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From the Cullum File of Heman Allen Fay

August 14, 1855
Contributed by
Susan Fay McGinn
Mary McGinn Vickers

transcribed and annotated by Linda Fay Kaufman
Heman Allen's page
Bennington and Vermont Directory
lines, lists and links
Albany Aug. 14, 1855
Dear Sir,
I regret that is is wholly out of my power to give such replies (to yours of the 7th Instant) as is required -- but such as I have & can give, are at your Service --
I have been "out of harness" so long, that I cannot call to mind, the names of Cadets at the Military Academy, at the time with myself (which was in 1827)[sic; read 1807] -- so far as I do remember them, & know about them, it is as follows -- viz -- [underlining added in what follows]
1st, Justus Post1 -- a graduate in 1808 -- never was in "battle" -- having a station in New York City, & mainly in the Quarter-Master Dept. until 1815 -- when he left the Army, & went to Missouri -- is now dead -- he was an excellent mathematician.
2nd. John Anderson2 -- became Col. of Topographical Engineers, was surrendered (with others) by Gen. Hull at Detroit -- a prisoner, sent to Montreal -- exchanged, but was never in "battle" -- he died in Detroit a Drinking Man, & nothing grieved me more --for he was (while a Cadet) one of the most moral, clever men, I ever knew --
3rd. Satterlee Clark3 -- was early appointed Paymaster, which place he held during the War -- he had some excellent qualities, & alas! some as bad as man could well possess, a Gambler & drunkard!! -- dead.
4th. Milo Mason4 -- held various appointments from Major Moses Porter of the Old Corp of Artillery, up to the family of Gen. Jackson, where he officiated in the Quartermaster Dept. -- he is dead --
5th. Luther Leonard5 -- a most eccentric queer, good fellow, who was in the battle of Plattsburgh -- & who is now in a Military Store in St. Louis (Mo.) --
6th. Geo. Gibson6 -- promoted to Major in a New Regiment raised in 1812 -- went to the Niagara frontier, & was there slain but in which action I do not remember -- he was a good man.
7th.---- Wood7 (of the Engineers) I donot remember his Christian name -- by the Official reports of actions on the Niagara frontier, he was very favorably reported -- as he was a very clever fellow at West Point in my time -- lost his life (I believe) in the Sortie at Fort Erie--
8th. Julius F. Heileman8 -- I knew well, (having been stationed with him) -- he was raised to the rank of Major, he died in fighting the Indians in Florida --
9th. Christopher Van Deventer9 -- was never in any Action to my knowledge -- he held various places in the Staff of the Army, & became Chief Clerk in the War Dept. -- dead.
10th. Asa Aikins10 -- received his Education at W. Pt., resigned, studied Law, & was appointed Associate Judge of the Supreme Court in Vermont --
11th. D. A. A. Buck11 -- received a Military Education, but never (so far as I know) performed any service --
12th. Samuel Rathbone12 -- went as 2nd Lieut. to the Niagara frontier in 1812 -- was wounded in the knee in crossing the Niagara, under Command of Gen. Van Rensselaer, the "Old Patron" -- I never heard that Rathbone performed any other service --
13th. & Lastly -- H. A. Fay, the writer of this, was never in battle, because he never got near enough -- as he belonged to the Artillery, his stations were from Newport (R. I.) to Fort Washington on the Potomac -- never was nearer an Action, than to hear distinctly the Cannon & Small of the famous battle of Bladensburgh! & a most shameful Run-away it was --
I have been some 25 years as Agent of the Quartermaster Dept & Military Store Keeper until 1842 -- since which I am a Citizen at large, & a Christian man, with a hope of Heaven, thro' the perfect work of the Lord Jesus Christ -- & if my fellow Soldier Geo. W. Collum is not a Christian, my warmest desire & prayer is, that he may become one without loss of time -- do so, my dear Sir -- & may God bless, & lead you into his kingdom, is the sincere & devout wish of your friend
& Obedient
H. A. Fay
Note -- there was about 32 Cadets in the Class at the Academy in 1807 -- I forget the names of any more than I have mentioned -- as there was no particular intimacy (they being much younger than myself) --
If the above will do you any good, you are most heartily welcome.
I started to look some of these people up to try to check the spelling of the name, for it was difficult at times to read Fay's handwriting. I found that it was interesting to read the little things I found, and so I decided to search a little more and include a bit for each of the 12 men that Fay mentions. I was able to find something about all of them.
1. Justus Post is listed in the census of 1830 in Bonhomme, St Louis, Missouri. He is also found in the New York Genealogical Records, 1675-1920, listed as living in New York City in 1815. He is called "Agent for fortifications." He is also mentioned in the transcription of a letter regarding to the transfer of land in the "Minutes of the Common Council of the city of New York, 1784-1831."
2. John Anderson-- "Conn. Vt. Cadet Military Academy 9 Oct 1806 (3); 2 lieutenant artillerists 9 Dec 1807; resigned 1 May 1811; 1 lieutenant 19 infantry 6 July 1812; captain 16 Mar 1813; brevet major topographical engineer 12 Apr 1813; honorable discharged 15 June 1815, reinstated 2 May 1816; brevet lieutenant colonel 12 Apr 1823 for 10 years faithful services in one grade; died 14 Sept 1834." From: Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army, [p.149] A. page 164.
