George Washington Getty

George Washington Getty was born in Georgetown, D. C, October 2, 1819. He was appointed to the Military Academy at the age of sixteen and for the next forty-eight years made his career in the army. The class of 1840's forty-two graduates, in which Getty stood fifteenth, numbered such figures as W. T. Sherman and George H. Thomas of the Union and Richard S. Ewell, John P. McCown, Bush-rod R. Johnson, J. G. Martin, William Steele, and Thomas Jordan of the Confederacy. Getty was brevetted for gallantry in the Mexican War, where he campaigned in Winfield Scott's army as an artillery lieutenant; he fought against the Florida Seminoles in 1849-50 and again in 1856-57. At the beginning of the Civil War he was a captain of the 4th Artillery. In September, 1861, Getty was appointed lieutenant colonel and additional aide-de-camp in the volunteer service and commanded four batteries in the Peninsular campaign of 1862. He also fought at South Mountain and Sharpsburg during the Confederate invasion of Maryland, acting as chief of artillery of Ambrose E. Burnside's IX Corps. He was promoted to brigadier general of volunteers to rank from September 25, 1862, and at Fredericksburg commanded the 3rd Division of the IX Corps. In March, 1863, the division was sent to Suffolk, where the Federal army under John A. Dix successfully resisted James Longstreet's investment of the town, which guarded the southern approaches to Norfolk and Hampton Roads. After some subsequent engineering duty and command of a diversion to the South Anna River during the Gettysburg campaign, Getty served as acting inspector general of the Army of the Potomac in early 1864 and was then assigned a division of the VI Corps, which he lead at the Wilderness (where he was severely wounded), at the siege of Petersburg, and in Philip Sheridan's Shenandoah Valley campaign. His division made the initial breakthrough at Petersburg on April 2, 1865, and took part in the final campaign which terminated in the surrender of Robert E. Lee at Appomattox. He was brevetted a major general of volunteers in August, 1864, and in the regular service in March, 1865. Appointed colonel of the 38th Infantry in 1866, General Getty transferred to the 3rd Artillery in 1871, commanded the artillery school at Fort Monroe for six years, and was a member of the board which exonerated General Fitz John Porter in 1879. After retirement in 1883 he lived on a farm at Forest Glen, Maryland, where he died on October 1, 1901. He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Previous Page

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