Lewis Leffman

Sergeant Lewis LeffmanSergeant Lewis Leffman was born in Hanover, Germany in 1798. As a private, he fought with the Hanoverian Army in the Battle of Waterloo, and was subsequently a member of the 60th Regiment (Royal Americans) in the British Army.

By 1824, Sergeant Leffman had come to the United States and enlisted in the Second Regiment of Infantry, U.S. Army. He continued to serve with loyal dedication for over 55 years until he was retired for age in 1879, by which time he was over 80.

For many years, he held the rank of Ordnance Sergeant, the most senior noncommis¬sioned officer grade in the Ordnance Corps and one which could be earned only after many years of outstanding service.

He was posted to Fort Mackinac, Michigan from 1840 until 1844, and in 1845 was transferred to Fort Niagara, New York, where he remained for the next 35 years. From 1850 until 1860, he was the only soldier at Fort Niagara and effectively in command of his post.

During the Civil War, he kept the fort in a high state of readiness, preparing it for a possible attack by Confederate forces who had clandestinely made their way into Canada, and who had already raided a nearby community in Vermont. When the attack finally came by boat across the Niagara River in 1864, he directed the cannon fire which turned them away.

In 1879, by special act of Congress, Ordnance Sergeant Leffman received the first retirement pension ever given to an American Army enlisted man. He died in 1885 at the age of 87.