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 [decorative delimiter] Class of 1814

Vol. I

(Born Mas.)

Thomas Childs

(Ap'd Mas.)

Born Mar. 16, 1796, at Pittsfield, MA.

Military History. — Cadet of the Military Academy, Apr. 6, 1813, 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 the Campaign of 1814, on the Niagara Frontier, being engaged in the Capture of Ft. Erie,

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

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

U. C., July 3, 1814, — Battle of Niagara, July 25, 1814, — and Defense of Ft. Erie, U. C., from its Bombardment and Assault by the enemy, Aug. 13‑15, 1814, until the Siege was raised by the success­ful Sortie from it, Sep. 17, 1814; in garrison at Ft. Niagara, N. Y., 1815‑16, — New

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

 p116  York harbor, 1816‑18, — Ft. Washington, Md., 1818‑19, — and New York harbor, 1819‑20; on Commissary duty, 1820‑21; in garrison at Ft.

(First Lieut., 3d Artillery, June 1, 1821)

(Captain, 3d Artillery, Oct. 1, 1826)

Washington, Md., 1821‑25, 1825‑27, — and at Ft. Sullivan, Me., 1827‑31, 1832‑36; in the Florida War, 1836‑37, being engaged against the Seminole Indians in the Attack on Ft. Drane, Fla., Aug. 21, 1836; on Recruiting

(Bvt. Major, Aug. 21, 1836, for Planning the Attack on the Indians at Ft. Drane, Fla., and Good Conduct in that Affair)

service, 1837, 1838; in the Florida War, 1838‑40, 1840‑42; in garrison

(Bvt. Lieut.‑Colonel, Feb. 1, 1841, for Gallant Conduct and Repeated Successes in the War against the Florida Indians, between Nov., 1840, and Mar., 1842)

at Ft. Johnston, N. C., 1842‑44, — Ft. Moultrie, S. C., 1844, — and Ft. Johnston, N. C., 1844‑45; in Military Occupation of Texas, 1845‑46; as Colonel of Artillery Battalion of "Army of Occupation," Oct. 3, 1845, to Feb. 16, 1847; in the War with Mexico, 1846‑48, being engaged in the Battle of Palo Alto, May 8, 1846, — Battle of Resaca-de‑la‑Palma, May 9, 1846, — Battle of Monterey, Sep. 21‑23, 1846, — Siege of Vera

(Bvt. Colonel, May 9, 1846, for Gallant Conduct in the Battles of Palo Alto and Resaca-de‑la‑Palma)

Cruz, Mar. 9‑29, 1847, — Battle of Cerro Gordo, Apr. 17‑18, 1847, —

(Major, 1st Artillery, Feb. 16, 1847)

Skirmish of La Hoya, June 20, 1847, — Defense of Puebla, Sep. 13-Oct. 12,

(Bvt. Brig.‑General, Oct. 12, 1847,
for Gallant and Meritorious Conduct in the Defense of Puebla, Mex.)

1847, where he commanded, — Military Governor of Jalapa, Apr.‑June, 1847, and of Puebla, Sep.‑Oct., 1847; in garrison, at Ft. McHenry, Md., 1848‑51; and in command of Military Operations in East Florida, Feb. 11, 1852, to Oct. 8, 1853.

Died, Oct. 8, 1853, at Ft. Brooke, Fla.

Buried, St. Paul's Cemetery, Alexandria, VA.

Biographical Sketch.

Bvt. Brigadier-General Thomas Childs was born, Mar. 16, 1796, at Pittsfield, Mas., of a military family, his father and grandfather having done good service in the War of the Revolution. Upon graduating from the Military Academy he was promoted to the Artillery, May 11, 1814, in which he rose to the rank of Major.

Immediately upon leaving his Alma Mater, though yet a boy, he was ordered to the Niagara frontier and took part in the Campaign of 1814, being engaged in the Capture of Ft. Erie, July 3, the Battle of Niagara, July 25, and Defense of Ft. Erie from its bombardment and assault by the enemy, Aug. 13‑14, until the siege was raised by the success­ful Sortie of Sep. 17, 1814. For his participation in the latter he received a captured quadrant, upon which was engraved: "Presented to Lieut. Thomas Childs, by order of the President of the United States, for gallant conduct in the Sortie from Ft. Erie and for spiking the guns of the enemy's batteries, at the age of seventeen years, Sep. 17, 1814."

After twelve years of routine duty, Childs, in 1836, was ordered to Florida where, except for a short interval, he was engaged in campaigning against the Seminole Indians till the end of the war in 1842, having participated in the attack on Ft. Drane, which he planned, and various difficult expeditions through the Everglades, for which "good conduct  p117 and repeated successes" he received the brevets of Major, Aug. 21, 1836, and of Lieut.‑Colonel, Feb. 1, 1841.

Childs, in 1845, took command of the Artillery Battalion, with which he fought in the Battles of Palo Alto and Resaca-de‑la‑Palma, receiving, for his "gallant conduct," the brevet of Colonel, May 9, 1846. The Artillery Battalion was then attached to Worth's brigade and marched to Monterey, where Childs was ordered to storm the fortified heights above the Bishop's palace. The perilous task, with the assistance of regular infantry and Texas rangers, was successfully accomplished before the dawn of Sep. 22, when the Artillery Battalion flag was seen planted upon the key-point of Monterey. The next day the brave Colonel led his column in the attack upon the streets of the city until it reached the main plaza. Of his conduct at Monterey, General Worth says: "The gallant Colonel Childs is safe, and covered all over with glory." When the regulars of Taylor's army were ordered to join Scott, Childs became Chief of Staff of Worth's division at Vera Cruz, in the siege of which he took an active part. At this time, being the Major of his regiment, he was placed in command of it in Twiggs's division, which performed brilliant service at Cerro Gordo, Apr. 17‑18, 1847. Immediately after, he was made Military Governor of Jalapa, and, when General Scott moved with the army to the Valley of Mexico, was appointed Military Governor of Puebla, a city of 60,000 inhabitants. Here Childs was obliged, with only 400 effectives, to protect the hospitals, with 1,800 sick, and defend himself against assault from without and insurrection from within. His little band sustained a close and continued siege of twenty-eight days by a vastly superior force, amounting, at one time, to 8,000, under the immediate command of General Santa Anna. The siege was successfully repelled at all times and at every point amid showers of bullets from streets, balconies, house-tops, and churches. In communicating Childs's official despatch of Oct. 13, 1847, to the War Department, General Scott says: "I inclose the interesting report made to me from Colonel Childs, governor and commander at Puebla, detailing the defense of that place, which, though highly arduous, gallant, and triumphant, has not exceeded what was expected at the hands of that excellent commander, his officers and men." For the Defense of Puebla, Colonel Childs was brevetted Brigadier-General, U. S. Army.

After the Mexican War, Childs commanded at Ft. McHenry, Md., for three years, and then took charge of the Military Operations in East Florida, where he died of yellow fever, Oct. 8, 1853, at his headquarters, Ft. Brooke.

In publishing the obituary order from the General-in‑Chief of the U. S. Army, a Pittsfield, Mas., newspaper says: "But while all bear testimony to his gallantry as a soldier, his crowning distinction was the moral heroism and singular purity of his character, his faithful and consistent religious life, which, after all the honors of earth have passed away, remain in the hearts of his friends to consecrate his memory, and furnish the brightest and sweetest hope of that better life and more enduring fame which await all the faithful soldiers and servants of God."

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