Silas Casey
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Silas Casey
Silas Casey
Silas Casey.jpg
Silas Casey
Born(1807-07-12)July 12, 1807
East Greenwich, Rhode Island
DiedJanuary 22, 1882(1882-01-22) (aged 74)
Brooklyn, New York
Place of burial
AllegianceUnited States of America
Service/branchUnited States Army
Union Army
Years of service1826-1868
RankUnion Army major general rank insignia.svg Major General
Battles/warsSan Juan Dispute
American Civil War
ChildrenThomas Lincoln Casey Sr.

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. In 1880 Casey became a veteran member of the Aztec Club of 1847--a military society originally composed of officers who had served in the occupation of Mexico City and later extended its membership to all United States officers who had served during the Mexican War and their descendants.[1][2]

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.[3] He was promoted to colonel in the regular army on October 9. Casey eventually became a division commander in the IV Corps under Brig. Gen Erasmus Keyes. During the Battle of Seven Pines, Casey's division was attacked by D.H. Hill's Confederates and driven from the field in panic. Gen. George McClellan blamed them for the disaster, in spite of the fact that it was the smallest, least experienced, and least well-equipped division in the army and clearly should not have been placed in such a vulnerable location as the Seven Pines crossroads. Casey was removed from division command and replaced by Brig. Gen John J. Peck. For the remainder of the Peninsula Campaign, Casey and his former division were relegated to a post around army headquarters at Harrison's Landing and kept away from the front lines. After the Seven Days battles, when McClellan conducted a review of the army, the soldiers in Casey's division turned their backs and refused to cheer him. He was promoted to major general of volunteers on July 27 (to rank from July 4) in general promotion of all the army's corps and division commanders.[4]

He wrote the three-volume System of Infantry Tactics, including Infantry Tactics volumes I[5] and II,[6] 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, at the age of 61, having served over 40 years on active duty.

In 1870, he became a hereditary member of the Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati in succession to his uncle Dr. Lincoln Goodale.[7] 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.

Casey died of a digestive system ailment in Brooklyn, New York on January 22, 1882, and is buried at Casey Farm in Saunderstown, Rhode Island.

Casey's sons included Silas Casey III, who served as Rear Admiral of the Pacific Squadron, 1901-1903; Brigadier General Thomas Lincoln Casey (who oversaw the completion of the Washington Monument and served as Chief of Engineers in the US Army) and Lieutenant Edward Wanton Casey, an Army officer of Cheyenne Scouts/Troop L/8th Cavalry Regiment USA who was killed in action with the Sioux January 7, 1891.

See also


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Constitution of the Aztec Club of 1847 and List of Members. 1909. pg. 34.
  3. ^ Eicher, p. 167.
  4. ^ War Department General Order 181 dated 1st November 1862 formalising the Summers' promotions [2]
  5. ^ Infantry Tactics vol. 1: by Brig,-Gen. Silas Casey- Retrieved 2017-12-07
  6. ^ S. Casey (1862) Infantry Tactics, David Van Nostrand, link from Google books
  7. ^ 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.


External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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