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F.A. Walker

F.A. Walker

Federal (USV)


Francis Amasa Walker

(1840 - 1897)

Home State: Massachusetts

Education: Amherst College (Law), Class of 1860

Command Billet: Staff Officer

Branch of Service: Staff

Unit: 1st Division, 4th Corps

Before Antietam

While studying for the bar in Worcester, MA he enlisted at age 21 as a Private in the 15th Massachusetts Infantry and was appointed Sergeant Major of the regiment on 1 August 1861. He was appointed Captain and Assistant Adjutant General, US Volunteers on 14 September and joined General Darius Couch's staff. He was promoted to Major on 11 August 1862.

On the Campaign

He was with the General on the Maryland Campaign.

The rest of the War

He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel on 1 January 1863 and was badly injured in the hand, arm, and leg by an exploding artillery round at Chancellorsville, VA in May 1863. He was recovering at home in Massachusetts into August 1863, when he joined the staff of the Second Army Corps under Generals Warren, Caldwell, Birney, and finally, Hancock.

He was hurt again, in the knee, at Cold Harbor, VA in June 1864, and was captured along the Weldon Railroad near Petersburg, VA while delivering a message on 22 August 1864. He escaped from a group of prisoners on 27 August but was recaptured after attempting to swim the Appomattox River. He was held in a Petersburg jail then at Libby Prison in Richmond. Very ill, he was exchanged in October 1864 and went home to recover. He resigned for reasons of health in January 1865. He was honored by brevets to Colonel (1 Aug 1864) and Brigadier General (13 Mar 1865) for his service.

After the War

By 1869 he was Director of the Bureau of Statistics at the US Treasury Department and was appointed Superintendent of the 9th US Census in 1870. He had the additional post of Commissioner of Indian Affairs, but resigned both in 1872. He was then professor of political economy and history at Yale College, was again Superintendent of the US Census (1879), then President of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT, 1881-1897).

He was active in the field of economics and a prolific author.

References & notes

His service from Soldiers and Sailors1 and Heitman2, with details from Jason G. Gauthier's The Civil War Experience of Superintendent of the Census Francis Amasa Walker (2016). Personal details from his Census Bureau bio [online] and family genealogists. His gravesite is on Findagrave. His picture from a photograph of unknown provenance hosted by the US Census Bureau.


07/02/1840; Boston, MA


01/05/1897; Boston, MA; burial in Walnut Grove Cemetery, North Brookfield, MA


1   Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Adjutant General, Massachusetts Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines in the Civil War, 8 Vols, Norwood (MA): Norwood Press, 1931-35, Vol. 2, pg. 133  [AotW citation 26571]

2   Heitman, Francis Bernard, Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army 1789-1903, 2 volumes, Washington DC: US Government Printing Office, 1903, Vol. 1, pg. 995  [AotW citation 26572]