- Herman Hattaway
- and Michael D. Smith
Thayer, Sylvanus (09 June 1785–07 September 1872), soldier and educator, was born in Braintree, Massachusetts, the son of Nathaniel Thayer, a farmer and carpenter, and Dorcas Faxon. An exceptional student with a keen interest in the military campaigns of his day, Thayer received an LL. with honors from Dartmouth College upon his graduation in 1807. He immediately sought appointment as a cadet at the U.S. Military Academy. Thayer mastered the curriculum in one year and graduated in 1808. Commissioned as a second lieutenant of engineers, he was inspector of coastal fortifications in New England. In 1810 he reported for duty at West Point as an assistant professor of mathematics. Promoted to first lieutenant on 1 July 1812, Thayer saw active field service in the War of 1812. He was chief engineer during campaigns in upper New York and during the defense of Norfolk, Virginia. He was made captain on 13 October 1813 and brevet major on 20 February 1815....