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Bill Thayer

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 [decorative delimiter] Class of 1831

Vol. I

(Born Ga.)

James S. Williams

(Ap'd Ga.)


Military History. — Cadet at the Military Academy, July 1, 1827, to July 1, 1831, when he was graduated and promoted in the Army to

Bvt. Second Lieut., 6th Infantry, July 1, 1831.

Served: in the "Black Hawk" War against the Sac Indians, 1832, being engaged in the Battle of Bad Axe River, Aug. 2, 1832; in garrison at Jefferson Barracks, Mo., 1832‑34; on Engineer duty, June 11, 1834,

(Second Lieut., 6th Infantry, May 31, 1834)

to Mar. 27, 1836; and on frontier duty at Ft. Jesup, La., 1836, — Camp

(First Lieut., 6th Infantry, Apr. 30, 1837)

Sabine, La., 1836, — Caddo Country, 1836, — and Camp Sabine, La., 1837.

Resigned, Sep. 6, 1837.

Civil History. — Asst. Engineer, Cincinnati, O., Louisville, Ky., and Charleston, S. C., projected Railroad, 1838. Chief Engineer of the State of Georgia, employed on Western and Atlantic Railroad, from Atlanta to Chattanooga, 1840‑42. Asst. Engineer in the service of the United States, employed on Trigonometric and Hydrographic Survey of Cumberland Sound, and adjacent islands, 1843‑44; and Survey of a Railroad route from Cedar Key to St. John's River, Fla., 1845. Assistant in the Geodetic Survey of the Atlantic Coasts of the United States, 1846‑49, — of the Pacific Coast, 1849‑50, — and of Gulf of Mexico Coast, 1850‑53. Chief Engineer of Cairo, Ill., and Fulton, Ark., Railroad, in Arkansas, 1853, and in Missouri, 1854;​a and of Charleston, S. C., and Savannah, Ga., Railroad, 1855. Commissioner for tracing Western Boundary of the State of Arkansas, 1857.

Joined in the Rebellion of 1861‑66 against the United States.​b

Civil History. — Chief Engineer of the Selma, Rome, and Dalton Railroad, 1866‑67. Asst. Surveyor of the city of Savannah, Ga., 1867‑71.

Died, Sep. 7, 1871, on Staten Island, N. Y.: Aged 60.

Thayer's Notes:

a He continued as Chief Engineer thru at least 1858, when the railroad seems to have set up offices in Little Rock (Dallas Tabor Herndon, The Highlights of Arkansas History, p88); "seems to" because it is also stated there that the president of the company, Mason Brayman, was a graduate of West Point, which is not true — thus casting doubt on the rest.

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b As with other Confederate officers, Cullum's Register omits his war record. He doesn't seem to have been a significant player, since despite strong Internet interest in the Confederacy, there is almost nothing online about him. I do find mention of him as entering Confederate service as a Colonel (Dallas Tabor Herndon, The Highlights of Arkansas History, p88), but I don't trust the book (see previous note); if you have fuller information, please drop me a line, of course.

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Page updated: 10 Dec 13