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Erasmus Darwin Keyes

Soldier, convert (1810-1895)

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Keyes, ERASMUS DARWIN, soldier, convert, b. at Brimfield, Massachusetts, U.S.A., May 29, 1810; d. at Nice, France, October 14, 1895. His father, Justus, was a prominent physician and surgeon. Receiving an appointment to the West Point Military Academy, young Keyes graduated there in 1832 and was commissioned a lieutenant in the Third Artillery. After service in the South during the Nullification troubles, 1832-33, he was military aide to General Scott, with the rank of captain (1837-41), on duty connected with the Indian conflicts. From 1854 to 1858 he was instructor of cavalry and artillery tactics at West Point, and received his commission of major, October 12, 1858. Gen. Scott appointed him military secretary, January 1, 1860, and he became colonel of the 11th Infantry, May 14, 1861, and soon after brigadier-general of volunteers, the Civil War having broken out. General Keyes participated in the first battle of Bull Run, and commanded a corps in the Army of the Potomac. For gallantry at the battle of Fair Oaks, he received the brevet of brigadier-general in the regular army. On May 6, 1864, he resigned from the army and went to California, where he engaged in mining and other business enterprises. He became a Catholic in San Francisco, in 1866. His death took place in France, but his remains were brought back to New York for interment. He was the author of “Fifty Years’ Observation of Men and Events” (New York, 1884), which contains many anecdotes of public interest.


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