George Henry Chapman

 

George Henry Chapman was born in the village of Holland, Massachusetts, November 22, 1832. At the age of six he was taken to Indiana, where his father and uncle published newspapers, successively at Terre Haute and Indianapolis. Young Chapman attended the Marion County Seminary and in 1847 was appointed a midshipman in the navy. After three years' service he resigned and subsequently published a newspaper of his own, the Indiana Republican. Meanwhile he studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1857. He was appointed an assistant clerk to the House of Representatives in 1860, but resigned this post in October, 1861, to accept the majority of the 3rd Indiana Cavalry. Chapman was regularly promoted through grades: lieutenant colonel in 1862, colonel in 1863, brigadier general in 1864, and brevet major general in 1865. In the meantime he was uniformly lauded by all his superiors. He participated in the campaigns of Second Manassas, Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg (where his regiment in William Gamble's brigade of John Buford's division was the first to face the Confederates advancing along the road from Cashtown). In U. S. Grant's sledgehammer movement to Petersburg and in the Shenandoah Valley against the forces of the Confederate General Jubal Early, Chapman commanded first a brigade and then a division in the autumn and winter of 1864-65. Following the dispersal of the remnants of Early's little army at Waynesboro, March 2, 1865, the divisions of George A. Custer and Thomas C. Devin were selected by Philip Sheridan to accompany him to the Petersburg front. Chapman was left in the valley with a brigade of three small regiments and some artillery. His military career is obscure after this time. He resigned on January 7, 1866, to accept the judgeship of the Marion County (Indiana) Criminal Court, where he served five years. In the 1870's he was receiver for two different financially embarrassed railroads and in 1880 was elected to the Indiana state senate. He died near Indianapolis, June 16, 1882, and was buried in Crown Hill Cemetery.

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Reference:  Generals in Blue.  Lives of the Union Commanders by Ezra J. Warner.  Louisiana State University Press.  Baton Rouge.