Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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CHASE, William Henry, soldier, born in Massachusetts in 1798; died in Pensacola, Florida, 8 February, 1870. He was graduated at the United States military academy in 1815, and was at once assigned to the engineer corps. He was employed in repairing Fort Niagara from 1817 till 1818, and in 1.819 was assigned to duty in constructing defenses for New Orleans and the gulf ports, which the war of 1812 had shown to be vulnerable points. His first works were Forts Pike and Macomb. He was made first lieutenant, 31 March, 1819, and from then till 1828 was superintending engineer of various important works, including the forts at Rigolets, Chef Menteur, Bienvenue, and the Bayou Dupr5 passes to New Orleans. He was promoted to captain, 1 January, 1825, and from 1828 till 1854 was in charge of the construction of the defenses in Pensacola harbor, Florida He was also in charge of Fort Morgan, Alabama, of Fort Jackson, Louisiana, and of the improvement of the mouth of the Mississippi from 1836 till 1839. He was promoted to major, 7 July, 1838, and served on special boards of engineers for the examination of various points. He superintended the improvement of Mobile bay. His last work was Fort Taylor, Key West, Florida, of which he had charge in 1854-'6, when he was appointed by President Pierce superintendent of the United States military academy, but resigned from the army on 31 October, before entering upon his duties there, and became president of the Alabama and Florida railroad company, Maj. Chase took an influential part in all projects connected with the development of the region about Pensacola, where he made his home. When the civil war began, he joined the Confederates, and was active in the seizure of Pensacola navy-yard, but after this took no prominent part.
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