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Brevet Brigadier General Thomas Jones Thorp

A letter from Randy Fletcher of Eugene, Oregon, began the research on General Thomas J. Thorp:

1/29/08

Ron,

I enjoyed your Allegany history website. I thought that you might like to know that a prominent son of Granger rests in an unmarked grave in Corvallis, Oregon. The grave of is that of Gen. Thomas Thorp, 1st NY Dragoons but it will not be unmarked for much longer. The Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War have ordered a headstone and will have it in place by Memorial Day.  Attached is a copy of our newsletter with a story about Thorp. Feel free to contact me if you would like more information.

Randy Fletcher, Eugene, Oregon

CLICK HERE TO VIEW NEWSLETTER

 "Thomas J. Thorp, lieutenant-colonel of the regiment, graduated at Union College about the time of the outbreak of the Rebellion. Young, talented, ardent and enthusiastic, he at once engaged in the work of organizing a command for the war, and when the 85th New York took the field, he accompanied that regiment as captain of Company E. A master in drill and discipline, he brought the company to the highest state of efficiency, and was conspicuous for gallantry and courage throughout the service of that regiment in the Peninsula campaign. At Fair Oaks, May 31st, 1862, in the front of that heroic struggle, he was wounded in the leg, but, determined not to give up, his indomitable spirit carried him through the subsequent seven days fight and retreat to Harrison’s Landing, where, weak from exhaustion and worn out with constant duty, he became a victim of the prevalent malarial fever and was furloughed home-to regain his health. Here his recognized merit and fitness for the position of field officer of the 130th New York, then organizing in the Senatorial district, at once directed the attention of the Senatorial committee to him, and he was by common consent chosen for the position of lieutenant-colonel. The wisdom of that choice was abundantly demonstrated in the subsequent history of the regiment." ("HISTORY OF ALLEGANY COUNTY,NY"; 1806-1879 - F.W. Beers & Co.,NY; Geo. MacNamara, Printer, 36 Vesey St., NY 1879)

Thomas Jones Thorp:   Residence Almond NY; 24 years old.

Enlisted on 9/1/1861 at Granger, NY as a Captain.  On 11/29/1861 he was commissioned into "E" Co. NY 85th Infantry.  He was discharged for promotion on 8/27/1862 at Washington, DC.  On 8/27/1862 he was commissioned into Field & Staff NY 1st Dragoons.  He was Mustered Out on 6/30/1865 at Cloud's Mills, VA.

He was listed as:
* POW 6/11/1864 Trevillian Station, VA
* Confined 7/4/1864 Macon, GA (Estimated date)

Promotions:
* Lt Col 8/27/1862 (As of 1st NY Dragoons)
* Colonel 12/24/1864
* Brig-Gen 3/13/1865 by Brevet

Other Information:  born in 1837 in Granger, Allegany County, NY; died 7/26/1915 in Corvallis, OR.  (Wife:  Mandana Coleman Major Thorp)

Sources used by Historical Data Systems, Inc.:

 - New York:  Report of the Adjutant-General
 - Information provided by HDS subscribers
 - Dyer: A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion
 - Heitman: Register of United States Army 1789-1903
 - Brevet Brigadier Generals in Blue
 - Photo courtesy of Massachusetts Commandery of MOLLUS
(c) Historical Data Systems, Inc. @ www.civilwardata.com

 

CLICK HERE  for a photo (and photo reverse) of  Bvt. Brigadier General Thomas Jones Thorp and his wife Mandana C. (Major) Thorp. Thomas J. Thorp was a distinguished Captain in the 85th Regiment of NY Volunteers and also served as Colonel of the lst NY Dragoons. Born in Granger, NY in May of 1837. Died July 25th, 1915 in Corvallis, OR. The Thorp family erected an elegant soldiers monument in Short Tract. His name, as well as the names of all the men of Granger who served, are on the monument.

"This photo was found in a civil war era album in Fort Worth, TX. in 1999......David Stewart, Bedford, TX."

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OBITUARY FOR BRIGADIER GENERAL THOMAS THORP:

From: Daily Gazette Times; Corvallis, Benton County, OR
Submitted by Randy Fletcher; transcribed by Mrs. Fletcher, Publication Date - July 27, 1915
 
WAR VETERAN ANSWERS THE CALL

General Thorp,  Hero of Many Civil War Battles, Passes Away.

One of the last of the nation’s great heroes of the Civil War passed away yesterday morning and will be laid to rest tomorrow afternoon in Crystal Lake cemetery. The funeral, which will be held at the Presbyterian church at two o’clock, will be remarkable in that the minister, as a Confederate soldier, fought against the New York Dragoons at Cedar Creek at the time of Sheridan’s raids, and was captured by General Thorp’s command. The two old warriors have fought the battle over and over again, and while they had no knowledge one of the other at the time of the battle, each one’s story fitted so well and the other’s that there is little doubt that Dr. J.R.N. Bell was captured by the venerable soldier whose death came yesterday.

General Thos. J. Thorp was a native of New York and molded his career as a New Yorker. He was born at Granger, in Alleghany County in 1837. While a senior at Union College the war broke out and he enlisted in the 85th New York Regiment of Infantry, which organization became a part of the Army of the Potomac. He received his college degree in the field with his regiment. He became a captain and as such won fame at Fair Oaks where he was wounded in the Peninsular Campaign. At the conclusion of several days in battle, Captain Thorp was selected by Governor Morgan of New York to fill the position of Lieutenant Colonel of the 130th New York regiment. He became Colonel of the regiment on the promotion of  Col. Gibbs. This regiment was afterwards changed in name to the First New York Dragoons having been transferred to the cavalry corps after the battle of Gettsyburg.

One of the most notable events of the New York Dragoons was when his regiment was drawn up in a hollow square and before the regiment the Col. was married to Lamanda, daughter of Colonel John Major. Rev. Dr. Wakeman, who was one of the captains of the regiment, performed the ceremony.

The colonel was wounded again at Trevelian Stations, made a prisoner by the Confederates and sent to Macon, Georgia. On the 4th of July he addressed the 1600 officers imprisoned there in the most fiery Independence Day speech of his career. His speech was considered insubordination by the prison commander and Colonel Thorp was placed on a train to be shipped to Charleston. In the night he jumped from the train and escaped.

When the war closed Colonel Thorp was brevetted a Brigadier General by the War Department for his valuable service and gallantry. He spent a number of years in educational work following the war, later, taking up the study of mechanics and has patented a great many devices. A part of this time was spent in New York and a few years the family lived in Chicago. In 1891 the family moved to Forest Grove, Oregon, where they lived until they moved to Corvallis fifteen years ago.

General Thorp is survived by his widow, a daughter, Miss Maybelle Bessie Thorp, and a son Stephen Montgomery Thorp. The son went recently to England and when last heard from was employed by the British War Department. 

 

And finally - 92 years later - thanks to Randy and Andrew Fletcher, a headstone is in place:

2/23/08

I am happy to report that my son Andrew and I installed the headstone for Gen. Thorp today. It has been over 92 years since the general passed away but he now has the marker he deserves. He is buried in Crystal Lake Cemetery in Corvallis, Oregon.

Andrew and I are members of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War. Attached are two photos from this afternoon.

Randy Fletcher

Eugene, Oregon

CLICK HERE TO VIEW PHOTOS OF RANDY AND ANDREW FLETCHER AND THE NEW HEADSTONE FOR GENERAL THOMAS THORP.

 

 

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