Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Hagner, Peter

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HAGNER, Peter, financier, b. in Philadelphia, Pa., 1 Oct., 1772; d. in Washington, D. C., 16 July, 1850. He was appointed a clerk in the treasury department by Gen. Washington in 1793, assistant accountant of the war department in 1797, and third auditor by Mr. Monroe when that office was created in 1817. He served under every administration for fifty-six consecutive years, resigning his office in 1849. Twice by direct votes congress expressed its appreciation of his services in the settlement of large and important claims. This office became at one time so prominent, from the calls made upon its chief by congress, before the institution of the court of claims, that John Randolph, of Roanoke, pausing in debate for a phrase to express his sense of the influence of the Emperor Nicholas in the affairs of Europe, styled him “the great third auditor of nations.” — His son, Peter Valentine, soldier, b. in Washington, D. C., 28 Aug., 1815, was graduated at the U. S. military academy in 1836, and assigned to the 1st artillery. He served on topographical duty, took part in the Florida campaign of 1836-'7 with a field battery, was assigned to frontier duty during the Canada border disturbances until July, 1838, and then transferred to the ordnance corps. On 22 May, 1840, he was promoted 1st lieutenant of ordnance. In the war with Mexico he was attached to the siege-train company of ordnance of Gen. Scott's army, brevetted captain for “gallant and meritorious conduct” at Cerro Gordo, 18 April, 1847, and major for Chapultepec, 13 Sept., 1847. He was wounded at the San Cosme gate in the assault and capture of the city of Mexico the day following. Maj. Hagner made a visit to Europe under orders from the secretary of war in 1848-'9, inspecting laboratories and manufactories of percussion-caps, and procuring information upon the systems of artillery and the armament and equipment of troops. He was promoted to captain of ordnance, 10 July, 1851, and major of ordnance, 3 Aug., and was in command of various arsenals and inspector of powder until the beginning of the civil war. On 25 April, 1861, he was assigned to the duty of ordering, inspecting, and purchasing arms and ordnance stores, and in March, 1862, appointed assistant to the commission on ordnance contracts and claims. He was inspector of the factories making small arms for the government till 25 Dec., 1863, when he was assigned to the command of the Watervliet arsenal; was made lieutenant-colonel of ordnance, 1 June, 1863, brevetted colonel and brigadier-general, U. S. army, 13 March, 1865, for his services in the ordnance department, and advanced to the rank of colonel of ordnance, 7 March, 1867. He was placed on the retired list, 1 June, 1881, at his own request, having been in the service for more than forty years.