★ ★  Thomas, George Henry

George Henry Thomas
:us34stars:
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Born: July 31, 1816

Birthplace: Newsoms, Virginia

Father: John Thomas 1779 – 1829
(Buried: Thomas Family Cemetery, Newsoms, Virginia)​

Mother: Elizabeth Rochelle 1784 – 1844
(Buried: Thomas Family Cemetery, Newsoms, Virginia)​

Wife: Frances Lucretia Kellogg 1821 – 1889
(Buried: Oakwood Cemetery, Troy, New York)​
Married: 1852 in Troy, New York
Signature:
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Education:

1840: Graduated from West Point Military Academy – (12th in class)​

Occupation before War:

1840 – 1844: 2nd Lt. United States Army, 3rd Artillery​
1840: Garrison Duty at Fort Columbus, New York​
1841: Served in the capture of 70 Seminole Natives​
1841: Brevetted 1st Lt. for Gallantry in Seminole War​
1842: Garrison Duty at New Orleans, Barracks Louisiana​
1842 – 1843: Garrison Duty at Fort Moultrie, South Carolina​
1843 – 1845: Garrison Duty at Fort McHenry, Maryland​
1844 – 1853: 1st Lt. United States Army, 3rd Artillery​
1845: Recruiter for the United States Army​
1845: Garrison Duty at Fort Moultrie, South Carolina​
1846: Served in the Defenses of Fort Brown, Texas​
1846: Served in the Battle of Monterey, Mexico​
1846: Brevetted Captain for Gallantry, Battle of Monterrey​
1847: Served in the Battle of Buena Vista, Mexico​
1847: Brevetted Major for Gallantry, Battle of Buena Vista​
1848 – 1849: Garrison Duty at mouth of Rio Grande, Texas​
1851 – 1854: Artillery and Cavalry Instructor at West Point​
1853 – 1855: Captain, United States Army, 3rd Artillery​
1855 – 1861: Major, United States Army, 2nd Cavalry Regiment​
1856 – 1857: Frontier Duty at Fort Mason, Texas​
1857: Frontier Duty at San Antonio, Texas
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1857 – 1858: Frontier Duty at Fort Mason, Texas​
1859 – 1860: Served in Expedition to Red River Country​
1860: Served in the Kiowa Expedition​

Civil War Career:

1861: Lt. Colonel, United States Army, 2nd Cavalry Regiment​
1861: Equipping his regiment at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania​
1861: Colonel, United States Army, 2nd Cavalry Regiment​
1861 – 1863: Colonel, United States Army, 5th Cavalry Regiment​
1861: Served in the Battle of Falling Waters in Western Virginia​
1861: Served in the Skirmish at Martinsburg, Western Virginia​
1861 – 1862: Brigadier General, Union Army Volunteers​
1861: Served in the Skirmish at Bunker Hill​
1861: Served in the Union Army, Department of the Cumberland
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1861: Organizer of Volunteers in Kentucky and Tennessee​
1861: Served in the advance on Crab Orchard and Lebanon, Kentucky​
1861 – 1862: Division Commander with Union Army of the Ohio​
1862: Union Army Commander at the Battle of Mill Springs, Kentucky​
1862: Arrived at Battle of Shiloh after the fighting had ceased​
1862 – 1864: Major General, Union Army Volunteers​
1862: Union Army Commander of Corinth, Mississippi​
1862: Guarded Memphis and Charleston Railroad at Tuscumbia, Alabama​
1862: Second in command of the Advance into Kentucky​
1862: Second in command at the Battle of Perryville, Kentucky​
1862 – 1863: Served in Battle of Stones River, Tennessee​
1863: In Charge of most important maneuvering at Chattanooga​
1863 – 1865: Union Army Commander of the Army of the Cumberland​
1863 – 1864: Brigadier General United States Army​
1863 – 1864: Reorganizing the Union Army of the Cumberland​
1864: Union Army Commander at the Battle of Peachtree Creek​
1864: Union Army Commander in the Franklin – Nashville Campaign​
1864 – 1870: Major General of United States Army​
1864 – 1865: Organizer of various raid Expeditions​
1865 – 1866: United States Army Commander, Division of Tennessee​
1866: Member of Board for recommendations to Brevets for officers​
1866 – 1867: United States Army Commander, Dept. of Tennessee​
1867: United States Army, Commander of 3rd Military District​
Post War Era:
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Memorial Gravestone of Maj. Gen Thomas
untitled.png by Matt H. Wade, October 2009

