William & Mary Slaughter

First Lt. William Slaughter served with Company C, 4th Infantry beginning in 1851 and assumed fairly active command of the company in the absence of Captain Prince and Lt. Floyd-Jones until 1855 when he took over the company entirely.

He was born in Kentucky in 1826 and admitted to the USMA in 1844. Slaughter graduated from the Academy in 1848 and was later posted to Fort Gratiot, Michigan as a First Lieutenant in the 4th Infantry.
There, Slaughter became acquainted with Lt. H. Ulysses Grant. Grant took extra care to mention Slaughter’s seasickness in his memoirs as the 4th Infantry sailed to Panama for deployment to the West Coast that same year.

Prior to Slaughter’s deployment, he married Mary Wells of Port Huron. The Slaughters made their home at Ft. Steilacoom beginning in 1853. The young lieutenant purchased real estate in the new town of Steilacoom near the fort and was active in its promotion. He and his wife were popular figures in the new community and liked by all.

Lt. Slaughter led combined volunteer and Regular troops in active campaigning during the Indian insurgency of the Fall of 1855. He was engaged in several sharp firefights that winter. On the evening of December 4, 1855, Lt. Slaughter and two of his men were killed in a nighttime ambush in today’s Kent Valley. Slaughter’s body was brought back to Ft. Steilacoom.

Mary Slaughter never remarried, returning to her parent’s home in Port Huron while being accompanied by Washington Territory Secretary, Charles Mason. Mary died in 1861, shattered by the untimely death of her young husband.