US GenWeb

This biography is from HEROES OF ALBANY, by Rufus W. Clark, D. D.

Pvt. George B. Wolcott

George B. Wolcott, private in the Forty-fourth Regiment, Company E., New York State Volunteers, was born at Penn Yan, Yates county, New York, August 31, 1848. He was the son of Chauncy and Ann Wolcott. In childhood and youth he was an obedient and dutiful son, and a kind and loving brother. From earliest youth, he was always of a religious turn of mind; loving his Sabbath school, and taking an active part in it, and shunning evils of every description.

At the age of twelve, his mother died, and her last words to George were: "Be a good boy and meet me in heaven." George loved his mother with an untiring love, and these words had a lasting effect upon him. From that time he sought the Lord, and, through Jesus Christ, obtained pardon. He advanced rapidly in the divine life, and in love to his God and Saviour. At the age of fifteen, he united with the Wesleyan Methodist Church of Penn Yan, and maintained a Christian character without spot or blemish. He always took an active part in the duties of the church.

He had attended the Normal School one year, when he enlisted at Albany, August 20, 1862. He was a sincere and enthusiastic patriot, and discharged his duties, both in camp and field, with marked efficiency and fidelity. At the battle of Gettysburg, while aiding in repelling an attack upon the extreme left of our line, and while in the act of dropping a bullet into his musket, a ball from the enemy pierced his hand, entered his forehead and killed him instantly. He was buried beside his comrades who fell at the same time and place, a short distance from where he was killed.

We regret that we have not more full information of this noble youth, but an account of the company with which he was connected cannot fail to interest our reader.

When, in July, 1862, the Union forces were defeated in the "seven day's battle" before Richmond, and there came up from the Capital of the nation a new call for men—soldiers to drive back the rebellious invaders—the young men of the State Normal School felt that it was time for them to shoulder their muskets, and do what they could to save the land they loved, and preserve the institutions for which their fathers fought. Professors Kimball and Husted, of the faculty, volunteered to go with, and lead them. With the students and graduates of the school as a nucleus, they commenced recruiting, and, on the 25th of September, found themselves one hundred true, brave, earnest men, "mustered into the service of the United States for three years or the war." Desirous of, at once, making themselves useful in the field, they were soon attached to the Forty-fourth New York Volunteers, then one year in the service, and were afterwards known as Company E of that regiment, joining it October 23d, at Antietam Ford, Maryland.

The company, as an organization, participated in all the battles of the Army of the Potomac, during the two years from October, 1862, till October, 1864, including the terrible struggles of Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, the Wilderness, Spottsylvania, and the siege of Petersburg.

The regiment's term of service having expired, and but ten of the company being "present for duty," this remnant was consolidated with the One Hundred and Fortieth New York Volunteers, and fought with it in the closing campaign, and were mustered out in June, 1865. Of the original officers, Captain R. G. Kimball resigned, on Surgeon's certificate of disability, April 16, 1866. Lieutenant A. N. Husted served with the company during its connection with the Forty-fourth, was promoted to Captain, and was honorably discharged when his men were transferred to the One Hundred and Fortieth, in October, 1864. Lieutenant Wm. Kidd resigned January 29, 1863, to accept a commission in a cavalry regiment.

Of the one hundred men, sixteen died of wounds received in battle; eight died of disease; twenty received wounds which did not prove fatal; seven were commissioned in the United States colored troops, five of them as Captains; seven received commissions in New York Volunteer Regiments; twelve were discharged because of physical disability; nine were transferred to the Invalid Corps, and three to the Signal Corps. