William Thomas Magruder - Facts

1829 - July 3, 1863

Key facts about Captain William Thomas Magruder who was one of four graduates of the United States Military Academy to resign his commission in the U.S. Army and join the Confederate Army after fighting for the Union during the American Civil War.

Painting of Pickett's Charge

On July 3, 1863, William T. Magruder died in action while trying to rally the men of his brigade during Pickett’s Charge at the Battle of Gettysburg. [Wikimedia Commons]

Full Name:

  • William Thomas Magruder

Birth Date:

  • 1829

Birth Location:

  • Upper Marlboro, Maryland


  • Fielder Magruder and Matilda (Magruder) Magruder


  • United States Military Academy (1850)


  • Miltary officer

Career Summary:

  • Captain (USA)
  • Captain (CSA)


  • None

Place of Death:

  • Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Date of Death:

  • July 3, 1863

Place of Burial:

  • Unknown


  • William T. Magruder attended the United States Military Academy from July 1, 1846 to July 1, 1850.
  • William T. Magruder graduated eleventh in his class of forty-four cadets at the United States Military Academy.
  • Upon his graduation from the United States Military Academy, William T. Magruder was brevetted to second lieutenant and sent to cavalry school at Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
  • On October 9, 1851, William T. Magruder was promoted to the full rank of second lieutenant.
  • During most of the 1850s, William T. Magruder campaigned against American Indians in the American West, serving at Fort Snelling, Minnesota (1851-1853), Fort Leavenworth, Kansas (1854), Fort Union, New Mexico (1854-1855), and Fort Tejon, California (1856‑58). Magruder was promoted to first lieutenant on March 3, 1855.
  • William T. Magruder was promoted to captain with the 1st Dragoons on January 8, 1861.
  • William T. Magruder commanded a company of Union soldiers at the First Battle of Bull Run (July 21, 1861).
  • In 1861, the 1st Dragoons were re-designated as the 1st U.S. Cavalry, and William T. Magruder was appointed as a captain in that regiment on August 3.
  • William T. Magruder served with the 1st Cavalry during Major General George B. McClellan’s Peninsula from July 1 to August 3, 1862.
  • William T. Magruder resigned his commission in the United States Army on October 1, 1862, to join the Confederate Army.
  • William T. Magruder was one of four Union officers educated at West Point to switch sides after the Civil War began.
  • Upon joining the Confederate Army, William T. Magruder was commissioned as a captain and he served as a staff officer with Brigadier General Joseph R. Davis’ Brigade, in Major General Henry Heth’s Division of the 3rd Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia.
  • On July 3, 1863, William T. Magruder was killed in action while trying to rally the men of his brigade during Pickett’s Charge at the Battle of Gettysburg.
  • The disposition of William T. Magruder’s remains is unknown.

Citation Information

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  • Article Title William Thomas Magruder - Facts
  • Date 1829 - July 3, 1863
  • Author
  • Keywords William Thomas Magruder
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date July 15, 2024
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update March 17, 2024