Brevet Major General George Jerrison Stannard

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“In June 1861, Stannard was elected lieutenant colonel of the 2nd Vermont Volunteer Infantry. Some local residents claimed that he was the first Vermonter to volunteer for duty in the Civil War, based on his immediate reply by telegram to the governor’s first call for troops. He fought with the 2nd Vermont at the First Battle of Bull Run in July 1861, successfully enough that he was offered command of the newly forming 3rd Vermont, but he turned it down because he thought he had not served long enough to qualify. During the Battle of Williamsburg in the Peninsula Campaign the following year, Brig. Gen. Winfield S. Hancock’s report indicated that Stannard was responsible for securing a bridge that was crucial to the battle. A week after the campaign, on July 9, 1862, he was appointed colonel of the 9th Vermont Infantry.

Upon his exchange in January 1863, Stannard returned to Vermont. He was appointed brigadier general on March 11, 1863, and given command of the 2nd Vermont Brigade in April, joining it in its camps in the defenses of Washington, D.C. The brigade consisted of the 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, and 16th Vermont Infantry regiments. Stannard’s immediate predecessor had been Brig. Gen. Edwin H. Stoughton, who had been captured in his bed at Fairfax Court House during a raid by partisan ranger Col. John S. Mosby. Stannard drilled his new brigade strenuously and his “quiet but effective”[6] command style made him well respected by the men and significantly improved morale in the Brigade.


During the Gettysburg Campaign, the 2nd Vermont Brigade was one of four brigades sent from the Capital to join the Army of the Potomac as it pursued Robert E. Lee into Pennsylvania. Stannard’s command left the Washington defenses on June 25. Marching 18 miles a day for a week, the brigade reported to the 3rd Division of the I Corps. The I Corps had fought, and lost, heavily in the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg, July 1, 1863. Three regiments of Stannard’s men arrived only after the fighting ceased that day, adding to the division’s depleted ranks. (The other two regiments, the 12th and 15th Vermont, had been detached to guard wagon trains.)

The brigade’s greatest fight, however, was on July 3, where it was one of the principal defenders against Pickett’s Charge. The Vermonters lost men to sharpshooter fire and to the bombardment preceding the Confederate attack. As the assault approached Cemetery Ridge, Stannard swung two of his regiments (the 13th and 16th Vermont) out at a 90° angle, pouring deadly flanking fire into Brig. Gen. James L. Kemper’s brigade, one of the critical factors that defeated the Confederate attack. Minutes later, the unconnected assaults by the Confederate brigades of Brig. Gen. Cadmus M. Wilcox and Col. David Lang approached the Union line to the south of the Vermont Brigade. Stannard once again wheeled two regiments (the 14th and 16th Vermont) and repeated his tactic of flanking fire to repulse the assault. Stannard was wounded in his right thigh by an artillery shell fragment, but stayed on the field until the end of the battle. Col. Randall commanded the brigade until it was mustered out of service.[8]

His division led the attack on Fort Harrison. Stannard was again wounded holding the captured fort against a Confederate counterattack, requiring the amputation of his right arm. He received a brevet promotion to major general for his actions during the assault on Fort Harrison.”-Wikipedia

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