Thomas Gamble Pitcher

Thomas Gamble Pitcher was born in the river town of Rockport, Indiana, October 23, 1824. At the age of seventeen he was appointed to the Military Academy and was graduated in 1845, ranking next to the last in the class. Posted to the 5th Infantry as a brevet second lieutenant, he served in the military occupation of Texas which immediately preceded the Mexican War and was brevetted for gallantry in battle during the war. He became first lieutenant of the 8th Infantry in 1849 and captain in 1858. When the Civil War began Pitcher was depot commissary at Fort Bliss near El Paso, Texas. His only active field service was at the battle of Cedar Mountain, a preliminary to Second Manassas, where he commanded a battalion of skirmishers in Prince's brigade of Augur's division. During the battle he received a severe wound in the knee which made him an invalid for a number of months. On March 20, 1863, he was promoted to brigadier general of volunteers to rank from the preceding November 29. From June, 1863, until the end of the war he was on duty as state provost marshal general, first in Vermont and subsequently in Indiana for the Federal government. While stationed in Vermont, Pitcher's subordinates were literally driven out of the town of Rutland, Vermont, by a force of five hundred Irishmen who refused to register to fight for their adopted country. Eventually the authority of the United States prevailed, however, and Pitcher was able to move to Indianapolis, where he directed affairs of the bureau until his muster-out of the volunteer service in 1866. At this juncture he became simultaneously colonel of the 44th Infantry and superintendent of West Point, the latter an honor accorded to few and never previously to one who had graduated so low in his class, which is a testimonial either to Pitcher's ability or to the state of affairs in the War Department at the time. From 1870 until 1877 he was governor of the Soldiers' Home at Washington, and the following year he was retired "for disability contracted in the line of duty." Seventeen years later General Pitcher died, probably of tuberculosis, at Fort Bayard, New Mexico, on October 21, 1895. He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

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Reference: Generals in Blue. Lives of the Union Commanders by Ezra J. Warner. Louisiana State University Press. Baton Rouge.