|Birth: ||Sep. 4, 1833|
|Death: ||Sep. 8, 1864|
Served in the Union Army, Company "E", 12th Wisconsin Infantry. Died of wounds in Marietta, Georgia. Son of Ezra and Thirza (Sheldon) Thayer.
The following is from his biography as published in the 1893 Company E, 12th Wisconsin history.
Lieutenant J. H. Thayer.
James Harvey Thayer, son of Ezra and Thirza Sheldon Thayer, was born at Marlborough, Windham County, Vermont, on the 4th day of September, 1833 He was one of a family of eight children, five girls and three boys. He remained at home, working on his father's farm, till he was twenty years old, attending the district school till he was eighteen. After this he spent some time in attendance at a select school at Newfane. He also taught school a part of the time before moving, in June, 1856, to Newport, Sauk County, Wis., where he engaged in lumbering, which business he followed till the breaking out of the war.
As already recorded, on page 20 of this book, he enlisted Sept. 7, '61, as a member of what became Company E, of the 1 2th Wisconsin. He was thus one of the first men in the Company, only one enlistment being recorded before that day; that one was Captain Vanderpoel, Sept. 4.
When the election of officers was held, Thayer was chosen First, or Orderly, Sergeant. No better choice could have been made, for Sergeant Thayer was one of the best officers any company ever had. He was a good business man, prompt, methodical and faithful. He was always at his post of duty from the time of his enlistment till he was wounded, at Atlanta, on the 14th of August, '64.
When Captain Vanderpoel resigned, in May, '62, Sergeant Thayer became our Second Lieutenant, which rank he held at the time of his death, Oct. 7, '64. As a commissioned officer his good qualities were just as marked as they were when he marched at the head of the company with a musket. Too much cannot be said of his efficiency, his good judgment, his manly bearing. Prompt and energetic himself in the discharge of every duty, he expected every man in the company to do whatever was assigned him.
Lieutenant Thayer's worthy character not only deserved, but won and held, the highest esteem of the men of the company. He had a cool, quiet manner that he did not lose in the presence of danger, and this made him a particularly good officer to take charge of any perilous enterprise. Had the way been opened for him, he would have been worthy of any promotion, and fit for any official position.
After Captain Gillispie was wounded and taken prisoner, on the 21st of July, '64, at Bald Hill, Atlanta, Lieutenant Thayer had command of the company, Lieut. Linnell being on detached service. A little more than three weeks after Bald Hill - August 14 - we were stationed in a very dangerous position, the enemy's lines being close to us. Balls dropped in among us every now and then. The most of them struck the ground or the trunks of trees, but once in a while some poor fellow was hit. There was no safety for any of us, day or night. But the daily experience of that terrible summer of '64 had made us so familiar with danger and death that we did not mind much about our deadly little visitors, excepting when they hit somebody near us.
One day Lieut. Thayer was sitting on a bunk that had been built close to the works, and was talking to some of the boys sitting near him, when a ball came through the woods in our front, passed just over the top of the works, and struck him in the side, passing between the fifth and sixth ribs. The boys thought at first he was mortally wounded, and that he would soon die. They gathered around him, all trying to do what they could for him.
It seems that he and William Moshier* - the two had been fast friends - had once promised each other that if anything happened to either, the other would stand by him to the last. Just after the Lieutenant was wounded, he asked, "Where is William Moshier?" Will was soon at his side and supporting him in his strong, loving arms.
*Comrade Moshier has said to me more than once. "I did love that man."
The wound, as I remember it, was as if a knife had been thrust between his ribs into his side. I suppose the ball must have been flattened before hitting the Lieutenant by striking against the limb of a tree.
The surgeon was soon at hand and ordered the wounded man taken to the hospital. He said, "Will, I want you to go with me." A detail was soon got for Moshier, and he went with Thayer to the hospital, near Marietta, to act as his nurse as long as needed.
No man could have served our wounded Lieutenant and comrade more faithfully, tenderly and skillfully than did Will Moshier. He was not well himself, and he really needed attendance, but he scarcely ever left the bedside or ceased for one moment his careful attention, except to get such sleep as was actually necessary. I know all this, for I was in the same hospital myself, and was often where I could observe the loving devotion bestowed upon Lieutenant Thayer.
At first he began to improve quite rapidly, and we thought he would surely recover. The doctor was kind and cheerful, and Thayer was very hopeful. About the last of September, however, he began to lose strength and to grow worse in every way. The doctor soon saw that he must die. He became very weak, but his mind was clear to the very last. I was with him at the time of his death. During the last forty-eight hours he was too weak to speak, but Will Moshier stood over him and understood by every look just what he wanted. His great desire had been to get home before he died, but that blessed privilege was denied him. His life ebbed quietly away - so quietly that we hardly knew when the last breath came. At the very last he looked up with all the expression in his eyes of a well man.
All along during his sickness he was very patient, full of courage, and hopeful. He was pleased with all that was done for him, and thankful for every kindness. He thought that everything his faithful nurse did for him was just right. Moshier says that the Lieutenant did not like to call on him nights for help, because he wanted him to get all the rest he could; and that he should have tired quite out had it not been for his patient's gentleness and gratitude.
On post mortem examination, it was found that one of his lungs was quite gone, but the ball could not be found. The surgeons thought it was the jar of the ball against his ribs that cause the decay of his lung.
Comrade Moshier carefully prepared his body for burial. He made as good a coffin for him as he could, wrapped him in blankets, and saw him decently buried about four rods northwest of the main hospital building - the old Military Institute near Marietta, Georgia.
Moshier expected that his body would be removed to the North for final interment, but it never was.
I would like to present a better sketch of Lieutenant Thayer's life and army service, but it has not been easy to get many facts concerning his early life. I have tried, however, to speak truly concerning his character, though I feel that I have failed to do him full justice. I am indebted to Comrade Moshier for most of what I have written about his sickness and death.
Ezra Drew Thayer (1793 - 1875)
Rozina Sophia Thayer Kingsbury (1821 - ____)*
Lafayette Thayer (1824 - 1905)*
Amanda Thayer Cook (1826 - ____)*
Orson Thayer (1828 - 1921)*
Sarah Jane Thayer Bishop (1831 - 1860)*
James Hervey Thayer (1833 - 1864)
Sylvia A. Thayer Whitney (1837 - 1885)*
Marietta National Cemetery
Plot: G 8312
Created by: Marc Thayer, III
Record added: Oct 27, 2006
Find A Grave Memorial# 16341438
2LT James H Thayer was an officer in Company E, 12th Wisconsin Infantry in the Civil War. This unit served in the Western Theater, taking part in Grant's Central Mississippi campaign, the siege of Vicksburg, the Atlanta Campaign (including the battles of ...(Read more)|
Added: Sep. 30, 2013
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