Title: Army Colonel, Civil War, Killed in Action
Birthdate: September 29, 1822
Death Date: May 3, 1863
Plot Location: Section 36, Lot 19, Grave 5
Although he was named after his father, George was not the first male child born to George and Naomi, but the fifth of ten children growing up west of Philadelphia in what was rural Delaware County. Susannah Grew became his bride in 1844 and their son William was born the following year. She was only 26 when she died four years later, so George asked Mary Loper to become his wife and his son’s step-mother in 1850.
George signed up as a captain with the 23rd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry when it was created in April of 1861. They were the first to leave Philadelphia in uniform, with great hope of putting down the rebellion before their three-month tour of duty was over. Since it wasn’t, George re-enlisted with the 23rd in August as a major for a three-year term. Seven months later, four companies of the 23rd were folded into the 61st Pennsylvania Infantry, and he was promoted again to Lieutenant Colonel.
He participated in the Peninsula campaign in southeastern Virginia in the spring of 1862, but as the 61st engaged in the battle of Fair Oaks east of Richmond, George was severely wounded and held captive. He was promoted to Colonel while in captivity, then released as part of a prisoner exchange on July 17. In December the 61st was in the Battle of Fredericksburg, a stunning defeat, followed by General Burnside’s “Mud March” in early 1863.
As part of the Chancellorsville Campaign on May 3, the Colonel led his men in a second attack on Fredericksburg, seven miles to the east. They crossed a ridge known as Marye’s Heights and, while leading a column through a narrow causeway, George was shot and killed. His coffin was laid in state in Independence Hall prior to a temporary burial. It was relocated to his father’s plot at Mount Moriah on June 2, almost a year after George Sr. had passed away on June 4, 1862.
This inscription was added to one side of his father’s obelisk to mark George’s life, and a third side remembers his mother after she died in 1871. His wives, son, and his nine siblings are buried elsewhere.
The Philadelphia Inquirer remembered him this way in the edition of May 6, 1873:
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