May 20: Alexander Brydie Dyer (1874)

Alexander Brydie Dyer rose to the rank of brigadier general in the U.S. Army. Born in Richmond, Virginia, he was one of the few native Southerners to reach the rank of general in the Union army. A career military man, Dyer graduated sixth in a class of 50 at West Point. One of his classmates was future Epiphany parishioner Edward Townsend. Dyer served in the Seminole Wars as lieutenant of ordnance. In the Mexican-American War, he was brevetted for gallant conduct. When the Civil War erupted, Dyer stayed with the Union and was given command of the Federal Armory in Springfield, Massachusetts, where his improvement of operations gained notice. In 1864, he was appointed chief of ordnance at Washington, DC, where he would remain the rest of his career.

The first record of General Dyer at Epiphany is the confirmation of his 14-year old daughter Anne in 1871. Three years after her father’s death, Anne was married at Epiphany. Dyer was confirmed on his sick bed shortly before his death. The General Order announcing his death and funeral was issued by Adjutant-General (and fellow West Point classmate and parishioner) Edward Townsend. The order concluded, “The funeral ceremonies will take place from the Church of the Epiphany on G street, between 13th and 14th streets. As appropriate honors to the memory of the deceased, minute guns (thirteen) will be fired at Springfield Armory and at each Arsenal, commencing at 12 o’clock M., and the national flag will be displayed at half-staff from the same hour until sundown on the next day.”

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