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First Name: William

Last Name: McKee

Birthplace: KY, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Middle Name: Robertson

Date of Birth: 29 September 1808

Date of Death: 23 February 1847

Rank: Colonel

Years Served:
William Robertson McKee

•  Mexican-American Wars (1846 - 1848)


William Robertson McKee
Colonel, U.S. Army

William Robertson McKee was born on 29 September 1808 in Kentucky.

A member of the prominent McKee family from Kentucky, he graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 1829, in the same class as Robert E. Lee and Joseph Johnston. During the War with Mexico, he served for the U.S. Army and Commanded the 2nd Regiment of Kentucky Volunteers, also known as the 2nd Kentucky Foot Regiment.

Colonel McKee was killed on the second day of the Battle of Buena Vista on 23 February 1847, the last major engagement of the war. At the Battle, he defended his position against Mexican General Santa Anna with Captain Braxton Bragg's battery and Colonel John J. Hardin's 1st Illinois Regiment. McKee was severely wounded and fell near the end of the Battle. He struggled to keep up the fight until he was overpowered by enemy forces and bayonetted to death.

Lieutenant Colonel Henry Clay, Jr., the Regiment's second in command, was also killed at the

Battle near where McKee fell. Several monuments were later erected in Kentucky to honor those who had fallen at the Battle, including those at Midway and at the cemeteries at Battle Grove and Frankfort. His grandfather, William McKee, participated in Lord Dunmore's Campaign at the Battle of Point Pleasant against the Shawnee in 1774.


His father, Samuel McKee, was a Congressman from Kentucky. His son, Hugh Wilson McKee, a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy, was killed in 1871 while leading a detachment of soldiers over the walls of a Korean fort on Ganghwa Island during the U.S. and Korea Campaign in 1871.

Death and Burial

Colonel William Robertson McKee was killed in action on 23 February 1847 in Coahuila de Zaragoza, Mexico. He is buried at Frankfort Cemetery in Frankfort, KY.

Honoree ID: 2840   Created by: MHOH




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