Robert Goldthwaite Carter, soldier and writer, was born at Bridgton, Maine, on October 29, 1845. The family moved in 1847 to Portland, where young Carter was educated, and in 1857 to Massachusetts, where he was about to enter Phillips (Andover) Academy when the Civil War broke out. Carter enlisted as a private in Company H, Twenty-second Massachusetts Infantry, and served from August 5, 1862, to October 4, 1864. He entered the United States Military Academy in 1865, graduated on June 15, 1870, and was assigned to Troop E, Fourth United States Cavalry. He married on September 4, 1870, and started with his bride, Mary, to San Antonio, Texas, on September 12, 1870. Carter was promoted to first lieutenant on February 21, 1875, and retired from the army on June 28, 1876, because of disability contracted in the line of duty. He was brevetted captain on February 27, 1890, for gallant service in action against the Kickapoo and Apache Indians at Remolino, Mexico, in May 1873. On January 23, 1900, he was awarded the Medal of Honor for his action in the Brazos River campaign in October 1871.
The Carters had three children, two of whom were born at Fort Richardson. Mrs. Carter died in November 1923. After his retirement from the army, Carter wrote several books concerning his military career and that of early members of his family: The Boy Soldier at Gettysburg (1887), Four Brothers in Blue (1913), and The Old Sergeant's Story (1926). An autobiographical work, Record of the Military Service of First Lieutenant and Brevet Captain Robert Goldthwaite Carter, U. S. Army 1862–1876, was published in 1904. Carter also wrote several pamphlets on his Texas experiences; these were reprinted as part of his book On the Border with Mackenzie in 1935. Carter died in Washington on January 4, 1936, and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
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Francis B. Heitman, Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army (2 vols., Washington: GPO, 1903; rpt., Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1965).
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
“Carter, Robert Goldthwaite,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed May 18, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
Most Recent Revision Date:
December 1, 1994