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Bill Thayer

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 [decorative delimiter] Class of 1832

Vol. I

(Born Pa.)

Ward B. Burnett

(Ap'd Pa.)


Military History. — Cadet at the Military Academy, July 1, 1828, to July 1, 1832, when he was graduated and promoted in the Army to

Bvt. Second Lieut., 2d Artillery, July 1, 1832.

Served: in the "Black Hawk Expedition," 1832, but not at the seat of war;​a on Special duty, making drawings at the Military Academy, 1832; in garrison at Ft. Jackson, La., 1832‑33; at the Military Academy, as Asst. Instructor of Infantry Tactics, Nov. 4, 1833, to Dec. 20, 1834; on

(Second Lieut., 2d Artillery, Apr. 1, 1834)

Topographical duty, Dec. 23, 1834, to Jan. 21, 1836; and on Ordnance duty in Florida, Mar., 1836.

Resigned, July 31, 1836.

Civil History. — Civil Engineer, 1836‑44.

Military History. — Served in the War with Mexico, 1846‑48, being

(Colonel, 2d New York Volunteers, Dec. 3, 1846)

engaged in the Siege of Vera Cruz, Mar. 9‑29, 1847, — Battle of Cerro Gordo, Apr. 17‑18, 1847, — Battle of Contreras, Aug. 19‑20, 1847, — and Battle of Churubusco, Aug. 20, 1847, where he was severely wounded.

Disbanded, Aug. 1, 1848.1

Civil History. — Superintendent of the Dry Dock in the Philadelphia Navy Yard, Pa., 1849‑52, — and in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, N. Y., 1852‑55. Chief Engineer of Brooklyn, N. Y., Water Works, 1853‑54, — and of Norfolk, Va., Water Works, 1856. U. S. Surveyor-General of Kansas and Nebraska Territories, 1858‑60. Engaged in the suppression of the New York Draft Riots, 1863.

Died, June 27, 1884, at Washington, D. C.: Aged 74.

Buried, Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, NY.

The Author's Note:

1 Received the thanks of the Legislature of the State of New York, 1850, and by it made Bvt. Brig.‑General of New York Volunteers, 1853, for "Gallant and Distinguished Service in the War with Mexico." Recipient of a Silver Medal from the Corporation of New York City, July 30, 1848, — of a Gold Medal from the regiment he commanded in the Mexican War, Aug. 20, 1853, — and Aug. 18, 1859, by vote of the surviving members of the same regiment, of the Gold Snuff Box in which the Freedom of the City of New York had been presented, Feb. 23, 1819, to Major-General Andrew Jackson.​b

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 This seems a bit odd, until we read (in an obituary notice in The New York Times, June 25, 1884) that the medal "had been presented in 1819 to Major-Gen. Andrew Jackson for distinguished military services, and by him bequeathed "to that patriot of New-York City who should be adjudged by his countrymen to have been the most distinguished in defense of his country and our country's rights."

The same obituary concludes by stating that "[t]he interment will be at West Point"; apparently a change of plans supervened, or the Times, as often, was mistaken.

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Page updated: 13 Mar 13