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Bill Thayer

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 [decorative delimiter] Class of 1834

Vol. I

(Born N. Y.)

James Duncan

(Ap'd N. Y.)


Born Sep. 29, 1811, Phillipstown (Cold Spring), NY.

Military History. — Cadet at the Military Academy, July 1, 1831,º to July 1, 1834, when he was graduated and promoted in the Army to

Bvt. Second Lieut., 2d Artillery, July 1, 1834.

Served: in garrison at Savannah, Ga., 1834‑35; at the Military Academy as Asst. Professor of Mathematics, Feb. 14 to Apr. 7, 1835; in the

(Second Lieut., 1st Artillery, Nov. 17, 1834)

Florida War against the Seminole Indians, 1835‑36, being engaged in the Skirmishes at Camp Izard, Feb. 27, 28, and 29, 1836, when he was wounded, — and Action of Oloklikaha, Mar. 31, 1836; in charge of public

(First Lieut., 2d Artillery, Nov. 30, 1836)

property at Ft. Trumbull, Ct., 1836‑37; in the Florida War, 1838; in the Cherokee Nation, 1838, while transferring the Indians to the West; on the Northern Frontier during Canada Border Disturbances, at Cleveland, Ohio, 1838, — and Buffalo, N. Y., 1838‑39; at the Camp of Instruction near Trenton, N.J., 1839; on the Northern Frontier, at Buffalo, N. Y., 1839‑41, during the Canada Border Disturbances; in garrison at Ft. Hamilton, N. Y., 1841‑42, — Ft. Adams, R. I., 1842‑43, — and Ft. Hamilton, N. Y., 1843‑45; in Military Occupation of Texas, 1845‑46;

(Captain, 2d Artillery, Apr. 16, 1846, to Jan. 26, 1849)

in the War with Mexico, 1846‑48, being engaged in the Battle of Palo

(Bvt. Major, May 8, 1846,
for Gallant Conduct in the Battle of Palo Alto, Tex.)

 p570  Alto, May 8, 1846, — Battle of Resaca-de‑la‑Palma, May 9, 1846, —

(Bvt. Lieut.‑Col., May 9, 1846,
for Gallant and Highly Distinguished Conduct
in the Battle of Resaca-de‑la‑Palma, Tex.)

Battle of Monterey, Sep. 21‑23, 1846, — Siege of Vera Cruz, Mar. 9‑29, 1847, — Battle of Cerro Gordo, Apr. 17‑18, 1847, — Skirmish of Amazoque,

(Bvt. Colonel, Sep. 23, 1846,
for Gallant and Meritorious Conduct in the Battle of Monterey, Mex.)

May 14, 1847, — Capture of San Antonio, Aug. 20, 1847, — Battle of Churubusco, Aug. 20, 1847, — Battle of Molino del Rey, Sep. 8, 1847, — Storming of Chapultepec, Sep. 13, 1847, — and Assault and Capture

(Colonel, Staff — Inspector-General,​a Jan. 26, 1849)

of the City of Mexico, Sep. 13‑14, 1847; and on Inspection duties, 1849.

Died, July 3, 1849, at Mobile, Ala.: Aged 36.

Buried, Cornwall, NY.​b

Thayer's Notes:

a Whatever this means, it does not seem to mean Inspector-General of the Army, despite what can be read elsewhere online — or at least, not officially. According to David A. Clary and Joseph W. A. Whitehorne, The Inspectors General of the United States Army, 1777‑1903 (Office of the Inspector General and Center of Military History, United States Army, Washington, D. C., 1987), pp413‑414, "The Act of 24 April 1816 established that the general staff should include one adjutant and inspector general and one inspector general, with an assistant inspector general to every brigade. The act of 2 March 1812 authorized two inspectors general, the other positions ceasing to exist. The act of 6 August 1861 added two more inspectors general. Until an inspector general was stationed permanently at the War Department in 1863 inspectors general were functionally coequal, relative seniority in grade notwithstanding." The two Inspectors General are listed there, and not James Duncan. For our time period they were Col. Sylvester Churchill (25 June 1841 to 25 September 1861); and Col. George Croghan (21 December 1825 to 08 January 1849) — succeeded by Col. Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.George A. McCall (10 June 1850 to 29 April 1853). The brief time between the terms of the latter two does allow Duncan to have filled the post: if he did, the only reason that I can come up with for his not being listed is that his nomination to the post had not received its required Congressional approval; not brief tenure, since in the same list is given the name of Col. Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Henry L. Scott (14 May 1861 to 31 October 1861).

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b The burial site information is taken from "The Grave of Duncan", pp77‑82 of Cornwall (E. M. Ruttenber & Son, Newburgh,  N. Y., 1873); which also tells us a fair amount more about Lt. Duncan and his life.

The page at Find-a‑Grave either shows a cenotaph, or Col. Duncan was reburied at some point.

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Page updated: 31 Mar 18