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Bill Thayer

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 [decorative delimiter] Class of 1829

Vol. I

(Born Mas.)

James Barnes

(Ap'd Mas.)


Born Dec. 28, 1806, Boston, MA.

Military History. — Cadet at the Military Academy, July 1, 1825, to July 1, 1829, when he was graduated and promoted in the Army to

Bvt. Second Lieut., 4th Artillery, July 1, 1829.

Second Lieut., 4th Artillery, July 1, 1829.

Served: at the Military Academy as Asst. Teacher of French, Aug. 30, 1829, to Aug. 19, 1830; in garrison at Ft. McHenry, Md., 1830‑32; in the "Black Hawk Expedition," 1832, but not at the seat of war;​a in garrison at Charleston harbor, S. C., 1832‑33, during South Carolina's threatened nullification, — and Ft. Monroe, Va., 1833; and at the Military

(First Lieut., 4th Artillery, June 30, 1836)

Academy as Asst. Instructor of Infantry Tactics, Nov. 4, 1833, to July 31, 1836.

Resigned, July 31, 1836.

Civil History. — Asst. Engineer of Western Railroad, from Worcester, Mas., to Albany, N. Y., 1836‑42, — and its Chief Engineer and Superintendent, 1842‑48. Chief Engineer of Seaboard and Roanoke Railroad, from Norfolk, Va., to Weldon, N. C., 1848‑52. Constructed the Watertown and Rome Railroad, N. Y., 1848‑52, — Sackett's Harbor and Ellisburg Railroad, N. Y., 1852‑54, — Buffalo, Corning, and New York Railroad, N. Y. (in part), 1852‑54, — Terre Haute, Ind., Alton, Ill., and St. Louis, Mo., Railroad, 1852‑56, — and Potsdam and Watertown Railroad, N. Y., 1853‑57.

Military History. — Served during the Rebellion of the Seceding

(Colonel, 18th Massachusetts Volunteers, July 26, 1861)

States, 1861‑66: in the defenses of Washington, D. C., Aug., 1861-Mar., 1862; in the Virginia Peninsular Campaign (Army of the Potomac), Mar. to July, 1862; in the Northern Virginia Campaign, July‑Aug., 1862; in the Maryland Campaign (Army of the Potomac), Sep.‑Nov.,

(Brig.‑General, U. S. Volunteers, Nov. 29, 1862)

1862, being engaged in the Battle of Antietam, Sep. 17, 1862, — Skirmish at Shepardstown, Va., Sep. 19, 1862, — and March to Falmouth, Va., Oct.‑Nov., 1862; in the Rappahannock Campaign (Army of the Potomac), Dec., 1862-May, 1863, being engaged in the Battle of Fredericksburg, Dec. 13, 1862, — and Battle of Chancellorsville, Va., May 2‑4, 1863; in the Pennsylvania Campaign (Army of the Potomac), June‑July, 1863,  p424 being engaged in the Skirmishes of Aldie and Upperville, Va., June 21, 1863, — and Battle of Gettysburg, Pa. (commanding division), July 1‑3, 1863, where he was wounded; on sick leave of absence and on Court Martial duty, July to Sep., 1863; in command of the defenses of Norfolk and Portsmouth, Va., Sep. 1863, to Jan., 1864; on Court Martial duty, Mar. to July, 1864; in command of St. Mary's District, July 2, 1864, to Apr. 26, 1865, — and the Camp for Rebel Prisoners, at Point Lookout, Md., July 2, 1864 to July 13, 1865; and in waiting orders,

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

July 13, 1865, to Jan. 15, 1866.

Mustered out of Volunteer Service, Jan. 15, 1866.

Civil History. — Member of a Special U. S. Commission to examine and report on the Road and Telegraph Line of the Union Pacific R. R. Co., 1868.​b

Died, Feb. 12, 1869, at Springfield, Mas.: Aged 63.

Buried, Springfield Cemetery, Springfield, MA.

Thayer's Notes:

a The phrase "but not at the seat of war" occurs frequently in the Register in connection with the Black Hawk War; the explanation in most cases is the one given in the biographical sketch of James Monroe (q.v.).

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b Probably the most important result of the commission's work was in confirming the judgment of private surveyors that the Transcontinental Railroad should follow the north shore of Great Salt Lake rather than the south, and should thus bypass Salt Lake City (Galloway, The First Transcontinental Railroad, p131).

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Page updated: 16 Feb 13