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Bill Thayer

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 [decorative delimiter] Class of 1826

Vol. I

(Born R. I.)

Silas Casey​a

(Ap'd R. I.)


Born July 12, 1807, East Greenwich, RI.

Military History. — Cadet at the Military Academy, July 1, 1822, to July 1, 1826, when he was graduated and promoted in the Army to

Bvt. Second Lieut., 7th Infantry, July 1, 1826.

Second Lieut., 2d Infantry, July 1, 1826.

Served: on frontier duty at Ft. Towson, I. T., 1826‑29, being engaged in a Skirmish with hostile Indians, Sep. 2, 1828; in garrison at Sackett's Harbor, N. Y., 1829‑30, 1830‑32; on Recruiting service, 1832‑33; in garrison at Ft. Niagara, N. Y., 1833‑34, — and Ft. Gratiot, Mich.,

(First Lieut., 2d Infantry, June 28, 1836)

1834‑36; in Creek Nation, 1836; in the Florida War against the Seminole Indians, 1837‑41, 1841‑42, being engaged leading the advance in the

(Captain, 2d Infantry, July 1, 1839)

Rout of Halleck Tustennuggee's band in the Big Hammock of Pilaklikaha, Apr. 19, 1842; in garrison at Buffalo, N. Y., 1842‑45, — and Ft. Mackinac, Mich., 1845‑47; in the War with Mexico, 1847‑48, being engaged in the Skirmish of Ocalaca, Aug. 16, 1847, — Battle of Contreras, Aug. 19‑20, 1847, — Battle of Churubusco, Aug. 20, 1847, — Battle of

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

Molino del Rey, Sep. 8, 1847, — and in the Storming of Chapultepec, Sep. 13, 1847, where he was severely wounded while leading the assaulting

(Bvt. Lieut.‑Col., Sep. 13, 1847,
for Gallant and Meritorious Conduct in the Battle of Chapultepec, Mex.)

column under his command;​1 in garrison at Ft. Hamilton, N. Y., 1848; on voyage to California, 1848‑49; on frontier duty at Benicia, Cal., 1849, — in escorting Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Capt. Warner's Topographical party, 1849, — Benicia, Cal., 1849‑51, — Expedition to Port Orford and Coquille River, Or., 1851‑52, — and at Benicia, Cal., 1852; on Recruiting service, 1852‑54; as Member of a Board of Officers, 1854‑55, to revise the

(Lieut.‑Colonel, 9th Infantry, Mar. 3, 1855)

"Rifle and Light Infantry Tactics," adopted Mar. 29, 1855, for the service of the United States, — of Board for Dragoon Manual for Colt's Revolver, 1854, — and of Board for the examination of Breech-loading  p384 Arms, 1854‑55; and on frontier duty, in command of Puget Sound District, Wash., Jan. 17, 1856, to Feb. 19, 1857, being engaged in Operations against the hostile Indians, Mar.‑June, 1856, — Ft. Steilacoom, Wash., 1856‑57, 1857‑59, — San Juan Island, Wash., 1859, — and Ft. Steilacoom, Wash., 1859‑61.

Served during the Rebellion of the Seceding States, 1861‑66: in

(Brig.‑General, U. S. Volunteers, Aug. 31, 1861)

organizing, disciplining, and instructing Volunteers at Washington, D. C.,

(Colonel, 4th Infantry, Oct. 9, 1861)

Sep. 12, 1861, to Mar. 28, 1862; in the Virginia Peninsular Campaign (Army of the Potomac), Mar.‑July, 1862, being engaged in the Battle of Fair Oaks, May 31, 1862, — and in command at the White House, Va.,

(Bvt. Brig.‑General, U. S. Army, May 31, 1862,
for Gallant and Meritorious Conduct at the Battle of Fair Oaks, Va.)

June, 1862; in command of Provisional Brigade, at Washington, D. C.,

(Major-General, U. S. Volunteers, May 31, 1862)

Aug. 11, 1862, to Feb., 1863; as President of the Board for the Examination of Candidates for Officers of Colored Troops, May 22, 1863, to

(Bvt. Maj.‑General, U. S. Army, Mar. 13, 1865,
for Gallant and Meritorious Services during the Rebellion)

July 5, 1865; and on leave of absence, July 5 to Oct. 2, 1865.

Mustered out of Volunteer Service, Aug. 24, 1865.

