William W S Bliss
Mexican-American War · US Army · Colonel
William Wallace Smith Bliss Letter
1955: Ceremony Planned For Colonel Bliss; Body Is Found 11/11/1955
The remains of Col William Wallace Smith Bliss, for whom Ft. Bliss was named, were found today in New Orleans cemetery.
Ft. Bliss authorities, who have been hunting the colonel's grave for five years, said the casket was in a concrete and brick tomb four feet beneath a monument in Girod Street Cemetery.
The casket was taken to a New Orleans mortuary, where it will remain until arrangements are made to bring the colonel's remains here for burial in the Ft. Bliss National Cemetery with honors. The body of the man for whom Ft. Bliss was named, Col. William Wallace Smith Bliss, will arrive in El Paso in about 10 days, according to Maj. L. B. Anderson, Ft. Bliss Public Information officer.
The body was found yesterday afternoon beneath a monument in Girod Cemetery in New Orleans, after a search that lasted for five years.
Major Anderson said that the body will rest in a New Orleans funeral home until suitable plans are made for its relocation here. A public ceremony is planned when the body will be brought to a place of honor at Ft Bliss. Final arrangements will be made by Maj. Gen. Paul W. Rutledge, Ft. Bliss commanding general.
Lieut. Col. T. N. Chavez, deputy chief of staff, for operations at the post here, handled much of the research on seeking Colonel Bliss' body. Lieut. Col. Robert W. Sanders, executive officer to the post quartermaster, went to New Orleans
about 10 days ago to supervise the dismantling of the Bliss monument. New Orleans military, personnel did the actual dismantling work with the aid of civilian experts.
Army searchers some time ago discovered that Col. Bliss was likely buried in New Orleans. Colonel Bliss died in 1853 at the age of 38 in Pascagoula, Miss. His. Body apparently was taken by boat for burial in New Orleans.
When 'the Bliss monument — a 20-foot shaft which bears the names of the battles in which Colonel Bliss distinguished himself during the Mexican War — was discovered, it was believed his body must be under it.
Colonel Bliss' features were recognizable from photographs. Scraps of a flag remain on the body. The body is well preserved.