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George Henry Thomas, born in Southampton County, Va., 31 July 1816, graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 1840 and was breveted a First Lieutenant for gallantry in the Seminole War. Later he taught at West Point, and served with distinction under Taylor in the Mexican War. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Thomas, then a Colonel, chose to stay with the Union and took command of a brigade in the Shenandoah Valley. He became Brigadier General of Volunteers 3 August 1861, and was given command of a division in the Army of the Ohio. When the army was reorganized as the Army of the Cumberland, Thomas was given command of the XIV Corps, and at the Battle of Chickamauga in September 1863 earned his famous nickname "The Rock of Chickamauga." Taking overall command of the Army of the Cumberland, he then fought successfully at Chattanooga, Lookout Mountain, and Missionary Ridge. Sent to oppose Hood's invasion of Tennessee in late 1864, he achieved perhaps his greatest success at the Battle of Nashville 15 to 16 December and was promoted to Major General 15 December 1864. General Thomas assumed command of the Military Division of the Pacific in June 1869, and died in San Francisco 28 March 1870.
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