Stannard, George Jerrison
Age: 40, credited to St. Albans, VTVITALS
Birth: 10/20/1820, Georgia, VTADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Alias?: None notedDESCENDANTS
Lakeview Cemetery, Burlington, VT
Check the cemetery for location/directions
and other veterans who may be buried there.
George J. Stannard
Brevet Major-General, United States Volunteers
by Christopher Dickson
While touring Gettysburg National Military Park, the visitor must travel the newly-paved one-way road up Hancock Avenue to reach the immortal Copse of Trees and the High Water Mark. Along this route, many folks stop at the magnificent Pennsylvania State Monument to behold the bronze figures of John Reynolds and Winfield Hancock. On the way back to their cars, the visitor may walk around this huge monument, counting the number of Pennsylvania regiments and batteries that were engaged in the battle. The road in front of the Pennsylvania Monument takes a slight jog on its way up Cemetery Ridge to the sight of the climax of the Battle of Gettysburg, what is commonly referred to as "Pickett's Charge." Just beyond this curve, however, on the right side of the road, are a line of statues which receive little notice from the average passersby. A few cars may stop on the way up Cemetery Ridge. Some cars slow--but mostly--the visitors gaze off to the left through a sturdy post and rail fence, trying to comprehend the idea of George Pickett's three Virginia brigades struggling past the Codori Farm toward the rocky slopes up Cemetery Ridge. What the visitors have missed back off to their right are the statues and battlefield markers of the Second Vermont Brigade. Central to this brigade line is the Vermont State Monument. Commemorating not only the men of the Second Vermont Brigade, the Vermont Monument is dedicated to all of Vermont's infantrymen, cavalrymen, artillerymen, and sharpshooters who fought at Gettysburg--it honors those Vermonters who answered the call "with thinking bayonets when rebellion threatened the nation's life." High atop the fifty-five foot Corinthian column of solid Vermont granite is the eleven-foot portrait statue of Brevet Major-General George Jerrison Stannard.
While describing the Stannard statue during the dedication of Vermont's battlefield monuments in 1889, one veteran Vermont colonel remembered his late commander:
. . . Vermont's great volunteer soldier, overlooking the field of his most brilliant achievement, with the same calm, but determined expression that was on his face when he saw the great charging column steadily moving down upon his little command, and when he seized, as with the inspiration of genius, the advantage which his position afforded; . . .
In July 1863, Brigadier-General Stannard commanded the Second Vermont Brigade, five regiments of nine-month troops who were within weeks of ending their terms of enlistment. Attached to the Army of the Potomac as the Third Brigade of the Third Division, First Corps, Stannard's Brigade consisted of the 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, and 16th Vermont Infantry Regiments. What is most notable about the Vermont Monument, is that General Stannard is depicted not as he appeared on the field at Gettysburg--but how he would have appeared in uniform over a year later, following the loss of his right arm at the Battle of Fort Harrison, or Chaffin's Farm, September 30, 1864.
A citizen-soldier in the fullest sense of the term, George Stannard was the first Vermonter to volunteer his services to his Flag and Country immediately following the surrender of Fort Sumter in April 1861. It was General Stannard, who, above all others, was chosen to represent the State of Vermont because he was considered
. . . one of the most able and brilliant military officers which our country has produced. He conceived and executed with the troops of his own command the decisive movement of the decisive moment in the great battle of Gettysburg, universally admitted to have been the turning point in the struggle for the preservation of the Union, and a contest of arms which in generalship, bravery, and glory, in the consequences involved, and in everything which contributes to historical interest was inferior to no other in the annals of the race.
That the General should have been portrayed with his uniform sleeve pinned to his right shoulder was meant to honor the sacrifice that not only he--but all Vermonters--made in the performance of their full duty during the four years of The War of the Rebellion. Following the surrender at Appomattox, General Stannard continued to serve with the Army's Department of the East. For five short months in the early part of 1866, he served under his former brigade commander, Oliver O. Howard, at the Freedman's Bureau. Shortly thereafter,
[h]aving suffered in estate by leaving a prosperous business for his country's service at the opening of the war, and in person by the loss of an arm; having served through the war with high credit, and having a character for integrity beyond reproach, Gen. Stannard was pre-eminently of the class deserving to be remembered in the awards of civil office. Accordingly, he received, upon retirement from the army, the appointment of Collector of Customs for the District of Vermont, . . .
Before the war, George Stannard was known as a man of "extraordinarily fine physique." Upon his return from national service, however, after suffering through a number of battle wounds and the loss of his right arm, the General's friends noticed his "broken constitution" and "weak health." His deteriorating physical condition rendered him incapable of "constant or active labor," thereby precluding the General's return to his busy pre-war activities. Although not a large man, George Stannard stood five feet, eight inches tall. Near the end of his life, however, one of his doctors reported that he weighed only 129 pounds. Serving as the doorkeeper of the U. S. House of Representatives in Washington, D. C., General Stannard contracted pneumonia, and in a very short period of time, passed away.