Served: in command of regiment and troops at Ft. Wayne and Detroit, Mich., Oct. 2, 1865, to Apr. 5, 1867; and as Commissioner to examine the War Claims of Ohio, Apr. 17 to Dec. 31, 1867; on Court of Inquiry, 1868; awaiting orders, Mar.‑Oct., 1868; and as Member of Retiring Board, New York city, Oct. 28, 1868, to Apr. 26, 1869.

Retired from Active Service, July 8, 1868, on his own Application, after 40 consecutive Years of Service.

Civil History. — Compiled and edited a system of "Infantry Tactics" (based upon the French "Ordonnances" of 1831 and 1845), which was adopted for the service of the United States, Aug. 11, 1862;​b and of "Infantry Tactics for Colored Troops," adopted, Mar. 9, 1863.

Died, Jan. 22, 1882, at Brooklyn, N. Y.: Aged 75.

Buried, Silas Casey Lot, North Kingstown, RI.

Biographical Sketch.

Bvt. Major-General Silas Casey was born, July 12, 1807, at East Greenwich, R. I., and died, January 22, 1882, at Brooklyn, N. Y. At the age of fifteen he entered the Military Academy, from which he was graduated July 1, 1826, and thence promoted to the Infantry, with which he served ten years on frontier duty, in garrison and on recruiting service. In 1836 he was ordered to Florida, where he was engaged against the Seminole Indians till the termination of the war in 1842. After three years of service on the Northern frontier, he joined General Scott in Mexico, where he was engaged in the battles fought in the Valley, and was particularly distinguished in the assault of Chapultepec, where he was severely wounded in leading the storming column. For his "gallant and meritorious conduct" in this war he received the brevets of Major and Lieut.‑Colonel, and the thanks of the Legislature of his native State.

 p385  Soon after Casey's return from Mexico he embarked for California, via Cape Horn. For three years, while on the Pacific Coast, he was most of the time campaigning against hostile Indians; and for the three following years was on Recruiting service and on Tactical Boards in New York city. Upon the creation of two new regiments, he was promoted from a Captain in the Second to be Lieut.‑Colonel of the Ninth Infantry. With his new regiment he again went to the Pacific Coast, where he was engaged against Oregon Indians, and in guarding the U. S. Northwest Boundary during threatened troubles with Great Britain. Though these active duties were onerous, he found time to perfect a system of Infantry Tactics, which was adopted in 1862, and used by both the Union and Confederate armies.

Casey, Aug. 31, 1861, was appointed Brigadier-General U. S. Volunteers, and assigned to the command of a Provisional Brigade, at Washington, till he took charge of a division of the Army of the Potomac in the Virginia Peninsular Campaign, with which he was severely engaged, May 31, 1862, at the Battle of Fair Oaks. For his "gallant and meritorious conduct" here, he received the brevet of Brig.‑General, U. S. Army, was commissioned Major-General, U. S. Volunteers, and was voted the thanks of the Rhode Island Legislature. He resumed, Aug. 11, 1862, the command of the Provisional Brigade at Washington, and from May 22, 1861, to July 5, 1865, was President of the Board for the examination of Candidates for Officers of Colored Troops.

Aug. 24, 1865, Casey, after receiving the brevet of Major-General, U. S. Army, was mustered out of the Volunteer Service, and, July 8, 1868, was retired upon his own application after forty consecutive years of service.

Casey was a reserved, unassuming gentleman, a gallant soldier, a skilled tactician, and a proficient scholar in higher mathematics, particularly the application of calculus and quaternions.

The Author's Note:

1 Received the thanks of the Legislature of his native State, Rhode Island, for his meritorious services in the War with Mexico; and, in 1867, for his services during the Rebellion, especially for "his bravery, skill, and energy at the Battle of Fair Oaks, Va."

Thayer's Notes:

a He was the father of Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Thomas Lincoln Casey.

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b Some slight details are given by Ganoe in The History of the United States Army, p285. The work itself, Infantry Tactics, for the Instruction, Exercise, and Manoeuvres of the Soldier, a Company, Line of Skirmishers, Battalion, Brigade, or Corps d'Armée (Van Nostrand, New York, 1862/63), is found at Archive.Org, complete — although in photostat form, in which many images are useless:

Vol. I, Schools of the Soldier and Company. Instructions for Skirmishers and Music. 279 pp.

Vol. II, School of the Battalion. 279 pp.

Vol. III, Evolutions of a Brigade and Corps D'Armée. 183 pp.

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Page updated: 16 Jul 20