Col. Samuel Brinkle Hayman

Commanding Officer, 37th New York Volunteer Infantry, "The Irish Rifles"

Col. Samuel Brinkle Hayman, compiled from a number of sources.

Samuel Brinkle Hayman, born in Chester County, Pennsylvania, in 1820, the grandnephew of famed Revolutionary War general "Mad" Anthony Wayne, hero of the battle of Stony Point, and the grandson of the master of the Revolutionary privateer "Hope." Buoyed -- or perhaps burdened -- by this family baggage, Hayman graduated 51st in the 56-member U.S. Military Academy class of 1842.

The class, like many in the period 1835-1845, contained many future leaders of the coming conflict, both Union and Confederate. Future Union commanders included William S. Rosecrans, James G. Benton, John Pope and Abner Doubleday. Future Confederate leaders included Daniel Harvey Hill, Lafayette McLaws and James Longstreet.

A dedicated soldier, Hayman served on the Western frontier and then in the Mexican War, a brutal conflict that, seen in the context of the United States of the time, could be compared to the Vietnam War of more than a century later.

According to his obituary, "he served in the Seventh infantry and was engaged in all battles of General Winfield Scott's Army, beginning with the first battle of the war at Fort Brown, now Brownsville, Texas. After the close of the Mexican war, he was again detailed to frontier until the beginning of the civil war."

In the Mexican War, Hayman served in a theater that included future leaders of both sides in the coming holocaust, including the top commanders Robert E. Lee and Ulyses S. Grant. Also in the conflict was the commander who would have the greatest impact on Hayman and the men of the 37th New York, George B. McClellan.

Following his command of the 37th, Hayman continued to serve his country in uniform. He fought with Grant at the Wilderness, where he was wounded. Thrice breveted to the rank of brigadier, he mustered out recruits at Elmira, New York, and Indianapolis, Indiana, before returning for the third time to the frontier. But he was forced to retire in 1872, when inflammatory rheumatism made it impossible for him to fulfil his duties. He retired at his Civil War rank with the 37th, colonel.

Like many officers of the regular Army during its undermanned state before the Civil War, Hayman had little time to devote to the making and rearing of a family. In 1850, he married, though research to date has not turned up his wife's full name. Like many Army wives, she was the daughter of a regular officer, a Major Clark. Her marriage to Hayman was brief, ending with her death from unknown causes, likely disease or childbirth, in 1855. They had one son, Frank, and it was to Frank and his family that Hayman went to live after his retirement. Frank Hayman and his wife, Lydia, tended a farm on Heath's Creek in Pettis County, Missouri, near Houstonia, not shown on any reasonable map, but near enough to the town of Sedalia. Here, Hayman lived out the remaining years of his life, sharing a simple home with his son and daughter-in-law, and their servants -- former slaves James Mason of Kentucky and Ann Brown of Virginia, and Brown's three children. Hayman died May 1, 1895, and though printed accounts say he was buried at Longwood Cemetery in Sedalia, he is shown on lists of burials at the Houstonia Cemetery.


This page is based, with permission, on a World Wide Web page on the 112th New York Infantry, the Chautauqua Regiment, maintained by Chuck Washburn. Questions or comments regarding Col. Samuel Brinkle Hayman or the 37th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment can be directed to

This page was created on February 16, 1997, and was posted on the World Wide Web on February 17, 1997 and reposted March 1, 1998.

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