George Cadwalader was born in Philadelphia on May 16, 1806, to a noted family. He studied law and was admitted to the bar; meanwhile he interested himself in the local militia organizations. In 1844, as brigadier general, he was instrumental in suppressing in Philadelphia the "anti-foreign" riots which erupted from the activities of the American or Know-Nothing party. At a critical moment, General Cadwalader was hung in effigy by anti-Catholics, who had already erected a gallows to hang him in corpore. Three years later he was commissioned a brigadier general of volunteers and distinguished himself in the Mexican War, receiving the brevet of major general for gallantry at Chapultepec. Cadwalader left the management of his large private interests in 1861. He was a major general of Pennsylvania troops in the early months of the war and on April 25, 1862, was commissioned a major general of United States Volunteers. In this capacity he served on boards of inquiry, in garrison commands, as advisor to the President and the Secretary of War, and on various military commissions. From August, 1863, until the end of the war General Cadwalader commanded the post at Philadelphia. With the end of hostilities, he resigned on July 5, 1865, and returned to private life. After the war he devoted himself to his private interests. General Cadwalader died at his home in Philadelphia on February 3, 1879, and was buried in the cemetery of Christ Church. As was the case with many of the contenders in the great struggle of the 1860's, Cadwalader had close family connections in the South; his wife Frances (Mease) was a granddaughter of United States Senator Pierce Butler of South Carolina.
Reference: Generals in Blue. Lives of the Union Commanders by Ezra J. Warner. Louisiana State University Press. Baton Rouge.