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William Wallace Smith Bliss
Colonel - U. S. Army

Born August 17, 1815
Died August 5, 1853
Pascagoula, MS
Cause Yellow Fever
Age 38
Education U.S. Military Academy
July 1, 1833, 9th of 43,
graduated at age 17
Father-in-law Zachary Taylor
Brother-in-law Richard Taylor
Brother-in-law Jefferson Davis
Spouse 'Betty' Mary Elizabeth Taylor
Married December 5, 1848
Baton Rouge, LA
Children None
Religion Episcopalian
Burial Girod Street Cemetery
New Orleans
Reinterred Fort Bliss
El Paso, Texas

William Wallace Smith Bliss, originally buried in Girod Street Cemetery in New Orleans, is the son-in-law of Zachary Taylor.

Bliss fought in the Cherokee War of 1833-1834, taught mathematics at West Point from 1834-1840, served as chief of staff to Gen. Zachary Taylor in the Mexican-American War and married Taylor’s daughter. He was a renowned linguist, accomplished in numerous languages.

The city of New Orleans notified the Army that all monuments in the Girard Street Cemetery must be removed because the land had been condemned to make way for a new building and a highway.

In 1955, the remains of Lt. Col. William Wallace Smith Bliss were moved from Girod Street Cemetery in New Orleans to Fort Bliss in Texas.

Above is the William Wallace Bliss Monument in Girod Street Cemetery in New Orleans.  The picture is from The Times Picayune, dated March 7, 1926.

The process of removing the memorial was begun by the Army in 1950. After his casket was not found under the above memorial, speculation began that he might be buried elsewhere.

As Girod Street Cemetery dismantling continued, the Army in 1955, eventually found his remains in a casket that was in a concrete and brick tomb located four feet beneath a monument in the cemetery.

His remains were removed to Fort Bliss in Texas. He was reinterred after a ceremony at Fort Bliss National Cemetery on Nov. 22, 1955.

Bliss Monument at Fort Bliss

From the Fort Bliss Web Site:
"Both the Fort Bliss National Cemetery and the Fort Bliss Military Reservation were named after William W. S. Bliss.

Lieutenant Colonel William Bliss was born in Whitehall, New York on Aug. 17, 1815. He entered the United States Military Academy at West Point in September 1829. He graduated July 1, 1833, at the age of 17, ranking 9th in a class of 43 graduates. He was considered a prodigy at the Academy where his classmates called him "Perfect Bliss." Later Zachary Taylor’s family gave him the same nickname.

He was a scholar and a master of six languages with a reading knowledge of 13 languages. His information ranged from philosophy to poetry to military tactics.  His first service after graduation was as a Second Lieutenant in the Infantry in engagements against the Cherokee Indians (1833-1834).

From 1834-1840 this talented and scholarly young man taught mathematics at the United States Military Academy.

His service in the field against the Florida Indians in 1840 -1841, was followed by accompanying General Taylor to the Grand Council of Indian tribes in Oklahoma. He then served as Adjutant General of the 16th military Department until 1845. In August 1845, he became Chief of Staff to General Zachary Taylor, serving with him throughout the military occupation of Texas and the Mexican War.

He earned the rank of Brevet Major on May 9, 1846, for the gallant and meritorious conduct during the battles of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma. Further recognition, and the rank of Brevet Lt. Col., came on Feb. 23, 1847, for gallant and meritorious conduct at the battle of Buena Vista. From 1842 onwards, he was a key member of the staff of "Old Rough and Ready." It was said that with Bliss at his elbow, General Taylor could count on trustworthy information and honest and competent advice.

He married the youngest daughter of Zachary Taylor, Mary 'Betty' Elizabeth, in December 1848, following the election of Taylor to the Presidency. Mrs. Bliss took over the duties of official hostess for her mother.

On July 9, 1850, Colonel Bliss was assigned as Adjutant General of the Western Division of the Army in New Orleans. On Aug. 5, 1853, he died at Pascagoula, Miss., a victim of Yellow Fever. He was interred in the Protestant Cemetery on Girod Street in New Orleans.

On Nov. 22, 1955, Colonel Bliss was reinterred in the National Cemetery with full military honors. His burial plot is located along the entrance driveway of the cemetery and is marked with an upright white marble monument. This monument was relocated from Girod Street Cemetery in New Orleans."

Favorite Biographies & News

Bliss Monument - 1926

El Paso Times

Find a Grave

Handbook of Texas - Fort Bliss

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