George Stoneman

George Stoneman was born in the western New York hamlet of Busti on August 22, 1822. After attending nearby Jamestown Academy he procured an appointment to the Military Academy and was graduated there in 1846. (Two of his classmates were George B. McClellan and Stonewall Jackson.) Although commissioned into the 1st Dragoons, he was detailed as quartermaster of the celebrated "Mormon Battalion" which marched from Leavenworth, Kansas, to San Diego during the Mexican War. He then served on the southwestern frontier until the opening of the Civil War, at which time he was third ranking captain of the 2nd (later 5th) Cavalry. He was immediately promoted to major and, after serving on George B. McClellan's staff in West Virginia, was made chief of cavalry of the Army of the Potomac when McClellan took over its command, receiving the rank of brigadier general of volunteers from August 13, 1861. He was advanced to major general on March 16, 1863, to rank from November 29, 1862. Meantime, after the Peninsular campaign of 1862 Stoneman commanded the 1st Division of the III Corps and at the battle of Fredericksburg, the corps itself. When Joseph Hooker took command of the Army of the Potomac prior to the campaign of Chancellorsville, Stoneman was again installed as chief of cavalry. With most of the entire Cavalry Corps of over ten thousand men, he was sent to operate in Robert E. Lee's rear while the infantry attacked in front. "Stoneman's Raid" as it was called caused great consternation in Richmond, but effected nothing concrete and deprived Hooker of his mounted arm when he could have put it to good use. Stoneman was replaced by Alfred Pleasonton after the battle, served as chief of the cavalry bureau in Washington for a time, and the following winter commanded the XXIII Corps in the West. During the Atlanta campaign he directed the Cavalry Corps of the Army of the Ohio until he was captured on July 31, 1864, while on a raid designed to free the prisoners at Andersonville. After his exchange in October he operated in southwestern Virginia, East Tennessee, and North Carolina in cooperation with W. T. Sherman's advancing armies. He was brevetted major general, U. S. Army, appointed colonel of the 21st Infantry in 1866, and commanded the Department of Arizona until he was retired for disability in 1871. Stoneman then settled on an estate which he owned in the heart of present-day San Marino, California. He served as railroad commissioner of California and in 1882 was elected governor of the state for a four-year term. He died in Buffalo, New York, on September 5, 1894, and was buried in Lakewood, New York, a few miles from his birthplace.

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