1867 – 1869: United States Army, Commander Dept. of Cumberland​
1869: Member of Dyer Court of Inquiry​
1869 – 1870: United States Army, Commander Division of Pacific​

Died: March 28, 1870

Place of Death: His office in San Francisco, California

Cause of Death: Apoplexy

Age at time of Death: 54 years old

Burial Place: Oakwood Cemetery, Troy, New YorK
 
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wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
Unfortunately, Thomas did not live long after the war to rack up a lengthy post-war career. He did remain in the army and continued in high level commands during the Reconstruction period.
He gave up on Reconstruction and was sent to San Francisco, probably at his request. He wasn't the only one that wanted to leave the eastern troubles behind.
 

wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
Thomas destroyed Hood's Army at Nashville and its aftermath chase. What Hood had left once he quit running in the deep woods of Mississippi could hardly be called an Army. If not mistaken he had maybe 10,000 barefooted, starving, frost bitten, and mostly unarmed survivors. They never again formed any effective fighting force in the field that I am aware of. To call Thomas slow in this campaign is nothing but political propaganda myth making.
I don't think Hood needed any help. Thomas' pursuit was hampered by the need for the cavalry to remount. Then the pontoon train got delayed. At any rate, Thomas was sick of the killing and was trying to correspond with Forrest about winding down the violence. Thomas' approach was tolerated until the weather improved and then Grant sent two of his nastiest officers, Wilson and Upton, on a massive cavalry raid to destroy whatever was left in Alabama. Thomas was not the man for that job in early 1865.
Thomas was always slow and very careful. He had to be. He was a Virginian.
And his operational plans, developed in conjunction with Rosecrans were the right plans for conditions in Tennessee and Georgia. Block the Confederates with one part of the army and swing around them with the other part. One last swing got Sherman's three armies to Jonesboro and the Confederates had to evacuate Atlanta.
His people were willing to fight for him, and that is the salient fact about General Thomas.
 
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FSkiddy

Cadet
Joined
Mar 14, 2015
Shares the same birthday as a sadly passed relative of mine. IMO the best Union general of the war.
Was gonna say "best Yankee general" but remembered he ain't a yankee.
The Col. G.L. Willard Camp and Oakwood Cemetery rededicated the Gen. Thomas monument and Kellogg Family plot in Troy, NY on 7/31/2021 - the General’s 205th birthday. After a 9-year effort the plot is in beautiful shape. The wrought iron fence sections that were missing have been replaced. The destructive beech tree had to be removed along with a very old pine. Lots of work but there were many volunteers and donors.
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uaskme

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 9, 2016
Location
SE Tennessee
The huge "army of 100,000 men" that General Sherman set in motion for the Atlanta Campaign consisted of elements of the Army of the Cumberland under Thomas. It also had parts of the Army of the Tennessee under McPherson and some divisions from the Army of the Ohio under Schofield.

Reorganized AOC was 85K strong. Overwhelming majority of Sherman’s force. When Sherman got to ATL, he took the most effective forces of the AOC. Final insult to the AOC renamed them the Army of Georgia. Not the final insult to Thomas, sent him to Nashville.
 

uaskme

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 9, 2016
Location
SE Tennessee
He was involved in the slowest and most cautious campaigns. I think Sherman realized that Thomas could not order an advance on any suspected Confederate stationary line, and his caution was spreading. It was Thomas' action prior to Nashville that created his reputation with Sherman and Grant. At Nashville, Thomas tactically won. But too much of his cavalry force was fighting dismounted and the cavalry did not get into the rear of the Confederate army. Thomas won, but it was also a missed opportunity.
The last step, getting ahead of the enemy and cutting off the road of retreat, was missing.
And its not like it was easy for anyone else to accomplish either.

AOT was destroyed. Share with us when Sherman destroyed the AOT?

Always something missing if it wasn’t Sherman or Grant. Almost never was a defeated Army succumbed to finality.
 

