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Encyclopedia > George Henry Thomas
General George H. Thomas
General George H. Thomas

George Henry Thomas (July 31, 1816March 28, 1870), the "Rock of Chickamauga", was a career U.S. Army officer and a Union general during the American Civil War. Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (1104x1392, 301 KB)General George Henry Thomas source This image comes from the National Archives and Records Administration, the vast majority of whose images and documents are in the public domain. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (1104x1392, 301 KB)General George Henry Thomas source This image comes from the National Archives and Records Administration, the vast majority of whose images and documents are in the public domain. ... July 31 is the 212th day (213th in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian Calendar, with 153 days remaining, as the final day of July. ... 1816 was a leap year starting on Monday (see link for calendar). ... March 28 is the 87th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (88th in Leap years). ... 1870 was a common year starting on Saturday (see link for calendar). ... The Army is the branch of the United States armed forces which has primary responsibility for land-based military operations. ... The 21st Michigan Infantry, a company of Shermans veterans. ... General is a high military rank, used by nearly every country in the world. ... The American Civil War (1861–1865) was fought in North America within the United States of America, between twenty-four mostly northern states of the Union and the Confederate States of America, a coalition of eleven southern states that declared their independence and claimed the right of secession from the...


Thomas was born in Newsom's Depot, Southampton County, Virginia. In 1831, Thomas, his sisters, and his widowed mother were forced to flee from their home and hide in the nearby woods in the wake of Nat Turner's slave rebellion. Graduating from the U.S. Military Academy in 1840, he served as an artillery subaltern in the war against the Seminole Indians in Florida (1841), and in the Mexican War at the battles of Fort Brown, Resaca de la Palma, Monterrey, and Buena Vista, receiving three promotions for distinguished gallantry in action. From 1851 to 1854 he was an instructor at West Point. In 1855 he was appointed a major of the 2nd U.S. Cavalry (later redesignated the 5th U.S. Cavalry) by Jefferson Davis, then Secretary of War. On August 26, 1860, Thomas was wounded by a Indian arrow striking his chest at Clear Fork, Brazos River, Texas. Southampton County is a county located in the state of Virginia. ... 1831 was a common year starting on Saturday (see link for calendar). ... Nat Turner (October 2, 1800 – November 11, 1831) was a United States slave whose failed 1831 slave rebellion in Southampton County, Virginia, was the most remarkable instance of black resistance to enslavement in the antebellum Southern United States and has become a reference of justification for the American Civil War. ... The Buxton Memorial Fountain, celebrating the emancipation of slaves in the British Empire in 1834, London. ... Alternate meanings: West Point (disambiguation). ... 1840 is a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will take you to calendar). ... The Seminole are a Native American Indian people, originally of Florida. ... take you to calendar). ... The Mexican-American War was a war fought between the United States and Mexico between 1846 and 1848. ... At the Battle of Resaca de la Palma, one of the early engagements of the Mexican-American War, Zachary Taylor engaged the retreating forces of the Mexican Army of the North under Gen. ... The Battle of Monterrey (September 21–September 23, 1846) was an engagement in the Mexican-American War in which General Pedro de Ampudia and the Mexican Army of the North managed to fight US troops to a standstill at the important fortress town of Monterrey. ... The Battle of Buena Vista was a land battle of the Mexican-American War fought on 23 February 1847 in Buena Vista, Coahuila, seven miles (12 km) south of Saltillo, in northern Mexico. ... 1851 was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar). ... 1854 was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ... Alternate meanings: West Point (disambiguation). ... 1855 was a common year starting on Monday (see link for calendar). ... Major is a military rank denoting an officer of mid-level command status. ... Jefferson Davis (June 3, 1808–December 6, 1889) was an American soldier and politician, most famous for serving as the first and only President of the Confederate States, leading the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War. ... The Secretary of War was a member of the Presidents Cabinet, beginning with George Washingtons administration. ... August 26 is the 238th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (239th in leap years). ... 1860 is the leap year starting on Sunday. ... The Brazos River is the longest river in Texas, running 1360 km (840 mi) from the center of the state to the Gulf of Mexico. ... ...

