top of page
Maj. Gen. George Henry Thomas




Born: July 31, 1816

Newsom's Depot, Virginia

Died: March 28, 1870

San Francisco, California


1840: West Point Graduate

1840: 2nd Lieutenant

Nov. 6, 1841: Brevet 1st Lieutenant

December 24, 1853: Captain

May 12, 1855: Major

April 25, 1861: Lieutenant Colonel

August 17, 1862: Brigadier General of Volunteers

April 25, 1862: Major General

Maj. Gen. George Henry Thomas

1840: Graduated West Point - 12th out of 40 - Appointed 2nd Lieutenant in Company D, 3rd U.S. Artillery - Assigned to Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Seminole Wars: His troops performed infantry duty

November 6, 1841: Brevet 1st Lieutenant

1842-1845: Served in posts at New Orleans, Fort Moultrie in Charleston Harbor, and Fort McHenry in Baltimore

1845: Regiment ordered to Texas due to Mexican/American War

May 3-7, 1846: Siege of Fort Texas

May 9, 1846: Battle of Resaca de la Palma

September 21-23, 1846: Battle of Monterry

February 22/23, 1847: Battle of Buena Vista

Reassigned to Florida in 1849-1850

1851: Returned to West Point as a cavalry and artillery instructor. Developed a professional  and personal relationship with the superintendent, Lieut. Col. Robert E. Lee

December 24, 1853: Promoted to Captain

Spring 1854: Thomas's artillery regiment was transferred to California and led two companies through the Isthmus of Panama to San Francisco

May 12, 1855: Promoted to Major of the 2nd U.S. Cavalry by Jefferson Davis

August 26, 1860: Wounded by an arrow passing through the flesh near his chin and sticking into his chest at Clear Fort, Brazos River, Texas. Thomas pulled the arrow out, the surgeon dressed his wound and he continued to lead the expedition. This was his only combat wound.

November 1860: Requested a one year leave of absence. In Lynchburg, Virginia, fell from the train platform and injured his back. The pain effective him for the rest of his life.

At the outbreak of the war, 19 out of 36 officers in the 2nd U.S. Cavalry resigned including three of Thomas's superiors, Albert Sidney Johnston, Robert E. Lee and William J. Hardee.

Although from Virginia , Thomas selected to stay with the Union

Although considered a traitor by his fellow Virginia officers, he won the affection of the Union soldiers who affectionately called him "Pap Thomas"

April 25, 1861: Promoted to Lieutenant Colonel

August 17, 1861: Promoted to Brigadier General

Bull Run Campaign - August 1861: Commanded a brigade under Maj. Gen. Robert Patterson in the Shenandoah Valley

January 19, 1862: Battle of Mills Springs - defeated Brig. Gens. Crittenden and Zollicoffer gaining the first important Union victory in the war breaking Confederate strength in Eastern Kentucky

December 2, 1862: Assigned to 1st Division of Maj. Gen. Buell's Army of the Ohio

April 7, 1862: 2nd Day of Shiloh, but arrived to after the fighting ceased

April 25, 1862: Promoted to Major General and given command of the Right Wing which consisted of 4 division of Grant's army

October 8, 1862: Battle of Perryville

31 December 1862 - 2 January 1863: Battle of Stone's River

June 22 - July 3, 1863 Tullahoma Campaign

September 19, 1863: Battle of Chickamauga

November 23-25, 1863: Succeeded Rosecrans in the Army of the Cumberland shortly before the Battle of Chattanooga. This was a stunning victory for the Union which was highlighted by Thomas's troops storming the Confederates on Missionary Ridge

Spring 1864: Thomas staff did the logistics and engineering for Sherman's entire army group

July 20, 1864: Severely damaged Lieut. Gen. John B. Hoods army in its first attempt to break the siege of Atlanta

Autumn 1864: After menacing Sherman's long lines of communication, Hood was hoping Sherman would follow him, Sherman embarked for the sea

Thomas followed Hood into Tennessee

18 September 1864 - 10 January 1865: Franklin-Nashville Campaign

November 30, 1864: Battle of Franklin: A large part of Thomas's command under Maj. Gen. John M. Schofield defeated Hood long to cover the concentration of forces in Nashville

December 15, 1864: Battle of Nashville - effectively destroying Hood's command in two days of fighting

After the Civil War, Thomas commanded the Department of the Cumberland in Kentucky and Tennessee. At times, it included West Virginia, and parts of Georgia, Mississippi and Alabama

Pres. Andrew Johnson offered Thomas the rank of Lieut. Gen., but he requested the Senate to withdraw his nomination

1869: Requested assignment to command Military Division of the Pacific with headquarters at the Presidio of San Fransisco

March 28, 1870: Passed away due to a stroke

Boatner, Mark M. III. The Civil War Dictionary. New York: McKay Co., 1967 p 336

George Henry Thomas. 22 October 2020. web. 13 November 2020.

Warner, Ezra J. Commanders in Blue Lives of the Union Commanders. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State, 1964. p 500-502

bottom of page