Eleazer Derby Wood, USMA 1806
1783 - 17 September 1814, age 30
Birth date comes from the Ohio Historical Society.
Eleazer Derby Wood, was admitted to West Point on 17 May 1805 from the state of Massachusetts, graduated 30 October 1806 and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers on that same day. He was the seventeenth graduate of the United States Military Academy. The only record of his academic work that I have located is from the report of an exam given 17 October 1806. At this time there was no set curriculum, each cadet proceeding at his own pace and graduating at irregular times.
After graduation he served as Assistant Engineer in the construction of the defenses at Governor's Island in New York harbor, 1807. In 1808 he was promoted to First Lieutenant.
He was killed in the Battle of Fort Erie on 17 September 1814. Later that year a fort on Bedloe's Island in New York Harbor was named in his honor. This island was renamed Liberty Island and is the site of the Statue of Liberty.
Wood's Monument is located in the North-East section of the West Point Cemetery, section XXX, Row E, grave 171 (of 7149) (see number 10 on the map). This picture above is taken facing North-East toward the Hudson River. The view in the background of this picture is across the river. Here is another view taken from the opposite direction. Wood's Monument is centered between the tombstones of Susan Warner (1819-1885), on the left, and Anna B. Warner (1827-1915), the author of the words to the hymn "Jesus Loves Me" (see number 12 on the map).
The following four pictures show the inscriptions on the monument, starting with the South-West face and moving around counter-clockwise.
|To the Memory||He was|
|of||EXEMPLARY as a CHRISTIAN|
|Lieut Colonel E. D. Wood||and|
|of the||DISTINGUISHED as a SOLDIER|
|CORPS OF ENGINEERS|
|While leading a Charge|
|Sortie of Fort Erie|
|17th September 1814|
|in the 31st Year of his|
|A PUPIL||THIS MEMORIAL|
|THIS INSTITUTION||by his Friend & Commander|
|he died||Major General Jaoob Brown|
Wood's Monument is located next to the grave of Edward Singleton Holden (1846-1914, USMA 1870) noted astronomer and USMA librarian.
A personal note: On 26 June 2001, my wife and I paid a visit to the Statue of Liberty. The National Park Service Brochure has a chronology that begins:
1811 Star-shaped Fort Wood is built on Bedloe's (now Liberty) Island.
Inside in the museum, I looked carefully for information about this, but found none, so asked one of the park rangers at the information desk on the way out who this Wood was. He immediately responded that it was Eleazer Wood and then remarked that in his seven years there I was only the third person to ask this question. I was delighted for I had no idea that there was a connection between the Wood County Ohio where I had lived for thirty years and the Statue of Liberty. Perhaps I was asleep all those years in Bowling Green, but I never remember hearing this.
Fabulous quote about Wood in the next letter [in the David Bates Douglass papers at Hobart and Smith College], which is an "Extract from Genl Browns dispatch to the Sect of War, dated Sept 29th 1814." "Lieutenant Colonel McRee, and Lieut. Col. Wood, of the Corps of Engineers, having rendered to this Army survives the most important, I must seize the opportunity of again mentioning them particularly. On every trying occasion I have reaped much benefit from their sound and excellent advice. No two officer of their grade could have contributed more to the safety and honor of this Army. Wood, brave, generous, and enterprizing, died as he had lived, without a feeling but for the honor of his country and the glory of her arms. His name and example will live to guide the soldier in the path of duty so long as true heroism is held in estimation. McRee lives to enjoy the approbation of every virtuous and generous mind, and to receive the reward due to his services and high military talents." McRee "aided and contributed to the success of the negotiations which brought Genl Bernard to this country."
See Charles Gratiot, and Joseph Gilbert Totten.
Created by V. Frederick Rickey, June 2001.