General Stannard died at Washington, D. C., June 1, 1886, in consequence of wounds received in line of duty, and debility of physical constitution the result of those wounds and of hardship and exposure in the service. His last sickness was brief, commencing with an ordinary cold, which, fastening on a body worn out and exhausted with sufferings prolonged through the long period elapsing since his discharge from the service, terminated his valuable life with hardly an effort of nature to resist the attack of what otherwise would have been a trifling malady.
October 9, 1889 was "Vermont Day" in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Scores of Vermonters traveled in thirteen rail cars to Gettysburg for the dedication of Vermont's battlefield monuments. Among the citizens who gathered for this memorable occasion were Governor Dillingham; U. S. Senator Redfield Proctor, former commander of the 15th Vermont, whose regiment was detailed to guard the First Corps trains during the battle; Judge Wheelock Graves Veazey, former commander of the 16th Vermont; General Edward Ripley, who was captured with then-Colonel Stannard of the 9th Vermont at Harper's Ferry in September 1862, and who later served with the General at Fort Harrison. Among others present were Medal of Honor awardees, George W. Hooker and George G. Benedict, both formerly members of General Stannard's staff while on the field at Gettysburg. Lastly, also attending the ceremony were the General's two surviving daughters, Mrs. W. L. Stone and Miss Katharine Stannard.
The statue of General Stannard was designed by the Hartford, Connecticut sculptor Karl Gerhardt, who had also executed the statue of General Warren on Little Round Top. The proposed design was "shown to Mrs. Stannard and her daughters, who pronounced it an excellent portrait." Colonel Wheelock Veazey, whose service with Stannard's Brigade at Gettysburg not only earned him the Medal of Honor, but who also was then serving on the Gettysburg Battlefield Memorial Association, recalled that long-ago Friday afternoon in July 1863. Noting that both Generals Hancock and Stannard were wounded only yards away from where the monument was being dedicated, Wheelock Veazey continued his address:
It was here that the Second Vermont [B]rigade stood in what turned out to be the pivotal point of the battle, several rods to the front of the general battle line, and in the gap between Pickett and Wilcox, and swung first to the right and charged into the flank of Pickett's division, and then swung back to the left and charged into the flank of Wilcox. It was in this last movement by the sturdy sons of Vermont that the final desperate onset of the enemy in this momentous battle was crushed . . . that the descendants of Allen and Warner and the other heroes who held our mountain fastnesses in the stormy days of the revolution, made on this field one of the grandest pages of American history . . .
Stannard Memorial Plaque
Vermont State Capitol
One of the most memorable features of the State Capitol in Montpelier is the renowned Civil War artist Julian Scott's magnificent mural-sized painting of the Battle of Cedar Creek. Young Scott, as a drummer in the Third Vermont Infantry of the "Old First" Vermont Brigade, was awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroism during the Battle of Lee's Mills on April 16, 1862. Behind "The Cedar Creek Room" is a sitting room for some government offices. To the back of that room is a ramp leading to the cafeteria. On the wall halfway up this ramp, barely noticeable from several feet away, is a plaque honoring General Stannard.
Photo Courtesy of the Vermont State Curator's Office
GEORGE JERRISON STANNARD
Major Gen. United States Vols.
Born in Georgia, VT Oct. 20 1820
Died at Washington DC, June 1 1886
First Volunteer from Vermont in the War For The Union April 14 1861
Lieut. Col. 2nd Vermont Inf. June 6 1861
Col. 9th Vermont Inf. May 12 1862
Appointed Brigadier Gen. Vols. March 11 1863
For Bravery and Distinguished Valor at Harper's Ferry, Va.
Brevetted Major Gen. Vols. Oct. 28 1864
For Capture of Fort Harrison Sept. 29 1864
And Defeat of the Enemy's Utmost Efforts to Retake It
The Following Day When He Lost His Right Arm
Mustered Out June 28 1866
As Lieut. Col. Present in Action at Bull Run
Yorktown Golding's Farm Lee's Mills and Williamsburg
As Col. at Winchester and Harper's Ferry
As Brigade And Division Commander at Gettysburg
Drewry's Bluff Petersburg Chapin's Farm Bermuda Hundred
Cold Harbor The Mine and Fort Harrison
At Gettysburg July 3 1863 While Commanding 2nd Vermont Brigade
In the Crisis of the Battle He made a flank Attack Which Decided
The Fate of Pickett's Charge and CHanged a Doubtful Struggle
Into a Decisive Victory and was Severely Wounded
At Cold Harbor June 3 1864
He Commanded 1st Brigade 2nd Division 18th Corps
And Was Twice Wounded
In These and Other Battles He Displayed Intrepid Courage
Clear Insight and Genius of Command
A Gallant Truthful Unselfish Patriot His Fame In
The Priceless Inheritance Of His Native State.
