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Bill Thayer

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 [decorative delimiter] Class of 1828

Vol. I

(Born Ky.)

John F. Lane

(Ap'd Ind.)


Military History. — Cadet at the Military Academy, July 1, 1824, to July 1, 1828, when he was graduated and promoted in the Army to

Bvt. Second Lieut. of Artillery, July 1, 1828.

Second Lieut., 4th Artillery, July 1, 1828.

Served: at the Military Academy, 1828‑29, as Asst. Professor of Mathematics, Aug. 31, 1828, to Feb. 1, 1829, — and as Asst. Professor of Natural and Experimental Philosophy, Feb. 1 to Aug. 31, 1829; in garrison at Ft. McHenry, Md., 1829‑31, 1831‑32; in transferring Indians, July 10, 1832, to June 28, 1834; on Quartermaster duty, in the Quartermaster-General's Office at Washington, D. C., 1834, — and in constructing Delaware  p410 Breakwater, Del., 1834‑35; in garrison at Ft. Monroe, Va., 1835; on Quartermaster duty, Aug. 27, 1835, to June 8, 1836; and in the Florida

(Captain, 2d Dragoons, June 8, 1836)

War, 1836, as Aide-de‑Camp to Major-General Jesup, June 10 to July 24, 1836, and as Colonel, Reg. Mounted Creek Volunteers, Sep. 1 to Oct. 19, 1836, being in command against the Seminole Indians in the Skirmish near Tampa Bay, Sep. 30, 1836.

Died, Oct. 19, 1836, at Fort Drane, Fla.: Aged 26.​a

Buried, St. Augustine National Cemetery, St. Augustine, FL.

Thayer's Note:

a I am indebted to Nora Barton-Carver for steering me to the following information:

Contemporaneous newspapers thruout the country in the fall of 1836 (Pittsburgh Gazette, Nov. 5; Raleigh Weekly Standard, Nov. 17, etc.) picked up a story on Capt. Lane's last engagement with the Seminoles and his death that first ran in the Charleston Courier on Oct. 26, 1836. I've been unable to find the original story online, but the following item, which I reproduce in full from page 2 of the Indiana American, Nov. 11, 1836, is probably a more or less faithful copy of it. (The rank of Lieutenant Colonel given both Lane and Brown are their ranks in the Creek Mounted Volunteers.)

Interesting and Important News from Florida — Battles with the Indians, and Suicide of Col. Lane. — The Charleston Courier of the 26th ult., puts us in possession of the following interesting and important intelligence from Florida.

Col. Lane, who is represented to have committed suicide, is the son of Amos Lane, member of Congress from Indiana.

"An officer of the Tennessee Brigade, engaged in the new military operations in Florida, and now in this city for the purpose of purchasing clothing for the Brigade, has politely furnished us with the following outline of late transactions on the Withlacoochee. On the 8th inst. the Tennessee Brigade, consisting of 1250 volunteers, commanded by Gen. Armstrong, 2 pieces of artillery and two or three hundred regulars, all under the command of Gov. Call, left Fort Drane for the Withlacoochee, and on their way to that river surprised and killed 13 Indians, and took 12 women and children prisoners. The third day after their departure, the army arrived in the immediate vicinity of the river, and attempted to cross at two points, at both of which they were attacked by the Indians. The attack on the main body of the army was made by 75 to 100 Indians from across the river, which was supposed to be about 100 yards wide, at that point, having been swollen by recent rains. The spies and advanced guard of the army kept up a firing about ten minutes without any loss on their part — they then retired from the hammock (about 150 yards wide, and two or three feet under water,) and one battallionº of the Tennessee Brigade dismounted and went to explore the river — Major Gordon commanding, and one man were wounded — firing kept up about half an hour between the battallion and Indians across the river — the Indians ceased their firing and war whoop — our battallion was drawn off and encamped on the prairie adjacent to the river — the other detachment was more unfortunate — had 3 killed among them the Indian guide — 2 badly wounded — they fought for about an hour, and report that they killed several of the enemy — the whites were without provisions, and by command of Governor Call were ordered to the mouth of the river for provisions and reinforcements, and when they arrived there found no provisions, and had to retire to Black Creek, their present encampment. They intend prosecuting the campaign again as soon as provisions can be thrown in depot at Fort Drane, or supplies can be obtained at some point on the Withlacoochee. Lieut. Col. Lane commanding the detachment of friendly 750º Creek warriors, arrived at Tampa Bay, fought his way to the Withlacoochee, having had two skirmishes with the Seminoles, and burnt their villages — was ordered to Fort Drane by Gov. Call, and two hours after his arrival then (about the 20th inst.) committed suicide by putting the hilt of his sword on the ground, and running the point through the corner of the eye into the brain; no cause assigned — Lieut. Col. Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Brown will succeed him."

In some of the contemporaneous accounts Capt. Lane's suicide is attributed to insanity caused by encephalitis.

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