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PERRY, JAMES HAZARD (1811–1862). James Hazard Perry, soldier, minister, and adversary of Sam Houston, son of Hugh Perry, was born in Shawangunk Township, New York, in June 1811. He studied to enter West Point, but after his appointment was delayed he studied law and began practice. He also married during this time. He finally gained entrance into the military academy on July 1, 1833, but resigned during his third year and traveled to Texas with Algernon P. Thompson in January 1836. Perry became an officer and volunteer aide in the Texas army. On April 9, 1836, he wrote a letter to Robert Potter in which he deplored the state of unpreparedness of the army, attributing it to incompetence of the officers and criticizing Sam Houston. Houston reprimanded Perry for the letter. Not long before the battle of San Jacinto, Perry disobeyed orders and advanced ahead of the army. He was suspected of communicating with the enemy, arrested, and remained under arrest until his arms were restored in time for him to participate in the battle. After the revolution, David G. Burnet, president of the ad interim government, commissioned Perry a colonel in the regular army. He later received a headright certificate and a bounty certificate for his service to the republic. He visited for a time in the home of John A. Wharton before he returned to New York, where he entered the Methodist ministry. Perry received his first preaching assignment in 1838 in Burlington and Bristol, Connecticut, and in 1844 was granted a doctor of divinity degree by Dickinson College in Pennsylvania. He also served as a delegate to the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1837 a pamphlet by Robert M. Coleman, Houston Displayed, or Who Won the Battle of San Jacinto?,condemned Houston's treatment of Perry as unjust. In 1843 and 1844 Perry made a lecture tour through the northeastern United States discussing the battle, and around March 1, 1844, Houston gave his version of his relations with Perry. Both men continued to harbor resentment. On February 24, 1859, Perry lectured again in a New York church on the battle, and Houston, in one of his last speeches in the United States Senate, refuted Perry's charges against him. At the outbreak of the Civil War Perry was pastor of the Pacific Street Methodist Episcopal Church in Brooklyn. He enlisted as a colonel in the Union Army and commanded the Forty-eighth Regiment of New York State Volunteers, "Perry's Saints," which he had helped organize. He died of apoplexy on June 18, 1862, at Fort Pulaski, Georgia, and was buried outside the fort. His body was reinterred at Cyprus Hill Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York. Perry was survived by his wife.


Sam Houston Dixon and Louis Wiltz Kemp, The Heroes of San Jacinto (Houston: Anson Jones Press, 1932). Louis Wiltz Kemp Papers, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. James M. Nichols, Perry's Saints, or the Fighting Parson's Regiment in the War of the Rebellion (Boston: Lothrop, 1886). Abraham J. Palmer, The History of the Forty-Eighth Regiment, New York State Volunteers (Brooklyn, New York: Veteran Association of the Regiment, 1885). Frank X. Tolbert, The Day of San Jacinto (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1959; 2d ed., Austin: Pemberton Press, 1969). Amelia W. Williams and Eugene C. Barker, eds., The Writings of Sam Houston, 1813–1863 (8 vols., Austin: University of Texas Press, 1938–43; rpt., Austin and New York: Pemberton Press, 1970).

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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, "PERRY, JAMES HAZARD," accessed August 07, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fpe45.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on May 4, 2019. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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