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Bill Thayer

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 [decorative delimiter] Class of 1827

Vol. I

(Born Pa.)

Abner R. Hetzel

(Ap'd Pa.)


Abner Riviere Hetzel: Born Oct. 6, 1805, Earl Township (Lancaster Co.), PA.​a

Military History. — Cadet at the Military Academy, July 1, 1823,  p399 to July 1, 1827, when he was graduated and promoted in the Army to

Bvt. Second Lieut. of Infantry, July 1, 1827.

Second Lieut., 2d Infantry, July 1, 1827.

Served: on Topographical duty, Dec. 24, 1827, to May 11, 1829; in garrison at Ft. Mackinac, Mich., 1829, — and Hancock Barracks, Me., 1829‑33; on Recruiting service, 1833‑34; on Engineer duty, June 11, 1834, to Mar. 24, 1835; and on Quartermaster duty at Washington, D. C.,

(Asst. Quartermaster, Mar. 24, 1835, to July 7, 1838)

1835, — as Assistant in the construction of the Delaware Breakwater,

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

1835‑36, — at Athens, Ga., and Ft. Cass, Ten., 1836‑38, — during Operations

(Capt., Staff — Asst. Quartermaster, July 7, 1838)

in the Cherokee Country, — in the Quartermaster-General's Office

(Captain, 2d Infantry, Nov. 27, 1839, to June 18, 1846)

at Washington, D. C., 1839‑46, — and at New Orleans, La., 1846‑47, in forwarding supplies for the War with Mexico.

Died, July 20, 1847, at Louisville, Ky.: Aged 42.​b

Buried, Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA.

Thayer's Notes:

a The birth data as I give them here is a portmanteau of sorts. The year is taken from his tombstone, and used to correct what I have to assume was a typo in the following genealogical entry in Genealogical and Memorial History of the State of New Jersey (Francis Bazley Lee, ed.; New York, Lewis Historical Publishing Co., 1910), p1383:

Abner Riviere, son on John and Mary (Pool) Hetzel, was born in Earl township, Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, October 6, 1803,º and died in 1848.º He was educated at West Point, where he graduated in the earlyº 1820's and rapidly rose in his profession, that of military engineering, and attained the rank of major. He designed and superintended the construction of the Delaware breakwater. In 1840 he was chief assistant to General Thomas S. Jesup,º then quartermaster-general of the United States army, and was sent to Mexico, where he had charge of the quartermaster's department in that country during the war of 1845º‑1848. At the close of hostilities he came back to the United States, and while on his way to Washington died of cholera at Louisville, Kentucky. He married Margaret Selden. The late Newton Hetzel Davies, of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and Major Frank Davies, of the United States army, were his nephews.

The additional errors in the sloppily written entry render suspect its information on other points, and where it differs from Cullum — his death date, his rôle in the construction of the Delaware breakwater, and his actually serving in-country in Mexico — I would side with Cullum. It will be noticed on the other hand from the Arlington Cemetery page that his wife's name, though chiseled in stone on their joint tomb as Margaretta, is given as Margaret in the Senate bills.

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b As noted on the well-researched Arlington National Cemetery site linked above, Capt. Hetzel was the author of Military Laws of the United States, or at least of its 3rd edition (Washington, D. C., George Templeman, 1846). The Register would probably have recorded this in a "Civil History" paragraph.

Capt. Hetzel's age at death as given by Cullum confirms his birthdate in 1805: Cullum frequently rounds the number up; and could not at any rate have had 1803 in mind.

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Page updated: 24 Oct 13