Thomas Casimer Devin
Thomas Casimer Devin, whose parents were natives
of Ireland, was born in New York City on December 10, 1822. He received a
limited education in the common schools of the city, became a house painter, and
joined the New York State militia, rising to lieutenant colonel of a regiment.
When the Civil War came, Devin was mustered into Federal service as a captain of
the 1st New York Cavalry two days before First Manassas and on November 18,
1861, became colonel of the 6th New York Cavalry, which was also called the "2nd
Ira Harris Guards," after the popular New York Senator. This regiment's first
important service was in the Maryland campaign of 1862, with the battle of
Antietam supposedly opened by one of its squadrons. After the battle of
Fredericksburg, Devin was given the direction of a brigade under Alfred
Pleasonton, who consistently urged Devin's appointment as brigadier. Devin
fought well at Chancellorsville and Beverly Ford, and his brigade, in the
command of John Buford, aided in holding back the advance of Henry Heth's men on
the first day at Gettysburg, enabling the Federal I Corps to reach the field
before the position was lost. Early in 1864, the brigade took part in Judson
Kilpatrick's raid on Richmond and in August of that year was sent to the
Shenandoah Valley for service in Philip Sheridan's campaign against Jubal Early.
Slightly wounded in the action at Crooked Run, Devin returned to his command to
participate in the battles of Winchester, Fisher's Hill, and Cedar Creek, his
commission of brigadier general (not issued until March 13, 1865) giving him
rank as of the last-named battle. In the final operations of the cavalry during
the Appomattox campaign, Devin commanded the 1st Division of the Cavalry Corps.
At the close of the war he was brevetted major general of volunteers for gallant
and meritorious service, in 1866 was appointed lieutenant colonel of the 8th U.
S. Cavalry, and in 1877 became colonel of the 3rd Cavalry. General Devin's
health was precarious after 1873 and in
he returned to his home in New York City, where he died on April 4, 1878. He was buried in Calvary Cemetery, Long Island City, New York. Years older than most of his contemporaries at war's end, his finest accolade was: "Colonel Devin knew how to take his men into action and also how to bring them out."
Reference: Generals in Blue. Lives of the Union Commanders by Ezra J. Warner. Louisiana State University Press. Baton Rouge.