Erasmus Darwin Keyes

Captain E.D. Keyes served at Ft. Steilacoom as commander of Company M, 3rd Artillery beginning in November 1855–Spring 1856 during the Puget Sound Indian War. Keyes graduated 10th out of 45 students from the USMA in 1832.

He saw service in Charleston, SC during the Nullification Crisis and for several years served as military secretary to General Winfield Scott. During the 1840s, Keyes taught courses in Engineering and Artillery at the USMA. During the 1850s, he served at several Pacific posts, including Alcatraz Island. In 1856 Keyes was responsible for the posting of sentinels that ambushed a war party led by Kanaskat.

By 1858, Keyes led a battalion of artillery troops fighting as infantry in the Wright Expedition against the confederated Spokane and Palouse insurgents. At the beginning of the Civil War, Col. Keyes commanded the 11th U.S. Infantry and later commanded division and corps-sized organizations during McClellan’s Peninsula Campaign of 1862.

By 1863, Keyes ran afoul of his department commander and was removed from command. He served on several administrative boards before retiring from the service in 1864.

Keyes moved back to the West Coast, settling in San Francisco and converting to Catholicism. He achieved great wealth and status as a financier, banker, and mine owner. Keyes wrote about his experiences in Fifty Years’ Observations of Men & Events in 1884. He died in France in 1895.