Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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MERCHANT, Charles Spencer, soldier, born in Albany, New York, 22 February, 1795; died in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, 6 December, 1879. His father, George, was a graduate of Princeton, a paymaster in the army in the war of 1812-'15, subsequently mayor of Albany, and treasurer of the state of New York. The son was appointed to the recently established United States military academy, 7 Sept:, 1812, and was the first cadet that presented himself there. He was graduated in 1814, assigned to the corps of artillery, and during the war with Great Britain was engaged in garrison and recruiting service, lie was promoted 1st lieutenant, 20 April, 1818, and with thirty soldiers escorted Gem James Miller to Eastport, Maine, where the British garrison of Fort Sullivan was relieved, and Merchant was left in command. At the reorganization of the army. on 1 June, 1821, he was retained as 1st lieutenant in the 2d artillery, and on 20 April, 1828, received the brevet of captain for faithful service for ten years in one grade. During the disturbances on the borders of Canada in 1838-'41 he was stationed at northern frontier posts, and (luring the latter part of the war with Mexico he was in command of Fort Brown, on the Rio Grande. On 14 February, 1849, he was promoted major of the 3d artillery. He was with his regiment in December, 1853, on board the steamer " San Francisco " when she was wrecked off Cape Hatteras, and suffered from the effects for several years. On 10 June, 1857, he was promoted lieutenant-colonel of the 3d artillery, which he rejoined in California, remaining there until 1861. On 27 August of that year he was promoted colonel of the 4th artillery, and he was subsequently placed in command of Fort Washington, on the Potomac, until he was retired from active service, I August, 1863. Notwithstanding his retirement, he remained on active duty at Bedloe's island, New York hart)or, and on courts-martial until 1869. On 13 March, 1865, he received the brevet of brigadier-general "for long and faithful service in the army." At the time of his death he was the senior officer of the army in date of original commission, and president of the Association of graduates of West Point.--His son Charles George, soldier, born in Portsmouth, N. II., 16 March, 1821 ; died in East Pascagoula, Mississippi, 4 September, 1855, was graduated at the United States military academy in 1843, and assigned to the 8th infantry. He was made 2d lieutenant, 9 May 1846, brevet 1st lieutenant "for gallant and meritorious conduct in the battle of Molino del Rey," 8 September, 1847, brevet captain for Chapultepec, 13 September, 1847, and 1st lieutenant, 2 August, 1848. His death was caused by a wound that he received in Indian hostilities in Florida.--Another son, Clarke, naval officer, born in Savannah, Georgia, 20 September, 1836, was graduated at the United States naval academy in 1857, and promoted successively passed midshipman, 25 June, 1860, master, 24 October, 1860, lieutenant, 18 April, 1861, and lieutenant-commander, 3 March, 1865. In the early part of the civil war he was stationed at the Washington navy-yard and attached to the "Pensacola," and during the latter part was acting executive officer of the "Roanoke" in James river. Just as the war was closing he was ordered to the naval academy as executive officer of the "Constitution" and " Santic." He resigned on 10 August, 1865, and engaged in mercantile business in Philadelphia.
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