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Federal (USA)


Thomas William Lion

(1829 - 1894)

Home State: New York

Command Billet: Acting ADC

Branch of Service: Artillery

Unit: Ninth Army Corps

Before Antietam

An inventor and mechanical "genius" he came to America about 1849, and was later in the guano business in South America. He returned to the US in about 1860 and, claiming previous British military experience with Congreve rockets, sold the War Department on the military value of rockets and formed a unit to employ them. He enrolled and mustered as Major and commanding officer of the Rocket Battalion on 7 December 1861 in Albany; they were equipped with Hale rockets. By about April 1862 the rockets had proven a disappointment and the 2 companies of the battalion were converted to conventional light artillery. They were re-designated the 23rd and 24th Independent Batteries, New York Light Artillery in February 1863. He resigned his commission on 28 June 1862 and later served as an aide to General Burnside.

On the Campaign

He was a volunteer (acting) aide-de-camp to General Burnside on the Maryland Campaign and later wrote that he'd been temporarily paralyzed "by the passage of a cannon ball near his right side" on South Mountain on 14 September 1862.

The rest of the War

He continued with General Burnside's staff to Fredericksburg, VA in December 1862 and may have had later war service with Generals Parke and Butler.

After the War

He was a clerk in Chicago when he was admitted to the Milwaukee Soldier's Home in February 1886 with cerebral hemorrhage with steadily worsening paralysis, and was completely paralyzed on his right side by 1891. He transferred to the Home at Hampton, VA in June 1893 and was on furlough to his wife's home at his death in 1894.

References & notes

His service from the New York Adjutant General1 also as Thomas W. Lyon. His role in Maryland from the Colonel Harland's after-action Report. Personal details from family genealogists, his son Thomas Harlan Lion's bio sketch in the Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography, (Vol. 5, 1915), a Congressional report to support his pension (with HR 6336, 1894), online from the Hathi Trust, and the Registers of the Milwaukee and Hampton Homes. His gravesite is on Findagrave.

He married Sarah Sommerville Williams (1837-1911) in December 1865 in Washington, DC and they had 3 children.


1829; London, ENGLAND


08/1/4/1894; Manassas, VA; burial in Manassas Cemetery, Manassas, VA


1   State of New York, Adjutant-General, Annual Report of the Adjutant General of the State of New York [year]: Registers of the [units], 43 Volumes, Albany: James B. Lyon, State Printer, 1893-1905, For the Year 1898, Ser. No. 15, pg. 1019  [AotW citation 28788]