Silas Casey was born at East
Greenwich, Rhode Island, July 12, 1807. After receiving an education in
neighborhood schools, he was appointed to the Military Academy in 1822 and was
graduated four years later. During the next thirty-five years he performed many
duties for the Regular Army. He was promoted to first lieutenant ten years after
graduation and to captain in 1839. In the course of the Mexican War, Casey
distinguished himself with General Winfield Scott's army in the battles of
Contreras, Churu-busco, Molino del Rey, and Chapultepec where, as captain of the
2nd Infantry, he was brevetted major and lieutenant colonel for gallant and
meritorious conduct. Until the outbreak of the Civil War, Casey served mainly on
the Pacific Coast and was commissioned lieutenant colonel of the reconstituted
9th Infantry in 1855. Appointed a brigadier general of volunteers on August 31,
1861, Casey's principal Civil War field service was at the battle of Seven Pines
(Fair Oaks) in the Peninsular campaign, where his division of Erasmus D. Keyes's
IV Corps bore the brunt of the first Confederate attack by A. P. Hill's troops.
(Casey's Redoubt at Seven Pines was named for him.)
Even though his position was overrun here, Casey was brevetted brigadier general in the Regular Army and commissioned major general of volunteers from May 31, 1862. Until the end of the war he commanded a provisional brigade in the Washington defenses and served as president of a board to examine candidates for officers of Negro troops. He was mustered out of volunteer service in July, 1865, and reverted to his permanent rank of colonel of the 4th Infantry, to which he had been promoted in October, 1861. Three years later he was retired on his own application after forty-six consecutive years of service. General Casey compiled and edited Infantry Tactics, which was adopted by the government in 1862, and a similar volume "for Colored Troops," adopted in 1863. He died in Brooklyn, New York, January 22, 1882, and was buried on the Casey family farm at North Kingstown, Rhode Island. One of his daughters married General Lewis C. Hunt.
Reference: Generals in Blue. Lives of the Union Commanders by Ezra J. Warner. Louisiana State University Press. Baton Rouge.