(03-01-1794 - 05-07-1849)
Born at Hudson, Columbia County, NY, he received only a common
school education and in early life worked in a Hudson store. He later moved to Albany
where he continued as a merchant until the age of 18. With the War of 1812 commencing, he
applied for a commission in the Army and on March 19, 1813 received an appointment as 1st
Lieutenant, 23rd Infantry. He served as an aide to General Winfield Scott. He was breveted
to Captain, August 19, 1814, for gallantry and distinguished conduct at the Battle of
In the Battle of Niagara he distinguished
himself, receiving the thanks of his general and a brevet to Major, July 25, 1814. He was
transferred to the 2nd Infantry, May 17, 1815.
Worth was Commandant of Cadets at West Point from
1820-1828. He was promoted to Major, Ordnance, May 30, 1832 and Colonel, 8th Infantry,
July 7, 1838.
He was heavily engaged In the Florida War,
notably at Palaklaklaha, April 19, 1842, in which the Seminole Indians were disastrously
defeated. He was breveted to Brigadier-General, March 1, 1842, for gallant and highly
distinguished service in the war against the Florida Indians.
Worth was second in command to General Zachary
Taylor at the outbreak of the Mexican War. Under Taylor he conducted the negotiations for
the capitulation of Matamoras, and by him was intrusted with the assault on the Bishop's
Palace at Monterey. He was breveted to Major-General, September 23, 1846, for gallant and
meritorious conduct at the Battle of Monterey, and given swords by Congress, the states of
New York and Louisiana, and his native county, Columbia.
William Jenkins Worth
He was subsequently ordered to the Gulf to join
General Scott and was engaged in the Siege of Vera Cruz, March 9-29, 1847; Battle of Cerro
Gordo, April 17-18, 1847; Skirmish of Amazoque, May 14, 1847; Battle of Contreras, August
19-20, 1847; and Battle of Churubusco, August 20, 1847. He was engaged in the Storming of
Chapultepec, September 13, 1847 and the Assault and Capture of the City of Mexico,
September 13-14, 1847. Worth was the first to enter Mexico City where, by his own hand, he
cut down the Mexican flag that waved from the National Palace.
After the Mexican War he was placed in command of
the Department of Texas, where he died of cholera. He was a tall and commanding figure,
and said to be the best horseman and handsomest man in the Army. A monument was erected to
his memory by the city of New York at the corner of Broadway and 5th Avenue.