish descent, and was the cousin of Mordecai M. Noah, formerly Consul to Tunis, and for many years the editor of various New York journals.

When twenty years old he emigrated to this country, and after a residence of several years in New York city, solicited a midshipman's appointment, but not succeeding, accepted, May 5, 1805, that of a Cadet in the First Regiment of Artillery. Being intelligent and a good penman, he was often selected as amanuensis to the Superintendent of the Military Academy, and frequently acted as Judge-Advocate or Recorder of Courts at West Point. Upon graduation, Dec. 9, 1807, preferring the infantry arm, he was promoted an Ensign in the Second Regiment, which, after a tedious journey, he joined at Cantonment Columbia Springs, in the rear of Ft. Adams, Miss. Here he devoted his leisure hours to the study of the early campaigns of Napoleon, who was then the military prodigy of the world; but this fascinating occupation was soon interrupted by his having to watch smugglers on the Florida frontier, and march for one unhealthy camp to another in the Gulf States. During these migrations he met Captain Winfield Scott just after his duel near Natchez with Dr. Upshur (brother of the Secretary of State blown up on board the Princeton); Lieutenant Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.James Gibson, subsequently killed at the sortie from Ft. Erie; General James Wilkinson, Captain Edmund P. Gaines, General Wade Hampton, and other since famous officers, of whom he had many anecdotes to relate. Wearied finally with slow promotion, and disgusted that ignorant civilians were appointed to rank him, he resigned, Mar. 13, 1811, his commission of First Lieutenant in the Army.

Soon after this period, a Mexican deputation from the Junta of Coahuila, General Bernardo Gutierrez and a Captain Manshae, arrived at Natchitoches,º where Lieutenant Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Magee, a graduate of 1809, was stationed, and offered him the command, with the rank of Colonel, of the combined force there assembled of Mexicans and Anglo-Americans. After Magee assumed  p80 the command, Noah, allured by visions of a golden future, joined as First Lieutenant this little, undisciplined Falstaffian regiment on the Brazos River while on its march to Ft. Bahia, which it entered Nov. 14, 1812; but no sooner was the fort in possession of the "Patriot Army" than the Spanish Royalists besieged it with a force of five times the strength of the garrison. In this struggle poor Colonel Magee sickened and died, and was buried with the honors of war during the enemy's cannonade, a 6‑pounder ball lodging close to his grave. After the siege was raised, March 28, 1813, and the Patriots reinforced, their little army, with Noah in command of its rear guard, pursued and routed the Royalists, April 4, 1813, in a sharp combat near San Antonio, and three days later entered the capital of Texas, Salcedo, the Governor, surrendering at discretion with his entire force.

Informed soon after of the United States' declaration of war against Great Britain, Noah, true to the flag of his adopted country, left Texas, and, escaping through many perils by flood and field, reached the city of Washington, where he was most sadly disappointed in not being commissioned by President Madison in the United States Army. Nothing daunted, however, he proceeded to New York, and volunteered his services as a private soldier in Captain Benjamin Dunning's company for the defense of Brooklyn, then being fortified with field-works by General Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Joseph G. Swift, to repel an anticipated descent of the British on Long Island at Sag Harbor. His services here and in Harlem Heights, to the close of the war, in aid of the inexperienced militia forces, were most zealous and untiring, his military education, practical knowledge, and quick intelligence proving power­ful auxiliaries to his patriotic devotion to duty. When he applied his helping hand to bring order out of the existing chaos, the condition of affairs will be best understood by the following order then published on parade by Brigade Major Hamilton: —

"The General commanding feels himself impelled by the present exigency, which threatens an immediate call for actual hostilities and resolute resistance, to express his sentiments unreservedly to all the captains he now has the honor to command, for it must be apparent to them that, how respectable soever they may be at home, they are decidedly deficient in a military point of view, and consequently cannot, at this important crisis, be considered competent to perform the duties which must necessarily devolve upon them. He therefore confidently trusts that they will see the propriety of transferring their respective commands to the skillful superintendence of such capable officers as may be selected to succeed them, and return to their respective places of residence, both for the benefit of the service and the security of the State."

After the termination of Noah's military career he taught school near Goshen, New York, till 1820; then for two years was in England, being present at the trial of Queen Caroline and coronation of George IV; resumed school-teaching, and was employed in various academies in Virginia till May 24, 1848; and subsequently resided with a faithful friend at Mount Pulaski, Logan County, Illinois, where he died.

The romantic record of Samuel Noah's early life is full of wild adventure and thrilling incidents; his after history was a curious medley — almost the very counterpart of the vicissitudes to which Gil Blas was exposed; and his long declining years were an old age of poverty, with little relief even from sources upon which he confidently counted to ease his weary journey to the grave.

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