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Bill Thayer

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 [decorative delimiter] Class of 1814

Vol. I

(Born D. C.)

George W. Gardiner

(Ap'd D. C.)

Military History. — Cadet of the Military Academy, Sep. 2, 1812, to Mar. 11, 1814, when he was graduated and promoted in the Army to

Third Lieut., 1st Artillery, Mar. 11, 1814.

Served: in the War of 1812‑15 with Great Britain, in garrison at Ft. Columbus, N. Y., 1814‑15; at Portsmouth, N. H., 1815‑16; at the Military

(Second Lieut., 1st Artillery, May 1, 1814)

(Transferred to Corps of Artillery, May 12, 1814)

Academy, 1816‑20, as Adjutant, Oct. 12, 1816, to Sep. 15, 1817, and from Feb. 10, 1819, to Mar. 9, 1820, — as Commandant of Cadets and Instructor of Infantry Tactics, Sep. 15, 1817, to Apr. 2, 1818, — and

(First Lieut., Corps of Artillery, Apr. 20, 1818)

as Instructor of Artillery, Sep. 15, 1817, to Feb. 1, 1820; in garrison at New York harbor, 1820; on Commissary duty, 1820‑21; in garrison at

(First Lieut., 2d Artillery,
in Re-organization of Army, June 1, 1821)

Ft. Mifflin, Pa., 1821‑24, — Ft. Delaware, Del., 1824‑27, — and Augusta Arsenal, Ga., 1827‑30; in Cherokee Nation, 1830‑31; in garrison at Ft.

(Bvt. Captain, Apr. 20, 1828, for Faithful Service Ten Years in one Grade)

Marion, Fla., 1831‑32, — and Augusta Arsenal, Ga., 1832‑33; in Cherokee

(Captain, 2d Artillery, Nov. 3, 1832)

Nation, 1833; in garrison at Ft. Mitchell, Ala., 1833‑34, — Ft. Jackson, La., 1834, — Covington, La., 1834, — Ft. Jackson, La., 1834‑35, — and Ft. Pickens, Fla., 1835; and in the Florida War, being engaged  p112 in Dade's desperate Battle with the Seminole Indians, where "the whole command, save three, fell without an attempt to retreat."

Killed, at Dade's Massacre, Fla., Dec. 28, 1835.1

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 U. S. troops amounted to 108, and the savage foe to 800 Seminole Indians, and 100 negroes. While a man could load a musket, the firing was continued. Captain Gardiner, next to the last surviving officer, fell, pierced by five or six shots, his mortal wound being in the breast.

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 Capt. Gardiner lost his life, still now usually referred to as Dade's Massacre, and his burial in Florida, see Alfred Mudge's Memorials, pp383‑393, and especially "The Dade Massacre", Florida Historical Society Quarterly 5:123‑138 (1927), the author of which conjectures Gardiner to have been exceptionally courageous, and the principal hero in that fight.

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Page updated: 16 Apr 16