Luke Freet

First Sergeant
Forum Host
Joined
Nov 8, 2018
Location
Palm Coast, Florida
Reorganized AOC was 85K strong. Overwhelming majority of Sherman’s force. When Sherman got to ATL, he took the most effective forces of the AOC. Final insult to the AOC renamed them the Army of Georgia. Not the final insult to Thomas, sent him to Nashville.
Well, the forces sent back to Tennessee (mostly 4th Corps) remained part of the "Army of the Cumberland", though also referred to as the "Department of the Cumberland"
By that point, calling a force operating well south of the Cumberland that name was going to become obsolete ventually. Army of Georgia under Slocum did good work during Sherman's March.
 

Irishtom29

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Jul 21, 2008
Location
Kent, Washington
...Not the final insult to Thomas, sent him to Nashville.

Who better to send? Sherman needed his best subordinate in the role of independent commander guarding his rear from the enemy army he left there. Sherman could keep an eye on and direct Howard and Slocum and but Thomas was on his own.

The 4th Corps was thoroughly veteran and as good a corps as any. And the 23rd Corps and AJ Smith's bunch were also first rate. Why even Milroy did well under Thomas, giving Forrest a whipping at Murfreesboro. Who'd a thought?

The old system of armies was breaking down as the war rushed to conclusion and the Federals were using kampfgruppes formed of the troops handy to the task. Thus Thomas's army at Nashville, the Army of the Shenandoah, the 5th Corps (Meade's army ) and 24th Corps (Ord's army) together heading Lee off at Appomattox and the use of Sheridan as a general go to guy.
 
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uaskme

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 9, 2016
Location
SE Tennessee
Who better to send? Sherman needed his best subordinate in the role of independent commander guarding his rear from the enemy army he left in his rear. Sherman could keep an eye on and direct Howard and Slocum and but Thomas was on his own.

The 4th Corps was thoroughly veteran and as good a corps as any. And the 23rd Corps and AJ Smith's bunch were also first rate. Why even Milroy did well under Thomas, giving Forrest a whipping at Murfreesboro. Who'd a thought?

The old system of armies was breaking down as the war rushed to conclusion and the Federals were using kampfgruppes formed of the troops handy to the task. Thus Thomas's army at Nashville, the Army of the Shenandoah, the 5th Corps (Meade's army ) and 24th Corps (Ord's army) together heading Lee off at Appomattox and the use of Sheridan as a general go to guy.

Well, Sherman did take the best 60K Troops with him on his Panty Raid thru the South. He chose them because he thought they were the best Troops. Guess he thought the UDC were tough characters?

Sherman not Grant would put Thomas in a position to achieve fame. They both lied about the circumstances at Missionary Ridge. Grant tried to replace him at Nashville but ran out of time.
 

KianGaf

First Sergeant
Joined
May 29, 2019
Location
Dublin, Ireland
Thomas is one of my favorite CW generals, not least because he remained loyal to the Union, and had an understated personality, unlike other prima donnas such as Sheridan. He was methodical, to be sure, and that aroused the ire of Grant and Sherman who thought he was too slow, but Thomas' calculating approach to battle proved itself in the end. He certainly deserves more credit than he gets particularly for operations such as Missionary Ridge and the Georgia campaign when Thomas' command of the AotC was often the bedrock that made those operations successful.

I agree with that assessment. I was a always particularly fond of him myself for the reasons you have articulated above.
 

rbasin

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Jan 31, 2013
Location
Tampa, Fl
Thomas' loyalty to the Union came at a heavy cost. His 2 Virginian sisters refused to speak with him to his dying day.
apparently, the sisters got upset was this story was told to them.
I think Gen. Thomas is one of the most underrated Union generals of the war. Grant never gave him the credit he deserved for Nashville in his memoirs.
he never fit the grant narrative
 

rbasin

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Jan 31, 2013
Location
Tampa, Fl
He gave up on Reconstruction and was sent to San Francisco, probably at his request. He wasn't the only one that wanted to leave the eastern troubles behind.
It was Grant's idea. Thomas wanted an Eastern command so his wife could be closer to he family.
 

rbasin

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Jan 31, 2013
Location
Tampa, Fl
No blood relatives were there. Yes, he certainly would have been treated much better and praised by Lee and the southern news papers, than how he was treated by Grant. Most likely would now be at rest and at home in Virginia.

I think Thomas would have liked simply a fair historical record.
 
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