George Henry Thomas

George Henry Thomas

Birth
Newsoms, Southampton County, Virginia, USA
Death 28 Mar 1870 (aged 53)
San Francisco, San Francisco County, California, USA
Burial Troy, Rensselaer County, New York, USA
Memorial ID 3550 · View Source
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Civil War Union Major General. Born and raised in Virginia, his family barely survived the Nat Turner uprising when he was 15 years old. Before he was 20 years old, he entered West Point and graduated in the same class as William Tecumseh Sherman. Upon graduating, he first became involved with war under Andrew Jackson in battles against Seminole Indians. As a soldier, his loyalty was with the U.S. Army. Turning down a position in the Confederate army was an agonizing one, according to his wife, Frances Kellogg Thomas. When he decided to fight for the Union, he was disowned by his family for the remainder of his life and labeled a traitor by the rest of the South. The decision to fight on the side of the North may also have prevented advancement in his career. Thomas eventually became a major general for the Union, but it is believed that even Lincoln was skittish of making a commander out of a Southerner who had served under Lee before the war. He has been called “The Forgotten General” even though he is credited with many of the great Union victories in the Civil War. In one of the first notable Northern successes, he and his outnumbered men claimed victory in Kentucky when they drove Confederates across the Cumberland River and back into Tennessee. Leading a group of General William Rosecrans’ men, he did the same at Stones River and Missionary Ridge during the Tullahoma campaign in Tennessee, battles that some historians call a turning point for the war. When all seemed lost at the battle of Chickamauga Creek and his commanding general and five other generals retreated, he dug in with his men and led them to safety after nightfall. The feat earned him the nickname of “Rock of Chickamauga.” Finally, he took control of the Army of the Cumberland and held the all-important cities of Chattanooga and Nashville. He was also an important figure in the war’s Western Theater. After Lincoln’s assassination, he continued to command troops in Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia, but when President Andrew Johnson finally offered to make him lieutenant general, he declined the offer. He died of a stroke in 1870 at the age of 53. Toward the end of the nineteenth century he was honored with an image on five-dollar bank notes and there is a statue of him in Washington’s Thomas Circle.

Bio by: Glendora


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 8 Sep 1998
  • Find A Grave Memorial 3550
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for George Henry Thomas (31 Jul 1816–28 Mar 1870), Find A Grave Memorial no. 3550, citing Oakwood Cemetery, Troy, Rensselaer County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .