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Bill Thayer

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 [decorative delimiter] Class of 1833

Vol. I

(Born N. Y.)

William H. Sidell

(Ap'd N. Y.)


William Henry Sidell: Born May 18, 1810.

Military History. — Cadet at the Military Academy, July 1, 1829, to July 1, 1833, when he was graduated and promoted in the Army to

Bvt. Second Lieut., 1st Artillery, July 1, 1833.

On authorized graduation leave of absence, July 1, 1833, to Oct. 1, 1833.

Resigned, Oct. 1, 1833.

Civil History. — City Surveyor of New York, 1833‑34. Asst. Engineer of Croton Aqueduct, to supply the City of New York with water, 1834‑1835. Division Engineer, Long Island Railroad, 1835‑37. Asst. Engineer, on projected Dry Dock, New York harbor, 1837. Civil Engineer, in the service of United States, employed in the Hydrographic Survey of the Delta of the Mississippi River, 1837‑39. Asst. Engineer, Western Railroad, from Albany, N. Y., to Worcester, Mas., 1840‑42. Resident Engineer, Troy and Greenbush Railroad, N. Y., 1843‑44. Principal Asst. Engineer, Pittsfield and North Adams Railroad, Mas., 1845‑46. "Superintending Engineer," New York and Erie Railroad, 1846‑49. Principal Engineer of Panama Division of Isthmus Railroad, 1849, — and Chief Engineer of the entire Road, 1849. Civil Engineer, in the service of the United States, for the exploration and survey of a practicable route for a Railroad from the Mississippi River to the Pacific, 1850‑51. Captain, July 23, 1846, of the 4th Regiment N. Y. Volunteers, raised for the War with Mexico, but not mustered into service. Associate Engineer, Isthmus of Tehuantepec Railroad, Mex., 1851‑52. Chief Engineer, Northern Cross Railroad, Ill., 1853‑57, — of Quincy and Palmyra Railroad, Mo., 1855‑57, — of Quincy and Toledo Railroad, Ill., 1855‑57, — and of "Louisiana Tehuantepec Company," for transit route and railroad across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Mex., 1858‑60.​a

Military History. — Re-appointed in the U. S. Army with the rank of

Major, 15th Infantry, May 14, 1861.

Served during the Rebellion of the Seceding States, 1861‑66: in Mustering and Organizing Kentucky Volunteers, at Louisville, Ky., July‑Sep., 1861, — and as Superintending Recruiting, Mustering, and Disbursing Officer in the field, Dec., 1861, to Feb., 1862, and at Nashville, Ten., Feb. to July, 1862; as Acting Asst. Adjutant-General, Department of the Cumberland, at Nashville, Ten., July, 1862, to Mar., 1863; as Acting Asst. Provost Marshal General for Kentucky, May, 1863, to Aug. 28, 1866, — and General Superintendent of Recruiting, and Chief Mustering

(Lieut.‑Colonel, 10th Infantry, May 6, 1864)

and Disbursing Officer, at Louisville, Ky., Sep., 1863, to Feb. 28, 1867.

(Bvt.‑Colonel, Mar. 13, 1865, for Faithful and Efficient Services
in the Recruitment of the Armies of the United States)

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

Served: on frontier duty in Dakota Ter., 1867‑68; on leave of absence, 1868; on frontier duty at Ft. Abercrombie, Dakota Ter., 1868‑69;

(Unassigned, May 15, 1869, to Dec. 15, 1870)

in command of Recruiting Depot, Ft. Leavenworth, Kan., 1869‑70; and on sick leave of absence Oct. 27 to Dec. 15, 1870.

Retired from Active Service, Dec. 15, 1870,
for Disability contracted in the Line of Duty.

Died, July 1, 1873, at New York city: Aged 63.1

Buried, Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, NY.

The Author's Note:

1 General Sidell was a man of distinguished mark, possessing great versatility of talent,  p542 and attractive personal qualities. Quick in thought, rapidly passing from grave to gay and from lively to severe, he was a brilliant conversationalist. Ardent in his impulses, rich in imagination, merry of heart, and sparkling with humor, he was the life of the social circle. Decided in his convictions, replete with information, and fertile in argument, he delighted in the discussions of the day, and often communicated, with great force and grace, his thoughts to the public press. He conscientiously discharged every duty entrusted to him, stimulated with his own zeal and energy all below him, and rarely failed to win the approbation of his superiors. With greater persistency of purpose, and closer application, Slidell might have become a luminary of science; with his clear conceptions and great command of language, by study and patience he could have been an author of no ordinary note; and had he continued in military instead of civil pursuits, he doubtless would have attained eminence in an army career. But a restless eagerness to quickly realize the cravings of his ambition, and the incense of flattery which won him from contemplation to society, were the power­ful drawbacks to that higher elevation which his natural talents, logical mind, keen perceptions, and excellent education should have insured.

Thayer's Note:

a The saga of the Tehuantepec Railroad is interestingly told in Diplomacy of the United States and Mexico regarding the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, 1848‑1860.

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Page updated: 5 Nov 13