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Bill Thayer

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 [decorative delimiter] Class of 1822

Vol. I

(Born Vt.)

George Wright

(Ap'd Vt.)


Born Oct. 21, 1801 or 1803, Norwich, VT.

Military History. — Cadet at the Military Academy, Sep. 14, 1818, to July 1, 1822, when he was graduated and promoted in the Army to

Second Lieut., 3d Infantry, July 1, 1822.

Served: on frontier duty at Ft. Howard, Wis., 1822‑24; on Recruiting service, 1824‑26; on frontier duty at Ft. Howard, Wis., 1826; in garrison at Jefferson Barracks, Mo., 1826‑28; on frontier duty at Ft. Leavenworth,

(First Lieut., 3d Infantry, Sep. 23, 1827)

Kan., 1828‑29, — Expedition to Council Bluffs, Io., 1829, — Ft. Leavenworth, Kan., 1829, — and Jefferson Barracks, Mo., 1829‑31; as Adjutant, 3d Infantry, at Regimental headquarters, Feb. 1, 1831, to

(Captain, 3d Infantry, Oct. 30, 1836)

Oct. 30, 1836; on Recruiting service, 1837‑38; on the Northern Frontier

(Transferred to 8th Infantry, July 7, 1838)

during Canada Border Disturbances, in Recruiting, 1838, — and at Sackett's Harbor, N. Y., 1838‑40; in garrison at Jefferson Barracks, Mo., 1840; in the Florida War, 1840‑41, 1841‑42; in garrison at Ft. Brooke, Fla., 1843, — and Key West, Fla., 1843‑44; on Recruiting service, 1844‑

(Bvt. Major, Mar. 15, 1842, for Meritorious Conduct, in Zeal, Energy, and Perseverance, in the War against the Florida Indians)

46; in the War with Mexico, 1846‑48, being engaged in the Siege of Vera Cruz, Mar. 9‑29, 1847, — Battle of Cerro Gordo, Apr. 17‑18, 1847, — Capture of San Antonio, Aug. 20, 1847, — Battle of Churubusco,

(Bvt. Lieut.‑Col., Aug. 20, 1847, for Gallant and Meritorious Conduct
in the Battles of Contreras and Churubusco, Mex.)

Aug. 20, 1847, — and Battle of Molino del Rey, Sep. 8, 1847, where he

(Bvt. Colonel, Sep. 8, 1847,
for Gallant and Meritorious Conduct in the Battle of Molino del Rey, Mex.)

commanded the storming party and was wounded; in Mustering troops out of service, 1848; in garrison at Ft. Ontario, N. Y., 1848‑52, — Ft.

(Major, 4th Infantry, Jan. 1, 1848)

Columbus, N. Y., 1852, — and Benicia, Cal., 1852; in command of Northern District of California, Sep. 17, 1852, to May 19, 1855, headquarters

(Lieut.‑Colonel, 4th Infantry, Feb. 3, 1855)

(Colonel, 9th Infantry, Mar. 3, 1855)

at Ft. Reading, Cal.; in garrison at Ft. Monroe, Va., 1855; on  p289 frontier duty at Ft. Vancouver, Wash., 1856; in command of the Northern District of the Department of the Pacific, Jan. 28, 1856, to July, 1857, — at the Cascades, Wash., 1856, which he defended against an attack of hostile Indians, Mar. 27‑28, 1856, — on Yakima Expedition, 1856, — at Ft. Vancouver, Wash., 1856, — on march to Walla-Walla, Wash., 1856, — and at Ft. Dalles, Or., 1856‑58; in command of Spokane Expedition, Wash., 1858, being engaged in the Combat at Four Lakes, Sep. 1, 1858, — Combat of Spokane Plains, Sep. 5, 1858, — and Skirmish on Spokane River, Sep. 8, 1858, — at Ft. Dalles, Wash., 1858‑59; on frontier duty at Ft. Walla-Walla, Wash., 1859‑60, — and at Ft. Vancouver, Wash., 1860‑61; and in command of the Department of Oregon, July 5, 1860, to Sep. 13, 1861.

