Title: Army Lieutenant Colonel, Civil War
Death Date: October 29, 1864
Plot Location: Section 42, Lot 30
In 1850 the Hawkins family lived in Upper Darby township just to the west of Philadelphia County. (The city and county merged in 1854.) George was the middle child of seven, and the four oldest continued to live on the family farm with their parents, John and Mira. George followed in his older brother’s career path as a carpenter.
He found a bride a few years later and they had six children of their own, although two didn’t survive. When the Southern states seceded from the Union in the spring of 1861, George joined the “Washington Grays of Philadelphia.” Originally known as the Volunteer Corps of Light Infantry when it was organized in 1822 as a city militia, it would eventually merge with other militias to form the National Guard of Pennsylvania. This statue depicts a member in his gray dress uniform.
They sent two companies of men to the 17th Pennsylvania Infantry, a 90-day unit. Then, on October 29, 1861, George organized Company I of the 97th Pennsylvania Infantry and became its captain. He led his command in 24 battles over the next three years, receiving a commission as Lieutenant Colonel on September 18, 1864.
The Battle of Fair Oaks and Darbytown Road took place October 27-28 as part of the Richmond-Petersburg Campaign. There George was mortally wounded and died within hours. Sources differ on the date of death as the 28th or 29th.
He didn’t have the opportunity to be officially mustered in as Lieutenant Colonel or have his photograph taken. However, his name is listed with his new rank, along with other officers, on the base of the Washington Grays statue shown above. The monument proudly stands in front of the Union League building on the corner of Sansom and South Broad Streets in Center City Philadelphia. His own monument is one of many majestic markers in the Circle of St. John at Mount Moriah.
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