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MONTGOMERY, WILLIAM READING (?–1871). William Reading Montgomery, United States Army officer, was born in Monmouth County, New Jersey, and was admitted to the United States Military Academy at West Point on September 1, 1821. He graduated twenty-eighth in the class of 1825-a class that included Robert Anderson, the defender of Fort Sumter-and on July 1 was commissioned second lieutenant in the Third United States Infantry. He was promoted to first lieutenant on August 31, 1833, and to captain in the Eighth Infantry on July 7, 1838. His assignments included duty along the Canadian border during the disturbances from 1838 to 1846, service in the Seminole War of 1840–42, and garrison duty with the United States forces that occupied Texas before annexation in 1846. Montgomery served under Maj. Gen. Zachary Taylor during the Mexican War, and on May 9, 1846, he was brevetted to major for his performance at the battles of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma;qqv at the latter he was wounded. After transfer to the command of Maj. Gen. Winfield Scott, Montgomery received a second brevet-to lieutenant colonel-for "gallant and meritorious conduct" at the battle of Molino del Rey. He commanded companies D and I of the Eighth Infantry at Fort Gates in 1849–50 and later was named commandant of Fort Chadbourne. He was promoted to the substantive rank of major in the Second Infantry on December 7, 1852. In 1854 Montgomery was posted to Fort Riley, Kansas, where, due perhaps to his "Free Soil" sympathies, he was accused of misappropriating government facilities and was dismissed from the service on December 8, 1855. With the outbreak of the Civil War, however, he was appointed colonel of the First New Jersey Infantry, on May 21, 1861. He was promoted to brigadier general of the New Jersey volunteers on May 17, 1861, but never saw active duty. Due to his failing health, he resigned from the army on April 4, 1864, and died in Bristol, Pennsylvania, on May 31, 1871. He is buried there in St. James Churchyard.

Francis B. Heitman, Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army (2 vols., Washington: GPO, 1903; rpt., Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1965). Zelma Scott, History of Coryell County (Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1965). Ezra J. Warner, Generals in Blue (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1964).
Thomas W. Cutrer

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Thomas W. Cutrer, "Montgomery, William Reading," accessed October 23, 2017,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.