George Wright

George Wright was born in Norwich, Vermont, on October 21, 1801 or 1803 (both years are cited by various authorities). Stationed on the Pacific Coast for the duration of the Civil War, he is remembered as the general who had almost nothing to do with the conflict. He obtained his early education at Captain Partridge's Military School at Norwich (now Norwich University at Northfield, Vermont) and in 1818 was appointed to West Point, where he was graduated in 1822. Wright had a long and eminently distinguished record in the army, dating from his graduation. During many years on garrison and recruiting duty, he was brevetted major for service against the Florida Seminoles, lieutenant colonel for gallantry at Contreras and Churubusco in the Mexican War, and colonel for his services at Molino del Rey, where he was in charge of the assault on the Mexican works and was wounded. He became colonel of the 9th Infantry in 1855 after having been in garrison for several years at duty stations primarily on the Pacific Coast. So valuable were his services felt to be in California and the Pacific Northwest at the outbreak of civil war that he was promoted from command of the Department of Oregon to that of the Department of the Pacific, and on September 28, 1861, he was made a brigadier general of volunteers to comport with his command. He served throughout the Civil War in a department virtually stripped of troops, improvising "with sleepless vigilance, unflagging energy, and uncompromising patriotism" the means to sustain the authority of the United States government on the sparsely settled Pacific slope. On his way to assume command of the Department of the Columbia at the close of the war, General Wright lost his life in the wreck of the steamer Brother Jonathan, which broke up off the coast of northern California on July 30, 1865. His body was recovered six weeks later and was interred in the City Cemetery at Sacramento.

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