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Federal (USV)


James A. Tait

(1811 - 1895)
Home State: District Of Columbia
Command Billet: Commanding Regiment
Branch of Service: Infantry
Unit: 1st District of Columbia Infantry


Before the Antietam Campaign:
He came to America as an infant, and lived in Washington from about 1815. He was noted as the superintendent of the stone work on the US Treasury building. In 1852 he was Adjutant of a DC militia regiment. In 1853 he was listed as a Canal Commissioner and resident of the Capitol Hill area of Washington DC.

He was in command of the 1st District of Columbia Infantry on the Valley Campaign of the Spring of 1862, and on the 2nd Manassas Campaign in July and August 1862, where he briefly relieved General Greene in command of the Brigade.

In the Antietam Campaign:
General Greene, in his official report on the battle, noted that all of the 1st DC Infantry were absent - sick or deserters - except the adjutant and the Colonel.

The remainder of the War:
While serving as Provost Marshal General of Defenses South of the Potomac in February 1863 he was tried by Court Martial for allowing contraband to pass to the Confederacy. He was acquitted by the Court, but the verdict was disapproved by his Department Commander, MGen. Heintzleman, and forwarded to President Lincoln for action. At the President's direction, Tait was dismissed from the Service on 21 September 1863.

After the War:
He was commissioned a notary public in Washington DC in 1880.

References, Sources, and other notes:
His birthplace and other details from his obituary in the Evening Star of 15 May 1895. Other information from The Washington and Georgetown Directory, Compiled and Published by Alfred Hunter, 1853 - transcribed and posted online at RootsWeb by Kelly Mullins. Trial results in War Department General Order Number 327 of 28 September 1863 [online]. His gravesite is on Findagrave. Thanks to descendent Caroline Bonney for the link to the General Orders online and for correcting the birthplace and other details for Colonel Tait. She notes that the 1870 Federal Census has his birthplace as Washington DC, and the 1880 Census and his obituary say Scotland.

Birth State: SCOTLAND    
Death Date: 05/15/1895    Death Place: Washington, DC    Burial Place: Congressional Cemetery, Washington, DC

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