General Stannard's Wounds and Medical Condition
[Record of surgeon's examination of General George J. Stannard, at Burlington, Vt., September 15, 1880.]
The stump is in good condition. There has occurred atrophy of attached muscles; a cicatrix 3 by 2 inches upon the right thigh, involving loss of muscular and aereola tissue and constraint in muscular action from cicatricial contraction; rated one-eight degree; also cicatrix of gunshot wound in the middle of left thigh, causing, from loss of tissue and injury to nerve, impairment of strength and constraint in movement; rated one-eighth degree. Wound of hand involves the middle finger, causing enlargement and anchylosis of the second joint; rated one-eighth degree.
There is also chronic inflammation of right testicle, caused by alleged injury from being thrown upon the saddle in riding, while in United States service. There is enlargement, pain, and tenderness in organ; rated one-eighth degree. No hemorrhoidal tumors are found. Rheumatic pain in knees and hips is likely due to age and the climate.
We find his disability, as described above, to be equal to and entitling him to $30 for loss of arm, and four-eighths ($15) for other disabilities, in all $45 per month.
H. H. ATWATER
H. H. LANGDON
William B. LUND
Board of Examining Surgeons
General Stannard's wound, from a piece of shell, in the right leg just above the knee, at the battle of Gettysburg, has given him a great deal of pain and suffering. It has broken out--a running sore--three times since that battle, the last being within three years. His two wounds, at the battle of Cold Harbor, one in the thigh and one above the ankle, have caused partial paralysis of his left leg. He was also twice wounded in front of Petersburg, once in the left hand, from which a stiff finger resulted. He was also injured, on horseback, in the right testicle, which has developed into a dropsical condition, requiring tapping, which has been done seven or eight times. The general has also suffered from the piles every year, more or less.
His last sickness was brief, commencing with an ordinary cold, which, when fastening upon a body worn out and exhausted with sufferings prolonged through the long period elapsing since his discharge from the service, terminated his valuable life with hardly an effort of nature to resist the attack of what otherwise would have been a trifling malady.
For the last eight or ten years [I] have been his family physician, and treated the general professionally, more or less during those years when he was at home in this city. During my treatment, at times I found him suffering from numbness, at others from dizziness, and from neuralgia. At times I found him suffering from nervous attacks at night and having so severe pain in the stump of this arm, I often made hot applications of flannel to relieve him. He had more or less neuralgia in the stump of his arm during the entire period he was under my professional care, which gradually extended to other parts of the body. In my opinion, condition of his nervous system was due to the reflex irritation from the stump of right arm. The breaking down of his vital forces was quite marked of late, and in my opinion his death was hastened by his impaired physical condition.
[Dr.] LEROY M. BINGHAM
AUTHOR'S NOTE (Based on Doctor's notes in Pension File):
(1) Received gunshot wound or shrapnel wound in right leg at Gettysburg, July 3, 1863.
(2) Received two gunshot wounds to left leg on June 3, 1864 at Cold Harbor. Received gunshot wound to finger sometime in July 1864 at Petersburg.
(3) Received gunshot wound to right arm (with subsequent amputation at Eighteenth Corps Hospital that night) at Fort Harrison on September 30, 1864. At or near the time of his death (aged 59), General Stannard was 5' 8" tall, weighed 129 lbs., respiration was 18, with a pulse of 80.
Check Out The
General Stannard House
Biography From the Revised Roster
Vermont had no better soldier or more gallant fighter than George J. Stannard, who was the first citizen of his State to volunteer as a soldier in the war of the Rebellion, having tendered his services to Governor Fairbanks, April 15, 1861. He was mustered into the service of the United States at Burlington, June 21, 1861, as Lieutenant-Colonel of the Second Vermont Infantry Volunteers. Commissioned Colonel of the Ninth Vermont Infantry Volunteers, May 21, 1862. Appointed Brigadier-General U. S. Volunteers March 11, 1863, for bravery and distinguished valor at Harper's Ferry, Va., Commissioned Brevet Major-General U. S. Volunteers, to date from October 28, 1864, for gallant and meritorious services in the attack upon the enemy's works at Fort Harrison, Va., Sept. 29 and 30, 1864. Resigned from the United States service June 28, 1866. As Lieutenant-Colonel of the Second Vermont, he took part in the following battles: 1st Bull Run (Manassas), Yorktown, Golding's Farm, Lee's Mill (Dam No. 1) and Williamsburg.
