George Webb Morell

George Webb Morell was born in Cooperstown, New York, on January 8, 1815. His grandfather, on his mother's side, was a general officer of the Revolution; his father was a major general in the New York State militia and at the time of his death was chief justice of the Michigan supreme court. George was graduated from the Military Academy, ranking first in the fifty-six member class of 1835. After two years in the Corps of Engineers he resigned (June 30, 1837) to engage in railroad construction, but in 1840 moved to New York City to study law. He was admitted to the bar in 1842 and practiced law until the outbreak of the Civil War with a brief interlude during the Mexican War when he was commissioned major of a regiment which was not mustered. In the early part of 1861 Morell served as colonel and quartermaster on the staff of the major general commanding the New York militia, organizing and forwarding regiments to the theater of war. He subsequently served in the defenses of Washington and on August 9, 1861, was made a brigadier general of volunteers. He commanded a brigade of Porter's division of the V Corps during the early part of the Peninsular campaign, and when Fitz John Porter succeeded to command of the corps in May, 1862, Morell advanced to divisional command. He fought gallantly and skillfully in the battles of the Seven Days, was with Porter at Second Manassas and Sharpsburg, and on July 25, 1862, was promoted to major general to rank from July 4. The court-martial of Porter for alleged dereliction at Second Manassas also destroyed Morell's career. It has been said that Porter was ruined by his devotion to McClellan, it could as well be said that Morell was ruined by his devotion to Porter—or at least, his devotion to principle. His testimony was to say the least inimical to the interests of the cabal dedicated to the downfall of Porter, and after Sharpsburg Morell saw no further field service. He commanded the defenses of the upper Potomac for a time, was awaiting orders for several months in 1863, and then had charge of the draft rendezvous at Indianapolis until he was mustered out of service on December 15, 1864. He then engaged in farming at Scarborough, New York, until his death there on February 11, 1883. He is buried under the chancel of St. Mary's Episcopal Church where for five years he conducted the services in the absence of a rector.

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