Major General Silas Casey (USV)


Aug 27, 2016
Hangzhou, China (Wisconsin, USA)

Major General Silas Casey (USV)

Silas Casey was born on 12 July 1807 in East Greenwich, Rhode Island. He graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1826. He fought in the Second Seminole War. During the Mexican-American War, he saw action at Contreras and Churubusco earning a brevet promotion to major on 20 August 1847. He fought at Molino del Rey and was severely wounded on 13 September at the Battle of Chapultepec.

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

On 31 August 1861, Casey was promoted to brigadier general of volunteers. He commanded the 3rd Division, IV Corps, Army of the Potomac during the Peninsula Campaign in 1862. During the Battle of Seven Pines, Casey's division was attacked by D.H. Hill's Confederates and driven from the field in panic. Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan, commanding the Army of the Potomac, 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.

Casey was replaced by Brig. Gen. John J. Peck and for the remainder of the 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, Casey's men turned their backs and refused to cheer him.

During the general promotion of all the army's corps and division commanders, Casey was promoted to major general on 27 July 1862. However, he was relegated to desk duty and wrote the three-volume System of Infantry Tactics. 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.

He was mustered out of volunteer service and reverted to his regular army rank of colonel on 24 August 1865. He retired on 8 July 1868 after 42 years of active duty. He died 22 January 1882 in Brooklyn, New York.

His 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 U.S. Army; and Lieutenant Edward Wanton Casey, an Army officer of Cheyenne Scouts, Troop L, 8th U.S. Cavalry, who was killed in action by the Sioux on 7 January 1891.