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.

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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).

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The following four pictures show the inscriptions on the monument, starting with the South-West face and moving around counter-clockwise.

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To the Memory He was
Lieut Colonel E. D. Wood and
who fell
While leading a Charge
at the
Sortie of Fort Erie
17th September 1814
in the 31st Year of his


of was erected
THIS INSTITUTION by his Friend & Commander
he died Major General Jaoob Brown
an Honour

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Wood's Monument is located next to the grave of Edward Singleton Holden (1846-1914, USMA 1870) noted astronomer and USMA librarian.

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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.



  1. Anon., "Monument at West Point to the memory of Lieut. Colonel Wood," The Literary and Scientific Repository, and Critical Review (1820-1822), October 1820, vol. 1, no. 2, 530-532. Available, if your library subscribes, on APS online, pg. 530.         Contains a letter (September 12, 1816) from General Jacob Brown to Joseph G. Swift praising Douglass, McRee, Story, and especially, Wood, and requesting that an obelisk in Wood's memory be erected at West Point. A response from Swift (November 13, 1816) has the text that will be inscribed on the obelisk, which has been erected when this article was written.  An engraving of the monument was to be produced in a future issue of the magazine, but I have not located it.

Future Research:

See Charles Gratiot, and Joseph Gilbert Totten.

Created by V. Frederick Rickey, June 2001.