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Civil War Soldiers - Keyes

Keyes, Erasmus D., major-general, U.S. Army, was born in Brimfield, Mass., May 29, 1810. He was graduated at West Point in 1832, served in Charleston harbor during the nullification troubles, 1832-33; was aide- de-camp to Gen. Scott, 1837-41 ; served then on garrison duty until 1844, and after that until 1848 as instructor at the military academy, being then on frontier and garrison duty until 1860. During this time he commanded a battery in expeditions against Indians in the northwest, took part in a number of engagements, and was promoted major in 1858. He was military secretary to Gen. Scott from Jan. 1, 1860, to April 19, 1861, was made colonel of the 11th infantry, May 14, and three days later was commissioned brigadier-general of volunteers. He assisted in organizing the expedition to relieve Fort Pickens, Fla., in April, 1861, served on the staff of Gov. Morgan of New York from April to June of that year, and assisted in forwarding the state quota of troops to the front. He commanded a brigade in McDowell's army at the first battle of Bull Run, was then in command of the defenses of Washington until March 10, 1862, when he was assigned to McClellan's Army of the Potomac and placed in command of the 4th corps, with which he engaged at Lee's mills and in the siege of Yorktown. In May, 1862, he was promoted major-general of volunteers, and after that was in several engagements, being brevetted brigadier-general in the regular army, May 31, for his conduct in the battle of Fair Oaks. Subsequently he organized a raid to White House, Va., Jan. 7, 1863, commanded the expedition to West Point, Va., May 7, and engaged in another exploit under Maj. -Gen. Dix toward Richmond in June and July, 1863. He was charged by Gen. Dix with being responsible for the failure of this expedition, and he made repeated unsuccessful applications for court-martial proceedings to defend himself against the charges made. He served on the board for retiring disabled officers from July 15, 1863, until May 6, 1864, when he resigned from the army and removed to San Francisco, Cal. Here he became interested in gold mining and was president of the California Vine Culture society, 1868-72. Gen. Keyes died at Nice, France, Oct. 15, 1895, and was buried at West Point, N. Y., in 1897.

Source: The Union Army: A History of Military Affairs in the Loyal States 1861-1865, Volume 8 Biographical, 1908

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