Served during the Rebellion of the Seceding States, 1861‑65: in command

(Brig.‑General, U. S. Volunteers, Sep. 28, 1861)

of the Department of the Pacific, Oct. 20, 1861, to July 1, 1864, —

(Bvt. Brig.‑General, U. S. Army, Dec. 19, 1864,
for Long, Faithful, and Meritorious Services)

and of the District of California, July 1, 1864, to July 27, 1865.

Drowned, July 30, 1865: Aged 62,

in the wreck of the steamer Brother Jonathan, while on his way to assume command of the Department of the Columbia, to which he had been assigned by the President.

Buried,a Sacramento City Cemetery, Sacramento, CA.

Biographical Sketch.

Bvt. Brig.‑General George Wright was born Oct. 21, 1803, at Norwich, Vt., in the picturesque valley of Connecticut River. Here he received his early education at Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Partridge's Military School, which fitted him for West Point, where he was graduated, July 1, 1822, and promoted to the Third Infantry, in which he served on frontier duty and was its accomplished Adjutant for five years. Upon the creation of the Eighth Infantry he was transferred to it with advanced rank in consideration of his soldierly qualifications. After the failure of the Armistead campaign in 1840 against the Seminole Indians, Colonel Worth was assigned, with Wright as his selected Adjutant-General, to terminate this tedious and expensive war amid the pestilential swamps of Florida. The success of our arms was in no small degree due to Wright, whose efficiency won for him the esteem and confidence of the Army, and the brevet of Major from the Government for his "zeal, energy, and perseverance."

Wright accompanied Scott's Army in the invasion of Mexico, and was engaged in every conflict from the siege of Vera Cruz to the assault of Molino del Rey, where he intrepidly led the stormers, and was severely wounded. For his "gallant and meritorious services" in this war he received the brevets of Lieut.‑Colonel and Colonel.

Upon the creation of new regiments in 1855, he was placed at the head of the Ninth Infantry, and the following year, upon the breaking out of Indian hostilities in Oregon and Washington Territories, was ordered with his regiment to Ft. Vancouver. Here, in command of this Northwestern District, he so severely punished the hostile tribes that, to this day, Wright's name is a terror in their habitation.

At the breaking out of the Rebellion, Wright was appointed a Brigadier-General, U. S. Volunteers, and assigned to the important command of the Department of the Pacific. Few, save prominent Californians, knew to what extent the machinations of the Secessionists had been carried in the Golden State, and how they were foiled by the prudence,  p290 firmness, and conciliation of the commanding general. But the pen of history will record that it was the sleepless vigilance, unflagging energy, wise prudence, and uncompromising yet unpretending patriotism of General Wright and his coadjutors which saved this vast region from the horrors of civil war.

In 1865 Wright was ordered to the command of the newly created Department of Columbia, and while proceeding to his headquarters was drowned, July 30, in the wreck of the steamer Brother Jonathan off the coast of Southern Oregon. Thus perished in the stormy sea this fearless veteran, who so oft had braved the storm of bullets on many sanguinary fields of battle.

General Wright was a thorough soldier, and advanced the profession to which he devoted the aims and energies of his life. "None but a wise man, a brave man, a just man, an honest man, a man of noble impulses, of refined culture, of strong, generous affections, of untiring industry, of indomitable energy, of cool judgment, of sound common sense, of pure, lofty, heart-rooted patriotism, could have accomplished what he accomplished, — rising gradually to the highest ranks, amid the generous but intense rivalries of his profession; and amid fierce political jealousies, and the seething and volcanic elements of revolution, securing so greatly the esteem and confidence of those under his command, the highest respect of the communities in which he lived, and the unbounded personal love of that refined social circle which shared more intimately his affections and his life."

"Rest, white-haired veteran, 'neath the murmuring waves:

No more the sounds of war disturb thy sleep;

Our land, all strewn with patriot-warriors' graves,

Gives one proud conquest to the mighty deep!"

Thayer's Note:

a In view of the verse envoi at the end of the Biographical Sketch, we may wonder whether the monument shown on the page linked here is an actual tomb or a cenotaph. On balance, despite the verse, probably the former, since his wife, who died a few years before him, seems to be buried there as well.

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Page updated: 5 Jan 14