3. Satterlee Clark-- "Vt. Vt. Cadet Military Academy 15 May 1805 (2); 2 lieutenant artillerists 9 Dec 1807; 1 lieutenant 10 July 1811 to 31 Dec 1813; distinguished or district paymaster 15 Aug 1810; honorable discharged 15 June 1815; battalion and distinguished or district paymaster 29 Apr 1816; paymaster 1 June 1821 to rank from 29 Apr 1816; dismissed 5 Aug 1824; [died 1 Mar 1848.]" From: Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army, C. page 305.
4. Milo Mason came from Castleton, Vermont; he was a commander of Fort Walcott on Goat Island, Newport Harbor, Rhode Island: CPT (Brevet MAJ) Milo Mason, 08, 1st As of June 29th, 1826 - November 4th, 1827. Earlier, during the time of his service under General Jackson, he appears in connection with a pay order signed by Andrew Jackson May 7, 1816. This letter was offered for sale on ebay recently; the description that follows is taken from this.
"Order to pay a pilot who guided U.S. navy ships into Florida’s harbors, enabling Jackson to remove Spanish influence there. The order includes payment for piloting the schooner of the captured British agent Alexander Arbuthnot – Jackson’s hanging of the Scotsman would lead to an international outcry and a Congressional investigation. Very rare document directly relating to the U.S. taking of Florida.
Also signed by John Baptiste, the pilot, with his mark. Baptiste took this document back to the quartermaster at Fort Gadsden, where it was paid: “Fort Gadsden, May 7, 1818. Received of Maj.Milo Mason, Dept. Q.M.Genl., twenty six dollars in full of the above account.”"
5. Luther Leonard is mentioned in an Ohio record with little information; in addition, he appears on the Roster of Ohio Soldiers In the War of 1812, Roll Of Capt. Luther Leonard's Company. Served from August 11, until November 30, 1812, and from July 5, until July 23, 1814. He received the promotion to Captain early in the war: from the Senate Executive Journal: Proposed by W. Eustis, Secretary of War, approved by James Madison, promotion of First Lieutenant Luther Leonard, to be Captain, vice Scott, promoted 6th July, 1812.
6. George Gibson was called on for testimony; he testified "that he acted as quartermaster general in General Jacksoln's campaign against the Seminoles." From: American State Papers [Military Affairs: Volume 1] : INDEX TO MILITARY AFFAIRS. VOLUME I. There is some question about this one, though, because if this was the same George Gibson, then he doesn't seem to have died in Niagara.
7. Wood, whose first name was Eleazer, Engineering Officer, Captain, War of 1812, later Lt. Colonel, gave his name to Fort Wood, Bedloe Island. There is also a monument to him at West Point: "WOOD'S MONUMENT,was erected in memory of Colonel Eleazor Wood, engineer officer and graduate of West Point in 1806, killed while leading a sortie from besieged Fort Erie in 1814. This monument appears in old prints of West Point located on a knoll near the flag pole. Both it and the Cadet Monument (number 12) served as guides to river boats navigating the bend in the river above West Point." From: The West Point Cemetery.
8. "Julius Frederick Heileman, a handsome youth of sixteen years, the son of a surgeon in our army at Fort Jay, who had beloged to the corps of Colonel Baum of the Hessian corps of England, at the battle of Bennington."---page 35 of The memoirs of Gen. Joseph Gardner Swift, LL.D., U.S.A., first graduate of the United States Military Academy, West Point. Julius is also listed on the Florida War Death List, 1836-42: he was a Maj. and Bt. Lt. Col. in the Second Regiment of Artillery, and died 27 June 1836 at Fort Drane.
9. Christopher Van Deventer appears in a modern discussion of the impeachment of a president: "Congress has exercised its prerogative to criticize other officers of the executive branch by resolutions of censure. In 1822, during the Monroe administration, the House "censured" Major Christopher Van Deventer, the War Department’s Chief Clerk, for awarding a construction contract to his brother-in-law, Elijah Mix, who in turn sold a quarter interest in the contract back to Van Deventer." From the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, with a footnote to Woodward, Responses of the Presidents 41; House Report 79, 17th Cong., lst Sess.
10. Asa Aikins is listed in Revolutionary Pensioners of 1818, List of Half-pay Pensioners of the United States, Vermont, Page 193, but this is the only reference I could find.
11. Daniel Azro Ashley Buck. "Vt. Vt. Cadet Military Academy 9 July 1806 (1); 2 lieutenant engs 23 Feb 1808; resigned 31 Aug 1811; captain 31 infantry 30 Apr 1813; honorable discharged 15 June 1815; [died 24 Dec 1841.]" From: Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army, B. page 258. Buck does seem to have performed military service.
12. Samuel B. Rathbone graduated from the Military Academy at West Point June 12, 1808, and was appointed a Second Lieutenant in a Regiment of Artillerists under General Van Rensselaer. He was mortally wounded in the storming of the redoubt upon Queenstown Heights, U. C., October 13, 1812, and died of his wounds December 8, 1812, at Fort Niagara, N.Y., much lamented by the army. From: Family History: Early New York Families, 1600s-1900s, page 646.