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Bill Thayer

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 [decorative delimiter] Class of 1812

Vol. I

(Born N. Y.)

Alexander R. Thompson​1

(Ap'd N. Y.)

Alexander Ramsay Thompson: Born Feb. 10, 1793.

Military History. — Cadet of the Military Academy, Nov. 21, 1810, to Jan. 3, 1812, when he was graduated and promoted in the Army to

First Lieut., 6th Infantry, Jan. 3, 1812.

Served: in the War of 1812‑15 with Great Britain, on the Northern Frontier, 1812, — in General Wilkinson's Descent of the St. Lawrence River, 1813, — and in the Campaign of 1813‑14, on the Lake Champlain line of operations, being engaged in the Battle of Plattsburg, N. Y.,

(Captain, 6th Infantry, May 1, 1814)

Sep. 11, 1814; in garrison at Ft. Niagara, N. Y., 1815‑16; on Recruiting

(Captain, 2d Infantry, on Reduction of Army, May 17, 1815)

service, 1818‑19; in garrison at Sackett's Harbor, N. Y., 1819‑1821, — Greenbush, N. Y., 1821, — and Ft. Brady, Mich., 1821‑23; on Recruiting

(Bvt. Major, May 1, 1824, for Faithful Service Ten Years in one Grade)

service, 1824‑25; on frontier duty at Ft. Niagara, N. Y., 1825‑26, — Ft. Howard, Wis., 1826, — Ft. Mackinac, Mich., 1826‑28, and Ft. Gratiot, Mich., 1828‑31, 1831‑32; on "Black Hawk Expedition," but

(Major, 6th Infantry, Apr. 4, 1832)

not at the seat of war, 1832;​a on frontier duty at Ft. Mackinac, Mich., 1832‑33, — Ft. Leavenworth, Kan., 1833, 1834, — and Jefferson Barracks, Mo., 1834; on Recruiting service, 1835‑36; on frontier duty at Ft. Jesup, La., 1836, — Camp Sabine, La., 1836, — and Ft. Jesup, La., 1836; and in the Florida War, 1837, being engaged against the Seminole Indians

(Lieut.‑Colonel, 6th Infantry, Sep. 6, 1837)

at the Battle of Okee-cho‑bee, where, at the head of his regiment, in a desperate charge,​b he was

Killed,​2 Dec. 25, 1837: Aged 44.

Buried, West Point Cemetery, West Point, NY.

The Author's Notes:

1 Was the son of Captain Alexander Thompson, of the regiment of Artillerists and Engineers, in 1794.

Thayer's Note: On p16 of The Ancestry and Descendants of John Alexander Thompson Nexsen ("Compiled and Arranged by Samuel Emory Rogers", 1925), we read:

Colonel Thompson was the son of Captain Alexander Thompson, (1759‑1809), who enlisted for the American Revolutionary struggle at the age of eighteen in the Artillery Regiment of Colonel John Lamb. He was soon promoted to Captain of Artillery and later served as Captain of Engineers. He drew the plans for the siege of York town, which plans hang under his portrait in the United States Military Academy at West Point. He entered New York with the victorious American troops and was selected by General Washington to bear the dispatches to the frontier forts at Oswego, Niagara, and Detroit, ordering cessation of hostilities. At the close of the Revolution his company was the only company of the American army not disbanded. On October 1, 1787, Captain Alexander Thompson was promoted to First Major in Lieutenant-Colonel Sebastian Baum's Artillery. He resigned his commission as Major on October 9, 1793 in order to accept appointment as Commissary of Ordnance at West Point at the foundation of the Military Academy, which post he held until his death. He is buried at the Military Academy at West Point.

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2 "Although," in the language of the official despatch, "he received two balls from the fire of the enemy early in the action, which wounded him severely, yet he appeared to disregard them, and continued to give his orders with the same coolness that he would have done had his regiment been under review, or any other parade duty. Advancing, he received a third ball, which at once deprived him of life: his last words were, 'Keep steady, men; charge the hammock — remember the regiment to which you belong.' "

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 Details are given by Ganoe, The History of the United States Army, p181.

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Page updated: 12 Jun 14