Contents


Civil War

At the outbreak of the Civil War, three of Thomas's regimental superiors—Albert Sidney Johnston, Robert E. Lee, and William J. Hardee—resigned. Many Southern-born generals were torn between loyalty to their states and loyalty to their country. Thomas struggled with the decision but opted to remain with the United States. In response, his family turned his picture against the wall, destroyed his letters, and never spoke to him again. Nevertheless, Thomas stayed in the Union Army with some degree of suspicion surrounding him. On January 18, 1861, a few months before Fort Sumter, he had applied for a job as the commandant of cadets at Virginia Military Institute. Any real tendency to the secessionist cause, however, could be refuted when he turned down Virginia Governor John Letcher's offer to become chief of ordnance for the Virginia Provisional Army. Albert Sidney Johnston Albert Sidney Johnston (February 2, 1803 – April 6, 1862) was a career U.S. Army officer and a Confederate general during the American Civil War. ... Robert E. Lee portrait by Julian Vannerson, 1863 Robert Edward Lee (January 19, 1807 – October 12, 1870) was a career army officer and the most successful general of the Confederate forces during the American Civil War. ... William J. Hardee (1817-1873) was a Confederate general in the American Civil War. ... Southern United States. ... January 18 is the 18th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. ... 1861 is a common year starting on Tuesday. ... The Battle of Fort Sumter (April 12–13, 1861), a relatively minor military engagement at Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina, began the American Civil War. ... The Virginia Military Institute (VMI), located in Lexington, Virginia, is the oldest state military college in the United States and the only classical state military college: all VMI students are cadets. ... The examples and perspective in this article do not represent a worldwide view. ... This is a list of Governors of Virginia since Virginia became a U.S. state following the American Revolutionary War. ... John Letcher (1813-1884) of Lexington, Virginia, was an American lawyer, journalist, politician, served as Representative in U.S. Congress (1851-1859), Governor of Virginia (1860-1864), Delegate in Virginia General Assembly 1875-1877, and on the Board of Visitors of Virginia Military Institute 1866-1880. ... Ordnance is a general term for a quantity of military equipment, usually specifying the ammunition for artillery, bombs, or other large weapons. ...


Thomas was promoted in rapid succession to be lieutenant colonel (April 25, 1861) and colonel (May 3) in the Regular Army, and brigadier general of volunteers (August 17). In the First Manassas campaign, he commanded a brigade under Major General Robert Patterson in the Shenandoah Valley, but all of his subsequent assignments were in the Western Theater. In command of an independent force in eastern Kentucky, on January 18, 1862, he defeated Confederate Generals George B. Crittenden and Felix Zollicoffer at Mill Springs, gaining the first important Union victory in the war, breaking Confederate strength in eastern Kentucky, and lifting Union morale. In the U.S. Army, Air Force and Marine Corps, a lieutenant colonel is a commissioned officer superior to a major and inferior to a colonel. ... April 25 is the 115th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (116th in leap years). ... 1861 is a common year starting on Tuesday. ... Colonel is a military rank of a commissioned officer, with the corresponding ranks existing in nearly every country in the world. ... May 3 is the 123rd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (124th in leap years). ... The Regular Army is the name given to the permanent force of the United States Army that is maintained during peacetime. ... A Brigadier General, or one-star general, is the lowest rank of general officer in the United States and some other countries, ranking just above Colonel and just below Major General. ... August 17 is the 229th day of the year (230th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar. ... The First Battle of Bull Run, referred to as the First Battle of Manassas in the South, (July 21, 1861), was the first major land battle of the American Civil War. ... Insignia of a United States Air Force Major General German Generalmajor Insignia Major General is a military rank used in many countries. ... Robert Patterson ( January 12, 1792- August 7, 1881) was an Irish immigrant and a noted soldier and businessman from Pennsylvania. ... Canoeing on the Shenandoah River near Winchester, VA. The Shenandoah Valley region of western Virginia, from Winchester to Staunton, is bounded by the Blue Ridge mountains to the East and the Allegheny mountains to the West. ... State nickname: Bluegrass State Official languages English Capital Frankfort Largest city Louisville Governor Ernie Fletcher (R) Senators Mitch McConnell (R) Jim Bunning (R) Area  - Total  - % water Ranked 37th 104,749 km² 1. ... January 18 is the 18th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. ... 1862 was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar). ... Some Confederate soldiers The Confederate States Army (CSA) was formed in February, 1861, to defend the Confederate States of America, which had itself been formed that same year when seven southern states seceded from the United States (with four more to follow). ... George Bibb Crittenden (March 20, 1812 – November 27, 1880) was a career U.S. Army officer who served in the Black Hawk War, the Army of the Republic of Texas, the Mexican War, and was a general in the Confederate States Army in the American Civil War. ... Felix Kirk Zollicoffer (May 19, 1812 – January 19, 1862) is best known for his role as a Confederate brigadier general. ... Battle of Mill Springs Conflict American Civil War Date January 19, 1862 Place Pulaski County and Wayne County, Kentucky Result Union victory The Battle of Mill Springs, also known as Logans Cross Roads was a decisive Union victory that made a Union invasion into Tennessee possible. ...


