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Bill Thayer

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 [decorative delimiter] Class of 1832

Vol. I

(Born N. J.)

James H. Simpson

(Ap'd N. J.)


James Hervey Simpson: Born Mar. 9, 1813, at New Brunswick, N. J.

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

Bvt. Second Lieut., 3d Artillery, July 1, 1832.

Served: in garrison at Ft. Preble, Me., 1832‑33; on Recruiting service,

(Second Lieut., 3d Artillery, Nov. 30, 1833)

1833‑34; in garrison at Ft. Monroe, Va., 1834, — and at Ft. King, Fla., 1835; on Commissary duty at Charleston, S. C., 1836‑37; in the

(First Lieut., 3d Artillery, Apr. 30, 1837)

 p515  Florida War, on Commissary duty, 1837, — and as Aide-de‑Camp to Bvt. Brig.‑General Eustis, 1837‑38, being engaged against the Seminole

(First Lieut., Corps of Top. Engineers, July 7, 1838)

Indians in the Action of Locha-Hatchee, Jan. 24, 1838; as Asst. Top. Engineer on Harbor Improvements at the East End of Lake Erie, 1838‑39, — in the construction of Roads in Florida, 1839‑40, — in improving Erie Harbor, Pa., 1840‑41, — and in surveying the Northwestern Lakes, 1841‑45; in charge of Erie Harbor Improvement, 1845‑48, — of construction of Light-house at Monroe, Mich., 1847‑49, — and of exploration of route from Ft. Smith, Ark., to Santa Fé, N. M., 1849; as Chief Top. Engineer of the Department of New Mexico, 1850; in charge of the construction of roads in Minnesota, 1851‑56; on Coast Survey, 1856‑58;

(Captain, Top. Engineers, Mar. 3, 1853, for 14 Years' continuous Service)

as Chief Top. Engineer with the Army in Utah, Feb. 11 to Aug. 20, 1858; on exploration of new route from Salt Lake, Utah, to the Pacific Coast, 1859, — and preparation of Reports of his reconnoissance, 1860‑61.

Served during the Rebellion of the Seceding States, 1861‑66; in Mustering Ohio Volunteers into service, May 15 to June 13, 1861; as Chief

(Major, Top. Engineers, Aug. 6, 1861: Corps of Engineers, Mar. 3, 1863)

Top. Engineer, Department of the Shenandoah, June 20 to Aug. 7, 1861;

(Colonel, 4th New Jersey Volunteers, Aug. 12, 1861)

in the defenses of Washington, D. C., Aug. 27, 1861, to Apr. 18, 1862; in the Virginia Peninsular Campaign (Army of the Potomac), Apr. 19 to Aug. 27, 1862, being engaged in the Action at West Point, May 7, 1862, — Battle of Gaines' Mill, June 27, 1862, where he was captured, — as Prisoner of War at Richmond Va., June 28 to Aug. 12, 1862, — and with his regiment from Harrison's Landing to Alexandria, Va.; as Chief Top.

(Resigned Volunteer Commission, Aug. 27, 1862)

Engineer, Aug. 27, 1862, to Mar. 3, 1863, — and Chief Engineer, Mar. 3 to Dec. 4, 1863, of the Department of the Ohio, being engaged in making

(Lieut.-Colonel, Corps of Engineers, June 1, 1863)

surveys, constructing and repairing railroads, and erecting temporary defenses; in general charge of the fortifications in Kentucky, Dec. 3, 1863, to June 27, 1865; as Engineer Agent at Cincinnati, O., for the Armies of the West, Mar. 22, 1864, to June 27, 1865; as Chief Engineer of the District of Kentucky, Feb. 18 to June 27, 1865.

Bvt. Colonel, Mar. 13, 1865,
for Meritorious Services during the Rebellion.

Bvt. Brig.‑General, U. S. Army, Mar. 13, 1865,
for Faithful and Meritorious Services during the Rebellion.

Served: as Chief Engineer of the Interior Department at Washington, D. C., Aug. 8, 1865, to Oct., 1867, having the general direction and inspection

(Colonel, Corps of Engineers, Mar. 7, 1867)

of the Union Pacific Railroad and Branches, of Government Wagon Roads, etc.;​a as Superintending Engineer of the Defenses of Key West and Tortugas, Fla., Dec., 1867, to Dec. 31, 1868, — of Ft. Madison, Md., May 25, 1868, to July 21, 1869, — of the Defenses of Baltimore and Washington, Md., May 25, 1868, to Dec. 31, 1869, — of Improvement of Patapsco and Susquehanna Rivers, May 25, 1868, to Nov. 6, 1870, — of Sixth Light-house District, Dec. 26, 1868, to May 31, 1869, and of Fifth District, Dec. 26, 1868, to Nov. 11, 1870, — of Surveys and Improvements at mouth of the Cape Fear and Nag's Head, N. C., and Cambridge  p516 and Queenstown Harbors, Md., July‑Nov., 1870, — of Defenses of Mobile, Pensacola, and Ship Island, of Improvement of Mobile Bay and Harbor, of Surveys of Coosa, Tombigbee, and Appalachicola Rivers, and of Eighth Light-house District east of Pearl River, Dec. 5, 1870, to Dec. 6, 1872, — of Surveys on Choctawhatchee, Chattahoochee, and St. Mark's River, and Tampa and Appalachicola Bays, Mar., 1871, to Dec. 6, 1872, — of Improvement of Tombigbee River, Dredging Cedar Keys Bar, and Surveys of its Harbor, June‑Dec., 1872, — of Removal of Obstructions in Mississippi, Missouri, Arkansas, White, and St. Francis Rivers, and Survey of Forked Deer River, Ten., Jan.‑Apr., 1873, — of Improvement of Ouachita and Yazoo Rivers, Jan.‑May, 1873, — of Improvement of the Little Missouri and Current Rivers, Jan. 1, 1873, to Jan. 20, 1875, — of Improvement of Osage River, Jan. 1, 1873, to July 1, 1877, — of Improvement of the Mississippi between the mouths of the Illinois and Ohio Rivers, Jan. 1, 1873, to Mar. 30, 1880, — of Survey of the portion of the "Mississippi Route" lying between Alton and the mouth of the Ohio River, July, 1874, to Jan. 20, 1875; and as Member of various Engineer Boards on River and Harbor Improvements, Bridge Construction, etc., 1870‑80.

Retired from Active Service, Mar. 31, 1880,
upon his own Application, he having Served over 40 Years.

Civil History. — Author of the "Shortest Route to California across the Great Basin of Utah," 1869; and of "Essay on Coronado's March in Search of the Seven Cities of Cibola," 1869. Delegate from Missouri to the General Convention of the Episcopal Church, at New York city, 1874, and at Boston, 1877. Degree of A. M. conferred by Princeton College, N. J., 1848.

Died, Mar. 2, 1883, at St. Paul, Min.: Aged 70.

Buried, Oakland Cemetery, St. Paul, MN.

Thayer's Note:

a For a sample of his duties in connection with the Transcontinental Railroad, see details in J. D. Galloway, The First Transcontinental Railroad, p234.

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Page updated: 5 Nov 13