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Bill Thayer

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 [decorative delimiter] Class of 1835

Vol. I

(Born Ten.)

Richard Henderson

(Ap'd Ten.)


Military History. — Cadet at the Military Academy, July 1, 1831, to July 1, 1835, when he was graduated and promoted in the Army to

Bvt. Second Lieut., 2d Artillery, July 1, 1835.

Served in the Florida War, 1835, and, in Dade's desperate Battle with the Seminole Indians, where the "whole command, save three, fell without an attempt to retreat," was

Killed,​1 Dec. 28, 1835: Aged 21.

Buried, St. Augustine National Cemetery, St. Augustine, FL.

The Author's Note:

1 General Hitchcock, who passed over the battle-ground Feb. 22, 1836, reports: "Along the north and west faces of the triangular breastwork formed by felled trees, were about thirty bodies, mere skeletons, although much of the clothing was left upon them. They were lying, almost every one of them, in precisely the position they must have occupied during the fight, — their heads next to the logs over which they had delivered their fire, and their bodies stretched with striking regularity parallel to each other. They had evidently been shot dead at their posts, and the Indians had not disturbed them, except by taking the scalps of most of them. . . . The advance guard, doubtless, fell during the first attack. It was during a cessation of fire that the little band still remaining — about thirty in number — threw up the triangular breastwork, which, from the haste with which it was constructed, was necessarily defective and could not protect the men on the second attack."

The action lasted from 8 A.M. to 4 P.M. The United States troops amounted to one hundred and eight, and the savage foe to eight hundred Seminole Indians, and one hundred negroes. Lieut. Henderson fell, and Lieut. Keais was disabled by having his arms broken on the first fire. The latter "got one of the men to tie both arms with a handkerchief, and was placed against a tree, where he was tomahawked by the negroes."

A beautiful monument, of white Italian marble, was erected at West Point, to "Dade and his Command."

Thayer's Note: For full details of the fight in which Lt. Henderson lost his life, still now usually referred to as Dade's Massacre, and his burial in Florida, see "The Dade Massacre", Florida Historical Society Quarterly 5:123‑138 (1927) and Alfred Mudge's Memorials, pp383‑393.

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Page updated: 5 Mar 10