Short Bios | George Henry Thomas


Major General George Henry Thomas
By Michael A. Peake

George H. Thomas was born on July 31, 1816, in Southampton County, Virginia. He attained an appointment as cadet to West Point when 19 years old. Thomas distinguished himself, both on the battlefield and as West Point artillery and cavalry instructor from 1851 to 1854. With the outbreak of the civil war, Thomas remained steadfastly loyal to the Union, an action that caused his Southern family to forever disown him. At Chickamauga, Thomas stubbornly held Snodgrass Hill in a stout rearguard defense, earning the nickname of "The Rock of Chickamauga." He was in command at Nashville, Tennessee, when Confederate General John B. Hood, his former academy student, made the vain attempt to capture the city in December 1864, resulting in the near destruction of the Confederate Army of Tennessee. Thomas remained in command of the Military Division of the Tennessee until 1867, when he transferred to command the Military Division of the Pacific. He died suddenly in San Francisco on March 28, 1870, and was buried on April 18, in Troy, New York, the home of his wife.

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Major General George Henry Thomas
Library of Congress: LC-USZ62-129689