Shiloh and Corinth

On December 2, 1861, Brig. Gen. Thomas was assigned to command the 1st Division of Don Carlos Buell's Army of the Ohio. He was present at the second day of the Battle of Shiloh (April 7, 1862), but arrived after the fighting had ceased. The victor at Shiloh, Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, came under severe criticism for the bloody battle and his superior, Henry W. Halleck, reorganized his Department of the Mississippi to ease Grant out of direct field command. The three armies in the department were divided and recombined into three "wings". Thomas, promoted to major general effective April 25, 1862, was given command of the Right Wing, consisting of four divisions from Grant's former Army of the Tennessee and one from the Army of the Ohio. Thomas successfully led this putative army in the siege of Corinth. On June 10, Grant returned to command of the original Army of the Tennessee, but a professional resentment would linger between the two generals for the rest of their lives. December 2 is the 336th day (337th in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1861 is a common year starting on Tuesday. ... Don Carlos Buell ( 23 March 1818- 19 November 1898) was an American assistant adjutant general who fought in the Seminole War, the Mexican-American War, and the Civil War. ... The Army of the Ohio was the name of two Union armies in the American Civil War. ... Combatants United States of America Confederate States of America Commanders Ulysses S. Grant Don Carlos Buell Albert S. Johnston† P.G.T. Beauregard Strength Army of West Tennessee (33,085 men) and Army of the Ohio (32,000 men) Army of the Mississippi (44,968 men) Casualties 1,754 killed... April 7 is the 97th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (98th in leap years). ... 1862 was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar). ... Ulysses S. Grant (April 27, 1822 – July 23, 1885) was the 18th President of the United States (1869–1877). ... Henry Wager Halleck (1815 - 1872) was an American soldier and politician. ... April 25 is the 115th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (116th in leap years). ... 1862 was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar). ... The Army of the Tennessee was a Union army in the American Civil War, named for the Tennessee River. ... The Battle of Corinth I (also known as the Siege of Corinth) was a United States Civil War battle fought from April 29, 1862 – June 10, 1862 in Corinth, Mississippi. ... June 10 is the 161st day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (162nd in leap years), with 204 days remaining. ...


