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 [decorative delimiter] Class of 1812

Vol. I

(Born W. I.)

René E. de Russy​a

(Ap'd N. Y.)

Military History. — Cadet of the Military Academy, Mar. 20, 1807, to June 10, 1812, when he was graduated and promoted in the Army to

Second Lieut., Corps of Engineers, June 10, 1812.

First Lieut., Corps of Engineers, July 6, 1812.

Served: in the War of 1812‑15 with Great Britain, as Asst. Engineer in constructing defenses at New York and Sackett's Harbor, N. Y., 1812‑13, in the Campaign on the St. Lawrence River, 1813‑14, and in military operations on Lake Champlain, 1814, being engaged in the Repulse of the British Flotilla at the mouth of French Creek, N. Y., Nov. 1‑2, 1813, — Battle of Chrystler's Field, U. C., Nov. 11, 1813, — Attack on La Cole Mill, Mar. 30, 1814, — Battle of Plattsburg, N. Y., Sep. 11,

(Bvt. Captain, Sep. 11, 1814, for Gallant Conduct at the Battle of Plattsburg, N. Y.)

1814, — and as Chief Engineer (after the defeat of Governor Provost) of  p110 General Macomb's division on Lake Champlain; as Asst. Engineer in

(Captain, Corps of Engineers, Feb. 9, 1815)

the construction of fort at Rouse's Point, N. Y., 1816‑18, — and of the defenses of New York harbor, 1817‑18; as Superintending Engineer of the repairs and construction of fortifications, New York harbor, 1818‑21, — of defensive works on the Gulf of Mexico, 1821‑25, — and of the fortifications

(Bvt. Major, Sep. 11, 1824, for Faithful Service Ten Years in one Grade)

of New York harbor, 1825‑33; as Superintendent of the U. S.

(Major, Corps of Engineers, Dec. 22, 1830)

Military Academy, July 1, 1833, to Sep. 1, 1838; as Superintending Engineer

(Bvt. Lieut.‑Colonel, June 30, 1834, for Faithful Service and Meritorious Conduct)

of the construction of Fts. Monroe and Calhoun, Hampton Roads, Va., 1838‑54, — of the defenses at the entrance of San Francisco harbor,

(Lieut.‑Colonel, Corps of Engineers, Dec. 7, 1838)

Cal., 1854‑57, — of fort on Sandy Hook, N. J., 1857, — and of Fts. Calhoun and Monroe, Va., 1857‑61; in general charge of Harbor Improvements in Delaware Bay, 1838‑39, — defenses of Chesapeake and Delaware Bays, and their tributaries, 1838‑42, — and River Improvements in Virginia, 1853‑54, and 1857‑61; on Board of Engineers for Atlantic Coast Defenses, Oct. 23, 1848, to Sep. 2, 1854, and from Feb. 21, 1857, to Jan. 2, 1861, — for River and Harbor Improvements, Sep. 16, 1852, to Sep. 2, 1854, — for Pacific Coast Defenses, Sep. 2, 1854, to Feb. 21, 1857, — for fort on Ship Island, Mis., 1857; and for the examination of Potomac Aqueduct, 1860; and in command of the Corps of Engineers at headquarters in Washington, D. C., Dec. 22, 1858, to Jan. 2, 1861.

Served during the Rebellion of the Seceding States, 1861‑66: as Superintending Engineer of the construction of the fortifications of San Francisco harbor, Cal., Nov. 7, 1861, to Nov. 23, 1865, — and in general

(Colonel, Corps of Engineers, Mar. 3, 1863)

supervision of the defenses of the Pacific Coast, Mar. 20, 1863, to Nov. 23, 1865; and as President of the Board of Engineers for devising

(Bvt. Brig.‑General U. S. Army, Mar. 13, 1865, for Long and Faithful Services in the Army)

projects and alterations at Ft. Point, and Land Defenses at San Francisco, Cal., Aug. 9 to Dec. 3, 1864.

Civil History. — Member and Secretary of the Board of Visitors to the U. S. Military Academy, 1827. Inventor of Barbette Depressing Gun Carriage, subsequently claimed as the design of Colonel Moncrieff, of the British Army.

Died, Nov. 23, 1865, at San Francisco, Cal.: Aged 75.1

Buried, West Point Cemetery, West Point, NY.

The Author's Note:

1 General De Russy was the son of Midshipman Thomas De Russy of the Navy of the Revolution, who was brevetted by Doctor Benj. Franklin (then Commissioner to France) to a Lieutenancy for his gallant conduct, Sep. 23, 1779, on board the Pallas, of Commodore John Paul Jones' fleet, in the capture of the Countess of Scarborough of the British Navy.

General Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Halleck, commanding the Division of the Pacific, in directing military honors to be paid to his memory, says: —

"General De Russy was many years Superintendent of the Military Academy, often served as a member of the Board of Engineers, and was several times Acting Chief Engineer of the Army. At the time of his death he was in charge of the fortifications on the Pacific Coast. He was the oldest graduate of the Military Academy in active service, and one of the last of the heroes of the War of 1812.

"Of great kindness of heart, and possessing most urbane and polished manners, he was endeared to a large circle of friends, and the surviving graduates of the Military Academy, who were educated under his superintendence, will cherish his memory as that of the kindest of fathers. By his strict integrity in the expenditure of many millions of public money, his faithful discharge of every duty of office and of life, and his unsullied honor, he has left an example most worthy of imitation."

Thayer's Note:

a Not mentioned in Cullum: De Russy was the brother of Confederate general Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Lewis G. de Russy: "The Life and Times of Lewis DeRussy" by Steven M. Mayeux, a paper presented before the First Annual Frontier History Symposium at Fort Jesup, Louisiana, March 1, 2002 (online at Friends of Fort DeRussy, Inc.) contains some biographical information on René as well, who was also the father of Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.John de Russy.

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Page updated: 17 Jun 14