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General George Thomas Stereoview  A view of General Thomas by noted
photographer J. Gurney & Son and marked as such on the back with the
date 1868.    $100

Thomas, George H., major-general, one of the ablest,
purest and most successful of the military chieftains of the
Civil war, was born in Southampton county, Va., July 31, 1816.  
His early opportunities of education were good and at the age
of twenty he had just entered upon the study of law when his
friends secured him an appointment as cadet at the military
academy at West Point.  He entered in 1836 and, after a
thorough and solid rather than a brilliant course, he
graduated in 1840, ranking twelfth in a class of 42 members
among whom were Sherman, Ewell, Jordan, Getty, Herbert, Van
Vliet and others who afterward attained celebrity.  Assigned
to duty on the day of graduation as second lieutenant in the
3d artillery, he served in the regular army for twenty years,
during which time he rendered honorable and faithful service
in the Florida war from 1840 to 1842; in command of various
forts and barracks from 1842 to 1845; in the military
occupation of Texas in 1845-46; in the Mexican war from 1846
to 1848 participating in nearly all its leading battles in the
Seminole war in 1849-50; as instructor in artillery and
cavalry at West Point from 1851 to 1854; on frontier duty at
various posts in the interior of California and Texas, leading
several expeditions against the Indians from 1855 to the
autumn of 1860.  During these twenty years he was repeatedly
brevetted for gallant and meritorious services, rising through
all the grades to a captain of artillery, and in 1855 was made
a major of the 2nd cavalry, which regiment he commanded for
three years.  He was wounded in a skirmish with the Indians at
the headwaters of the Brazos river in Aug., 1860, and the
following November went east on a leave of absence.  During
the winter of 1860-61 he watched with the most painful anxiety
the culmination of that conflict of opinion which preceded the
war.  Relinquishing his leave of absence he reported for duty
at Carlisle barracks, Pa., April 14,- the day when the flag
went down at Sumter-and less than 48 hours after the first
shot was fired.  On May 27 he led a brigade from Chambersburg
across Maryland to Williamsport, rode across the Potomac in
full uniform at the head of his brigade on June 16, to invade
Virginia and fight his old commanders; a few days afterward he
led the right wing of Gen. Patterson's army in the battle of
Falling Waters and defeated the Confederates under Stonewall
Jackson.  After serving through the brief campaign of the
Shenandoah Gen. Thomas entered upon that wider sphere of
action in which he was destined to win an undying reputation.  
At Gen. Robert Anderson's request Sherman and Thomas were made
brigadier-generals of volunteers and assigned to his command-
the Department of the Cumberland.  The first month's work that
Thomas performed in the department was at Camp Dick Robinson,
Ky. where he mustered into service eleven regiments and three
batteries of Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee troops,
which he organized into the first brigade, and which formed
the nucleus of the division, then of the corps and finally of
the great army which he afterward so long commanded.  He was
soon placed in command of the 1st division of the army and on
Dec. 31 was ordered to move against Zollicoffer, who commanded
a large force occupying the road leading from Cumberland gap
to Lexington, Ky.  In pursuance of this order Gen. Thomas
fought and won the battle of Mill Springs, which was by far
the most important military success that had yet been achieved
west of Virginia, and with the exception of the defeat of
Marshall near Prestonburg a few days before, it was the first
victory in the department.  In this battle Gen. Thomas laid
the foundation of his fame in the Army of the Center.  From
Nov. 30, 1861, to Sept. 30, 1862, he commanded a division of
Gen. Buell's army without intermission, except that during the
months of May and June he commanded the right wing of the Army
of the Tennessee and around Corinth.  On Sept. 30, 1862, he
was appointed second in command of the Army of the Ohio,
having previously refused the chief command, and served in
that capacity in the battle of Perryville and until
Oct. 30, 1862, when the old name of Department the Cumberland
was restored and Gen. Rosecrans assumed command.  That officer
reorganized the army into three distinct commands-right, left
and center-and assigned Thomas to the center, which consisted
of five divisions.  He held this command in the battle of
Stone's river and until Jan. 9, 1863, when the 14th army corps
was created by order of the war department, and Thomas
commanded it during the summer campaign in middle Tennessee
and the Chickamauga campaign.  On Sept. 27, 1864, after the
capture of Atlanta, he was ordered by Gen. Sherman to return
with a portion of his army into Tennessee and defend that
state against Hood's invasion.  Thus Thomas was confronted by
that veteran army which had so ably resisted Sherman on his
march to Atlanta, and had to meet it with an effective force
of about 40,000 infantry and 7,000 cavalry, having to remount
the latter, provide transportation, and almost to organize and
supply a new army.  Although severely checked by Schofield at
Franklin, Tenn., Hood gathered head and threatened Nashville.  
Then the government and country waited impatiently for Thomas
to attack, but be would not move until he was ready.  He
thought he "ought to be trusted to decide when the battle
should be fought," and to know better than any one hundreds of
miles away.  Grant called him "slow," Sherman commented on his
"provoking, obstinate delay," and Stanton, still actuated by
the partisan bitterness that had caused him to secure the
removal of two successful commanders, wrote to Grant: "This
looks like the McClellan and Rosecrans strategy of do nothing
and let the enemy raid the country." Urgent despatches and
orders rained in upon him, but he said they might remove him
if they liked and complained to one of his generals, "They are
treating me like a boy." An order removing him was actually
made on Dec. 9, but happily revoked.  On Dec. 13 Gen. Logan
was started for Nashville with orders to take the command on
his arrival if Thomas had not moved, and two days later Grant
himself set out thither.  On the road both received the great
news of the battle of Dec. 15.  Thomas had at length attacked,
driving the enemy eight miles, and Hood, "for the first and
only time, beheld a Confederate army abandon the field in
confusion."  On the next day Thomas completely redeemed his
promise to "ruin Hood," whose army was broken to pieces and
chased out of Tennessee.  But even here the victor was blamed
as dilatory in the pursuit, although the reward of his
splendid services could no longer be kept back.  When he
received his commission as major-general in the regular army
his friend and medical director, seeing that he was deeply
moved, said: "It is better late than never, Thomas." "It is
too late to be appreciated," he replied; "I earned this at
Chickamauga," and afterward, "I never received a promotion
they dared to withhold."  But the nation was by this time
ready to recognize Gen. Thomas' merits and to understand that
it was solely by his remarkable abilities, without the
influence of powerful friends, that he had attained a position
second to that of no officer of the army.  Honors and rewards
were pressed upon him, but with a simple dignity of character
he declined them all, satisfied with having done his duty.  
After the war he was placed in command successively of the
most important and difficult military departments, often under
circumstances of great responsibility and delicacy, but his
conduct gave general satisfaction.  Gen. Thomas' death was the
result of apoplexy and occurred in San Francisco, Cal., March
28, 1870.