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Bill Thayer

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 [decorative delimiter] Class of 1835

Vol. I

(Born O.)

Alexander H. Tappenº

(Ap'd O.)


Alexander Harper Tappen​a

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., 5th Infantry, July 1, 1835.

Served on frontier duty at Ft. Dearborn, Ill., 1835‑36, — Ft. Winnebago,

(Second Lieut., 5th Infantry, July 31, 1836)

Wis., 1836‑37, — and Ft. Snelling, Min., 1837‑38.

Resigned, July 31, 1838.

Civil History. — Unknown.​b

Died, Nov. 2, 1851,​c at Alton, Ill.: Aged 39.

Buried, Alexander Harper Memorial Cemetery, Ashtabula County, OH.

Thayer's Notes:

a His full name is from Heitman's Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army.

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b In a lecture entitled "Fort Dearborn", delivered to the Chicago Historical Society in 1881 by John Wentworth (p35), Alexander Tappan is said to have resided "here", i.e., in Chicago, until the Mexican War, "when he joined Capt. T. B. Kenny's company of the 5th Regiment of Illinois Volunteers, Col. E. W. Newby. He was honorably discharged at the close of the war, at Alton, Ill., and has not since been heard from."

Further details are provided by Alfred Theodore Andreas on p215 of his History of Chicago, Illinois from the earliest period to the present time (privately printed, Chicago, 1884): Alexander H. Tappan is listed in 1847 among the privates enlisted in the "Chicago Horse Company", which was ordered to report to Alton, Ill., the general rendezvous for all Illinois Mexican War volunteers, where it was incorporated into the Fifth Regiment of Illinois Volunteers, and sent to Fort Leavenworth, from where it escorted a large train of traders to Santa Fé. Most of the regiment was then ordered down the Rio Grande but then right back to Santa Fé rather than further into Mexico, "much to their disgust"; in 1848 a large detachment of the regiment was sent three hundred miles west of Santa Fé to subjugate the Navajo then relocate them in the remote Jemez Mountains. The Fifth Regiment was ultimately brought back to Fort Leavenworth and Alton and mustered out on October 18, 1848.

What exactly was Private Tappan's individual service among all the detached operations of the regiment, I have not yet discovered, nor any details of his life after he mustered out of the Army.

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c The Register gives the year of Lt. Tappan's death as 1852, but his tombstone (q.v.) gives the year as 1851, as does Heitman's Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army.

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Page updated: 31 May 19