Perryville, Stones River, Chickamauga, and Chattanooga

Thomas resumed service under Don Carlos Buell. During Confederate General Braxton Bragg's invasion of Kentucky in the fall of 1862, the Union high command became nervous about Buell's cautious tendencies and offered command of the Army of the Ohio to Thomas, who refused. Thomas served as Buell's second-in-command at the Battle of Perryville; although tactically inconclusive, the battle halted Bragg's invasion of Kentucky as he voluntarily withdrew to Tennessee. Again frustrated with Buell's ineffective pursuit of Bragg, the Union replaced him with Maj. Gen. William Rosecrans. Don Carlos Buell ( 23 March 1818- 19 November 1898) was an American assistant adjutant general who fought in the Seminole War, the Mexican-American War, and the Civil War. ... Braxton Bragg Braxton Bragg (March 22, 1817 – September 27, 1876) was a career U.S. Army officer and a general in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War. ... The Battle of Perryville was an important but largely neglected encounter in the American Civil War. ... William Rosecrans William Starke Rosecrans (September 6, 1819 – March 11, 1898) was an inventor, coal-oil company executive, diplomat, politician, and U.S. Army officer. ...


Fighting under Rosecrans in the newly renamed Army of the Cumberland, Thomas gave an impressive performance at the Battle of Stones River, holding the center of the retreating Union line and once again preventing a victory by Bragg. He was in charge of the most important part of the maneuvering from Decherd to Chattanooga during the Tullahoma Campaign (June 22July 3, 1863) and the crossing of the Tennessee River. At the Battle of Chickamauga on September 19, 1863, he once again held a desperate position against Bragg's onslaught while the Union line on his right collapsed rallying broken and scattered units together on Horseshoe Ridge to prevent a significant Union defeat from becoming a hopeless rout. After the battle his men began calling him "The Rock of Chickamauga". Union army in the west during the American Civil War, commanded at various times by Generals Robert Anderson, Don Carlos Buell, William S. Rosecrans, and George Thomas. ... The Battle of Stones River or Second Battle of Murfreesboro (in the South, simply the Battle of Murfreesboro), was fought from December 31, 1862, to January 3, 1863, in central Tennessee, as the culmination of the Stones River Campaign in the American Civil War. ... Decherd is a city located in Franklin County, Tennessee. ... Nickname: Scenic City (official), River City, Chatty, ChatTown, Chattavegas, The nooga Motto: {{{motto}}} Official website: http://www. ... Battle of Hoovers Gap Conflict American Civil War Date June 24– 26, 1862 Place Bedford County, Tennessee and Rutherford County, Tennessee Result Union victory The Battle of Hoovers Gap was the principal battle fought in the Tullahoma Campaign of the American Civil War. ... June 22 is the 173rd day of the year (174th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 192 days remaining. ... July 3 is the 184th day of the year (185th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar, with 181 days remaining. ... 1863 is a common year starting on Thursday. ... A riverboat passing under the Gay Street Bridge on the Tennessee River The river viewed from the top of Neyland Stadium. ... The Battle of Chickamauga, fought September 18–20, 1863, marked the end of a Union offensive in south-central Tennessee and northwestern Georgia called the Chickamauga Campaign. ... September 19 is the 262nd day of the year (263rd in leap years). ... 1863 is a common year starting on Thursday. ...


Atlanta and Franklin/Nashville

Gen. George Thomas and a group of officers at a council of war near Ringgold, Georgia, May 5, 1864.
Gen. George Thomas and a group of officers at a council of war near Ringgold, Georgia, May 5, 1864.

Thomas succeeded Rosecrans in command of the Army of the Cumberland shortly before the Battle of Chattanooga (November 2325, 1863), a stunning Union victory that was highlighted by Thomas's troops storming the Confederate line on Missionary Ridge. As the Army of the Cumberland advanced further than ordered, General Grant, on Orchard Knob asked Thomas, "Who ordered the advance?" Thomas replied "I don't know. I did not." Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (1389x1102, 431 KB)Gen. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (1389x1102, 431 KB)Gen. ... Union army in the west during the American Civil War, commanded at various times by Generals Robert Anderson, Don Carlos Buell, William S. Rosecrans, and George Thomas. ... The third Battle of Chattanooga (popularly known as The Battle of Chattanooga) was fought November 23–25, 1863, in the American Civil War. ... November 23 is the 327th day of the year (328th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 38 days remaining. ... November 25 is the 329th (in leap years the 330th) day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1863 is a common year starting on Thursday. ... The Battle of Missionary Ridge was a major battle of the American Civil War fought on November 25, 1863 in Chattanooga, Tennessee as part of the Chattanooga-Ringgold Campaign. ...


