Friday, October 31, 2008

Fiddler's Green: Thomas Hight

Thomas Hight was born in Indiana, and appointed to West Point from there in July 1849. He graduated 9th in his class on July 1, 1863 and was promoted to brevet second lieutenant of dragoons. He served as an instructor at the Cavalry School for Practice at Carlisle, Pennsylvania until the following year.

Hight was promoted to second lieutenant in the 2nd US Dragoons on May 24, 1854. he joined his new regiment at Jefferson barracks, Missouri, then accompanied them on frontier duty from Fort Leavenworth for the next two years. He participated in an expedition against the Sioux and one into New Mexico. When the army formed two new cavalry regiments in 1855, he was offered a position as a second lieutenant in the 1st US Cavalry, which he declined. He served on recruiting duty in 1856 and was promoted to first lieutenant in the 2nd Dragoons on February 2, 1857. From 1857 to 1860, he participated in the Utah Expedition and a march to Oregon.

Lieutenant Hight was on a leave of absence when the war broke out, but rejoined the regiment and was promoted to captain on May 13, 1861. He spent the summer at Camp Knox in Rockland, Maine, where he was the mustering officer for seven of the state’s initial ten volunteer regiments. He was detached from 2nd US Cavalry to serve as the lieutenant colonel of the 1st Maine Cavalry on October 19, 1861, but resigned from volunteer service to rejoin his regular regiment on March 14, 1862.

He commanded a squadron during the peninsula campaign, and was captured with his squadron by Confederate General Fitzhugh Lee’s brigade during a reconnaissance following Second Manassas. His squadron was so small that General Stuart reported it as a single company in his official report on the campaign. He was paroled after Stuart linked up with General Jackson’s forces two days later.

Captain Hight served in Washington, DC during the winter of 1862. He resigned on April 27, 1863, after being absent without leave since January 21st.

After his resignation, he joined the 31st Maine Infantry as a lieutenant colonel of volunteers on March 12, 1864. The regiment was mustered in on April 17th, and immediately pushed forward to Virginia. He was promoted to colonel on April 29th, and commanded the regiment during the Wilderness and Overland campaigns. The regiment lost heavily in the Wilderness, and then lost a further 195 killed, wounded and missing at Spotsylvania Court House on May 12th. He was honorably discharged after the battle of Cold Harbor on July 2, 1864.

Thomas Hight returned to Augusta, Maine following his discharge, where he worked as a druggist until his death on August 17, 1867, at the age of 38.


Cullum, George W. Biographical Register of the Officers and Graduates of the U.S. Military Academy, Volume 2 (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1891), pgs 527-528.

Heitman, Francis B. Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1903), page 529.

Rodenbough, Theophilus F. From Everglade to Canyon with the Second United States Cavalry (New York: D. Van Nostrand, 1875)

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