Major E. C. Boynton, a graduate of West Point Military Academy, and for many years an instructor in that institution, is chiefly distinguished as the author of the “History of West Point and the Origin and Progress of the U. S. Military Academy,” and several technical works, all of which are regarded as standard authorities on the subjects of which they treat. He was appointed as a cadet at the United States Military Academy, July 1, 1841. After graduation in 1846, he was assigned to the Second Artillery as Brevet Second Lieutenant and ordered to join the army in, Mexico, where he served with General Taylor at the front of the invading force. He served at Monterey and at the seizure of Saltillo in 1846. He participated in the siege of Vera Cruz, the battles of Cerro Gardo, Contreras, Churubusco, in the seizure and occupation of Puebla and in the skirmishes at Amazoque and Oka Laka in 1847. He was severely wounded in the action at Cherubusco. He was promoted Second Lieutenant February 16, 1847, and First Lieutenant, August 20, 1847, and Brevet Captain at the same time for “gallant and meritorious services in the battles of Contreras and Cherubusco, Mexico.” In 1848 he was assigned to the Military Academy at West Point as Assistant Acting Quartermaster. From August, 1848, to September, 1855, he was Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Mineralogy and Geology. In 1855-56 he accompanied the expedition against the Seminole Indians in Florida. The degree of A. M. was conferred on him by Brown University in 1856. In 1856 he was appointed Professor of Chemistry, Mineralogy and Geology in the University of Mississippi, which position he filled until dismissed in 1861 for “want of attachment to the government of the Confederate States.” He was appointed to the United States Army as Captain in 1861, and assigned to the Military Academy, first as Adjutant and then Quartermaster, remaining at that post throughout the civil war, at its close receiving the brevet of Major for faithful services. He resigned from the army in 1872, and thereafter made his home in Newburgh.
He is the author of “History of West Point and the Origin and Progress of the U. S. Military Academy,” (1863,) which is regarded as the standard work on that subject. He is also the author of the military and naval terms in Webster’s Army and Navy Dictionary, (1864;) Guide to West Point and the Military Academy; Greek Fire and Other Inflammables; Explosive Substitutes for Gunpowder; Photography as Applied to Military Purposes; Ovantitative and Qualitative Chemical Analysis of Hydraulic Limestone; Manual on Blowpipe Analysis. He discovered, compiled and published the most complete collection of Washington’s Orders at Newburgh. He was an honorary member of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, of the American Academy for the Advancement of Science, President, (1883-88) of the Historical Society of Newburgh Bay and the Highlands. He was born at Bennington, Vt., February 1, 1824, and died at his home in Newburgh on May 3, 1893.