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William Steele

1819 - 1885

William Steele was born in Albany, New York, May 1, 1819, and his father was a New Englander and his mother was from Florida. He graduated from West Point in 1840 and was brevetted captain for his service in the battles of Contreras and Churubusco during the Mexican War. Much of Steel’s service had been in Texas and he married into a Texas family in 1850.

He resigned his Federal position, May 30, 1861, and was appointed colonel of the 7th Texas Cavalry. During Sibley’s New Mexico expedition he commanded in the Mesilla area and was promoted brigadier general, September 12, 1862. He was in command of Indian Territory in 1863 and was in charge of the Galveston defenses the following year. He then fought under Gen. Richard Taylor in the Red River campaign for which he was complimented by reason of his conduct at Pleasant Hill. After the tragic death of Gen. Tom Green at Blair’s Landing, he took command of that unit as senior brigadier until superseded by Maj. Gen. John Wharton.

After the war Steele settled in San Antonio as a commission merchant. Moving to Austin in 1873, he was appointed adjutant general of the State and served for six years under Governors Coke and Hubbard. He passed on January 12, 1885, in San Antonio and is buried there in Oakwood Cemetery.



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