THOMAS, George Henry, General [1816-1870] -- American soldier
a/k/aRock of Chickamauga, The
Sledge of Nashville, The
He began to study law in 1835, but abandoned it to accept an appointment to the U.S. Military academy, from which he was graduated and promoted 2d lieutenant, 3d artillery, July 1, 1840.
He served during the Seminole war in Florida, 1840-42, being brevetted 1st lieutenant, Nov. 6, 1841, for gallantry and good conduct in this war; was on garrison and recruiting service, 1842-45, being promoted 1st lieutenant, April 30, 1844; took part in the war with Mexico, and was brevetted captain, Sept. 23, 1846, for gallant conduct at Monterey, Mex., and major, Feb. 23, 1847, for Buena Vista.
He was engaged in the Seminole Indian war, 1849-50; was instructor in artillery and cavalry at the U.S. Military academy, 1851-54, and promoted captain, Dec. 24, 1853. He was on frontier duty in California and Texas, 1854-60; was promoted major of 2d cavalry, May 12, 1855, and was wounded in a skirmish near the Brazos river, Aug. 26, 1860.
He was promoted lieutenant colonel in April, 1861, and colonel, May 3, 1861; was transferred to the 5th cavalry, Aug. 3, 1861, and participated in the operations in the Shenandoah valley. He was promoted brigadier-general, U.S.V., Aug. 17, 1861, and placed in command at Camp Dick Robinson, Ky., Sept. 18, 1861; commanded the Federal forces at the battle of Logan's Cross Roads, Ky., Jan. 19-20, 1862; was in command of his brigade in the advance on Nashville, Tenn., February-March, 1862, and subsequently a brigade in Buell's Army of the Ohio, but did not arrive on the battle-field of Shiloh until after the engagement.
He commanded the right wing, Army of the Tennessee, under General Grant in the siege of Corinth, Miss., April-May, 1862, being promoted major-general, U.S.V., April 25, 1862, and was in military command of Corinth, June 5-22, 1862. He took part in Buell's operations in North Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky, being in command at Decherd, McMinnville and Nashville, Tenn., August-September, 1862, and was second in command of the Army of the Ohio under General Buell on the advance into Kentucky and in the battle of Perryville, Ky., Oct. 8, 1862.
He commanded the centre of the Army of the Cumberland under Gen. William S. Rosecrans at the battle of Stone's river, Tenn., Dec. 31-Jan. 2, 1863; took part in the advance on Tullahoma, June 24-July 4, 1863; in the action of Hoover's Gap, June 26, 1863, and commanded the 14th army corps, Army of the Cumberland, at the battle of Chickamauga, Ga., Sept. 19, 1863.
He was engaged in checking the Confederate advance on Chattanooga, Sept. 21, 1863, and placed in command of the Department and Army of the Cumberland, Oct. 19, 1863, being promoted brigadier-general, U.S.A., Oct. 27, 1863. He commanded the Army of the Cumberland in the battle of Missionary Ridge; the invasion of Georgia, May 2-Sept. 7, 1864, including the occupation of Resacs, Ga.; the battles of Dallas, Pine mountain, Kenesaw mountain, and Peach Tree Creek, and the siege and surrender of Atlanta.
He was occupied in organizing the defences of Tennessee against the Confederate invasion by General Hood, and in concentrating his scattered forces behind Duck River, where constant skirmishing was kept up for five days. He fell back to Harpeth river, Nov. 29, 1864, and fought the battle of Franklin, Tenn.; was promoted major-general, U.S.A., Dec. 15, 1864, and fought the battle of Nashville, Tenn., Dec. 15-16, 1864, routing the Confederate army and driving them beyond the Tennessee river. For the latter service the thanks of congress were tendered him, March 3, 1865, and on Nov. 2, 1865, the general assembly also voted him their thanks, and a gold medal, bearing the motto: "I will hold the town till we starve."
He commanded the headquarters at Nashville, Tenn., June-August, 1866; the military division of the Tennessee embracing the departments of Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi; and the Department of the Tennessee, 1866-67, with headquarters at Nashville and at Louisville, Ky. He was assigned to the command of the 3d military district, comprising Georgia, Florida and Alabama, March 11-15, 1867, and of the Department of the Cumberland, March 16, 1867.
He was a member of the board for recommendations for brevets to general officers, March 14-24, 1860.
An equestrian statue of General Thomas was unveiled in Washington, D.C., Nov. 19, 1879; His name in Class N, Soldiers and Sailors, received twenty-four votes for a place in the Hall of Fame for Great Americans, New York university, October, 1900, and stood sixth in the class of twenty suggested. He died in San Francisco, Cal., March 28, 1870, and was buried with military honors at Troy, N.Y., April 8, 1870. BDNA
Thomas was a brilliant commander and administrator, loved by his men, who called him "Pap", modest about his many victories, and disdainful of personal glory; his achievements have too often been overlooked in favor of flashier colleagues. HARPER
Virginia-born, Thomas elected to remain loyal to the Union when the Civil War broke out -
a decision that was no doubt a difficult one and caused him great personal suffering.
His family disowned him and his
property was seized by his native state.
While in great need after the war, his sisters
rejected Thomas' offers of assistance saying they had no brother.
Principal campaigns and battles
|Second Seminole War|
|Battle of Resaca de la Palma (nr Brownsville), Monterrey (Mexico)|
|Battle of Buena Vista (nr Saltillo)|
|US Civil War|
|Battle of Mill Springs (nr Monticello, KY)|
|Battle of Shiloh|
|Battle of Perryville, KY|
|Battle of Stones River|
|Battle of Chickamauga|
|Battle of Chattanooga|
|Most successful commander on either side in the Civil War|
|Battle of Peachtree Creek (nr Atlanta)|
|Battle of Nashville|
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