In William Tecumseh Sherman's advance through Georgia in the spring of 1864, the Army of the Cumberland numbered over 60,000 men, and Thomas's staff did the logistics and engineering for Sherman's entire army group. At the Battle of Peachtree Creek (July 20, 1864) Thomas's defense severely damaged John B. Hood's army in its first attempt to break the siege of Atlanta. Portrait of William Tecumseh Sherman by Mathew Brady William Tecumseh Sherman (February 8, 1820 – February 14, 1891) was an American soldier, businessman, and author. ... Battle of Peachtree Creek Conflict American Civil War Date July 20, 1864 Place Fulton County, Georgia Result Union victory The Battle of Peachtree Creek was a battle of the American Civil War, fought in Georgia on July 20, 1864. ... July 20 is the 201st day (202nd in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian Calendar, with 164 days remaining. ... 1864 was a leap year starting on Friday (see link for calendar). ... John Bell Hood John Bell Hood (June 1, 1831–August 30, 1879) was a Confederate general during the American Civil War. ...


When Hood broke away from Atlanta in the autumn of 1864, menaced Sherman's long line of communications, and endeavored to force Sherman to follow him, Sherman abandoned his communications and embarked on the March to the Sea. Thomas stayed behind to fight Hood. Thomas, with a smaller force, raced with Hood to reach Nashville, where he was to receive reinforcements. 1864 was a leap year starting on Friday (see link for calendar). ... Engraving depicting Shermans March Shermans March to the Sea is the name commonly given to a military campaign conducted in late 1864 by Major General William T. Sherman of the Union Army during the American Civil War. ...


At the Battle of Franklin on November 30, 1864, a large part of Thomas's force, under command of John McAllister Schofield, dealt Hood a strong defeat and held him in check long enough to cover the concentration at Nashville. At Nashville, Thomas had to organize his forces, drawn from all parts of the West and including many young troops and even quartermaster employees. He declined to attack until his army was ready and the ice covering the ground had melted enough for his men to move. The North, including General Grant himself (now general-in-chief of all Union armies), grew impatient at the delay. Maj. Gen. John A. Logan was sent with an order to replace Thomas, and soon afterwards Grant started a journey west from City Point, Virginia to take command in person. Battle of Franklin II Conflict American Civil War Date November 30, 1864 Place Williamson County, Tennessee Result Union victory The Battle of Franklin was a major engagement of the American Civil War fought at Franklin, Tennessee on November 30, 1864. ... November 30 is the 334th day (335th on leap years) of the year in the Gregorian calendar, with 31 days remaining, as the final day of November. ... 1864 was a leap year starting on Friday (see link for calendar). ... For John Schofield, the recipient of a Victoria Cross see John Schofield (VC). ... John Alexander Logan (February 8, 1826 – December 26, 1886), American soldier and political leader, was born in what is now Murphysboro, Jackson County, Illinois. ...


Thomas attacked on December 15, 1864, and the Battle of Nashville and destroyed Hood's command. For this brilliant victory Thomas was made a major general in the regular army and received the thanks of Congress: December 15 is the 349th day of the year (350th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1864 was a leap year starting on Friday (see link for calendar). ... The Battle of Nashville was a two-day battle in the Franklin-Nashville Campaign that represented the end of large-scale fighting in the Western Theater of the American Civil War. ... Insignia of a United States Air Force Major General German Generalmajor Insignia Major General is a military rank used in many countries. ...

... to Major-General George H. Thomas and the officers and soldiers under his command for their skill and dauntless courage, by which the rebel army under General Hood was signally defeated and driven from the state of Tennessee.

Thomas also received another nickname from his victory: "The Sledgehammer of Nashville".


