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Silas Casey


Silas Casey

Silas Casey
Silas Casey
Born (1807-07-12)July 12, 1807
East Greenwich, Rhode Island
Died January 22, 1882(1882-01-22) (aged 74)
Brooklyn, New York
Place of burial the Casey farm in North Kingstown, Rhode Island
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch Union Army
Years of service 1826 - 1868
Rank Major General
Battles/wars San Juan Dispute
American Civil War

Silas Casey (July 12, 1807 – January 22, 1882) was a career United States Army officer who rose to the rank of Major General during the American Civil War.

Early life and military career

Casey was born in East Greenwich, Rhode Island. He graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1826 (39th out of 41).

He fought in the Second Seminole War under William J. Worth from 1837 to 1842. During the Mexican-American War he fought at the Battle of Contreras and Battle of Churubusco, and was appointed brevet major on August 20, 1847 for gallant conduct. He then fought in the Battle of Molino del Rey and was severely wounded during the Battle of Chapultepec on September 13, 1847. During his service in Mexico, Casey became an original member of the Aztec Club of 1847. [1]

After the Mexican-American War, he performed frontier duties and escorted topographical parties, including a trip to California around Cape Horn in 1849. He commanded at Camp Picket during the Pig War on San Juan Island from August 10 to October 18, 1859.

Civil War

Casey was promoted to brigadier general of Volunteers on August 31, 1861, shortly after arriving on the East Coast.[1] He was promoted to colonel in the Regular Army on October 9, 1861. He fought in the Peninsula Campaign, where his division suffered heavy losses at Battle of Seven Pines on May 31, 1862, facing Brig. Gen. George Pickett's brigade. He was promoted to major general of Volunteers shortly after the battle to rank from May 31, 1862.

He wrote the three-volume System of Infantry Tactics, including Infantry Tactics volumes I and II,[2] published by the army on August 11, 1862, and Infantry Tactics for Colored Troops, published on March 9, 1863. The manuals were used by both sides during the Civil War.

In December 1862 he was appointed to the board that ultimately convicted Maj. Gen. Fitz John Porter of disobedience and cowardice for his actions at the Second Battle of Bull Run.

At the end of the war, Casey received a brevet (honorary promotion) to the rank of major general date March 15, 1865. He was mustered out of Volunteer service and reverted to his Regular Army rank of colonel on August 24, 1865.

Postbellum life

Casey retired from the Army on July 8, 1868, having served over 40 years of active duty.

In 1870 he became an hereditary member of the Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati in succession to his uncle Dr. Lincoln Goodale.[3] In 1880 he joined the Aztec Club of 1847 and was succeeded by his son, Silas III, upon his death. General Casey was also a member of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States as were all three of his sons.

He died in Brooklyn, New York on January 22, 1882 and was buried at the Casey farm in North Kingstown, Rhode Island.

Casey's sons included Silas Casey III, who served as Rear Admiral of the Pacific Squadron, Thomas Lincoln Casey, who served as Chief of Engineers in the US Army, and Edward Wanton Casey, an Army lieutenant who was killed by the Sioux in 1891.

See also


  1. ^ Eicher, p. 167.
  2. ^ S. Casey (1862) Infantry Tactics, David Van Nostrand, link from Google books
  3. ^ Memorials of the Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati, 1890. pg. 212.


  • Eicher, John H., and David J. Eicher. Civil War High Commands. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2001. ISBN 0-8047-3641-3.
  • Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. New York: D. Appleton. 

External links

  • Casey's Infantry Tactics (Online)
  • Casey's Infantry Tactics (Google E-book)
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