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Worth, William J.

Born: 1794-03-01 Hudson, New York

Died: 1849-05-07 San Antonio, Texas

William J. Worth was an American army officer who fought in the War of 1812, Black Hawk War, Second Seminole War, and the Mexican War. Worth received his early education in his hometown of Hudson, New York. He was working as a mercantile clerk when the War of 1812 commenced. Worth enlisted as a private in the U.S. Army, and in March 1813, he received a commission as a lieutenant in the Twenty-Third Regiment. Worth served as aide-de-camp to generals Morgan Lewis and Winfield Scott, seeing action at the battles of Chippewa and Lundy's Lane. During the fighting at Lundy's Lane, Worth received a serious wound that left him permanently disabled. In July 1814, he received promotion to brevet captain for his gallantry and distinguished service at Chippewa, and later that same month, the War Department promoted him to brevet major for his gallantry at Lundy's Lane. In August 1814, he received promotion to captain. After the war, Worth decided to remain in the army. In May 1815, he transferred to the Second Infantry Regiment, and in June 1821, he transferred to the First Artillery. In 1820, he began a stint as an instructor of tactics at the United States Military Academy, and in 1825, he became commandant of cadets. He returned to field duty in 1828, and in May 1832, the War Department promoted him to major of ordnance. Worth served under Scott during the Black Hawk War, and he also participated in the removal of the Cherokee Nation from its home in Georgia to west of the Mississippi River. In July 1838, he received promotion to colonel of infantry. Two years later, the War Department transferred Worth to Florida, where he assumed command of U.S. forces in the Second Seminole War, bringing that conflict to a successful conclusion. Worth received promotion to brigadier general in 1842 for his service in Florida. During the Mexican War, Worth served with Zachary Taylor in Northern Mexico, distinguishing himself in several battles, including the Battle of Monterrey. The War Department promoted him to major general in September 1846 in acknowledgement of his gallantry and distinguished conduct at Monterrey. In the winter of 1846-47, Worth transferred to command of Scott, and participated in the campaign that led to the capture of Mexico City in September 1847. Worth became embroiled in a dispute with Scott after the capture of Mexico City, and the War Department reassigned Worth to command the Department of Texas headquartered in San Antonio. He contacted cholera and died shortly after assuming command.

Arvin W. Turner, "William Jenkins Worth," Handbook of Texas Online, Texas State Historical Association, accessed 27 May 2020, https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fwo28; Francis B. Heitman, Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1903), 1:1061; Gravestone, Worth Square, New York, NY.