Later years

After the end of the Civil War, Thomas commanded military departments in Kentucky and Tennessee until 1869. President Andrew Johnson offered Thomas the rank of lieutenant general—with the intent to eventually replace Grant, a Republican and future president, with Thomas as General in Chief—but the ever-loyal Thomas asked the Senate to withdraw his name for that nomination because he did not want to be party to politics. In 1869 he requested assignment to command the Division of the Pacific with headquarters at San Francisco. He died there of apoplexy, while writing an answer to an article criticizing his military career, on March 28, 1870. He was buried in Oakwood Cemetery, in Troy, New York. 1869 is a common year starting on Friday (link will take you to calendar). ... The President of the United States (fully, President of the United States of America; unofficially abbreviated POTUS) is the head of state of the United States and the chief executive of the federal government. ... Andrew Johnson (December 29, 1808 – July 31, 1875) was the sixteenth Vice President (1865) and the seventeenth President of the United States (1865–1869), succeeding to the presidency upon the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. ... Lieutenant General is a military rank used in many countries. ... The Republican Party, often called the GOP (for Grand Old Party, although one early citation described it as the Gallant Old Party) [1], is one of the two major political parties in the United States. ... Seal of the Senate The United States Senate is one of the two chambers of the Congress of the United States, the other being the House of Representatives. ... 1869 is a common year starting on Friday (link will take you to calendar). ... This page is a candidate for speedy deletion. ... Apoplexy is an old-fashioned medical term, generally used interchangeably with cerebrovascular accident (CVA or stroke) but having other meanings as well. ... March 28 is the 87th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (88th in Leap years). ... 1870 was a common year starting on Saturday (see link for calendar). ... Looking west down Broadway at downtown Troy. ...


Thomas's legacy

His cadets at West Point gave him the nickname of "Slow Trot Thomas", and this sobriquet was used to diminish his reputation. He moved slowly because of an injured back, but he was mentally anything but slow, only methodical. He was known for accurate judgment and thorough knowledge of his profession and once he grasped a problem and the time was right for action, he would strike a vigorous, rapid blow.


The veterans' organization for the Army of the Cumberland, throughout its existence, fought to see that he was honored for all he had done.


Thomas was in chief command of only two battles in the Civil War, the Battle of Mill Springs at the beginning and the Battle of Nashville near the end. Both were victories. However, his contributions at the battles of Stones River, Chickamauga, Chattanooga, and Peachtree Creek were decisive. His main legacies lay in his development of modern battlefield doctrine and in his mastery of logistics. Battle of Mill Springs Conflict American Civil War Date January 19, 1862 Place Pulaski County and Wayne County, Kentucky Result Union victory The Battle of Mill Springs, also known as Logans Cross Roads was a decisive Union victory that made a Union invasion into Tennessee possible. ... The Battle of Nashville was a two-day battle in the Franklin-Nashville Campaign that represented the end of large-scale fighting in the Western Theater of the American Civil War. ...


References

  • Eicher, John H., & Eicher, David J., Civil War High Commands, Stanford University Press, 2001, ISBN 0-8047-3641-3.
  • George Thomas Homepage
  • Redman, Bob, Army of the Cumberland and George Thomas Source Page
  • Warner, Ezra J., Generals in Blue: Lives of the Union Commanders, Louisiana State University Press, 1964, ISBN 0-8071-0882-7.

Supporters contend that the Eleventh Edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica (1910-1911) represents the sum of human knowledge at the beginning of the 20th century; indeed, it was advertised as such. ... The public domain comprises the body of all creative works and other knowledge—writing, artwork, music, science, inventions, and others—in which no person or organization has any proprietary interest. ...

External links

  • Van Horne, Thomas, The Life of Major General George H. Thomas, 1882.
  • George Thomas biography and timeline

  Results from FactBites:
 
Encyclopedia: George Henry Thomas (1034 words)
George Henry Thomas (July 31, 1816 – March 28, 1870), the "Rock of Chickamauga", was a career U.S. Army officer and a Union general during the American Civil War.
Thomas was born in Newsom's Depot, Southampton County, Virginia.
In 1831, Thomas, his sisters, and his widowed mother were forced to flee from their home and hide in the nearby woods in the wake of Nat Turner's slave rebellion.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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