As Colonel of the Ninth Vermont he was present at Winchester and Harper's Ferry.
As brigade and Division Command he was present at the following: Gettysburg, Drewry's Bluff, Petersburg, Chapin's Farm, Bermuda Hundred, Cold Harbor, The Mine and Fort Harrison.
As Lieutenant-Colonel of the Second Vermont, General Stannard served in the Peninsula campaign until ordered to Vermont to organize the Ninth Regiment, which was at that time in camp at Brattleboro. He commanded this regiment as Colonel at Winchester and Harper's Ferry, Va., where his troops with others under the command of Col. Miles, of the U. S. Army, were basely surrendered. Upon being paroled, Colonel Stannard took his command to Chicago, Ill., and was placed in charge of several regiments at Camp Tyler, and later at Camp Douglass. He was promoted to the rank of Brigadier-General for bravery and distinguished valor at Harper's Ferry, and assigned to the command of the Second Vermont Brigade, then on duty near Fairfax Court House.
In the Gettysburg campaign, Gen. Stannard's brigade (composed of the 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, and 16th Vermont Volunteers,) was the Third Brigade, Third Division, I Corps. On the afternoon of July 3, 1863, Gen. Stannard distinguished himself and his brigade by an attack upon Pickett's flank, at which time he was severely wounded. Upon the muster out of this brigade, he was ordered to command of the defences in New York harbor, which duty he performed until assigned to a brigade in the X Corps in the spring of 1864. Later he was transferred to the command of the First Brigade, Second Division, XVIII Corps, Gen. "Baldy" Smith commanding, and was present with it at Cold Harbor, where he was wounded. On the 14th of June, he led the advance of the XVIII Corps on Petersburg, with his brigade. He was ordered to the command of the First Division, XVIII Corps, while in front of Petersburg, a part of his line being within one hundred yards of the enemy's fortifications. Here he was again wounded, and those received at Cold Harbor, that he was given a leave of absence, from which he returned in time to head the advance of the Tenth and XVIII Corps to the north of the James River, on the 29th of September, 1864, which resulting in the storming of Fort Harrison. The next day Gen. Lee, in person, assaulted Fort Harrison, with Hoke's and Field's Division, Longstreet's Corps, but was unable to dislodge Stannard's Division. The fighting was terrible, and near the close of the engagement Gen. Stannard received a bullet which shattered his right arm, necessitating amputation near the shoulder. He was again sent home, and upon recovery, was placed in command of the Northern frontier, with headquarters at St. Albans. This was in December, 1864, shortly after the rebel raid for Canada into that town. He continued on duty in the Department of the East until February, 1866, when he was ordered to report to Maj.-Gen. O. O. Howard, U. S. Vols., and was assigned service in the Freedman's Bureau at Baltimore, Md., June 27, 1866. Gen. Stannard died at Washington, D. C., June 1, 1886, and is buried in Lake View Cemetery, at Burlington, where the State of Vermont and his comrades-in-arms have erected a monument to his memory, upon which the following words are inscribed.
In honor of General George Jerrison Stannard, whose mortal part rests beneath this stone. Born in Georgia, Vermont, October 20, 1820. Died at Washington, D. C., June 1, 1886. Volunteered for the war April 14, 1861. Lieut.-Col. 2d Vt. Vols., June 6, 1861, Col. 9th Vt. Vols., May 21, 1862. Brig.-Gen. of Vols., March 11, 1863. Bvt. Maj.-Gen. of Vols. Oct. 2, 1864. Mustered out June 28, 1866. At Gettysburg, July 3, 1863, commanding the Second Vermont Brigade in crises of the battle he made the flank attack which decided the fate of Pickett's charge and changed a doubtful struggle into victory. At Cold Harbor, June 3, 1864, he commanded the First Brigade, Second Division, XVIII Corps, and was twice wounded. September 29, 1864, commanding the First Division, XVIII Corps, he stormed Fort Harrison, in front of Richmond, and held the work against the enemy's utmost efforts to retake it the following day, losing his arm. In these and other battles he distinguished himself by his cool courage, clear insight, and genius of command; gallant, truthful, unselfish, patriotic, his fame is cherished as a priceless inheritance by his comrades and fellow citizens who have joined the States of Vermont in erecting this memorial.
"Sleep soldier sleep. Thy Battles all are O'er."
A heroic bronze status of General Stannard surmounts the State Monument at Gettysburg, which faces the field upon which he and his brigade performed such gallant service.
Stannard Monument, east of Route 7, Georgia, Vermont.
Photo courtesy of Kathy Valloch
Sources: Revised Roster, pp. 748-749Check out this soldier's correspondence in the "William Wirt Henry" Correspondence" Collection at the UVM Libraries Center for Digital Initiatives "Vermonters in the Civil War" Collection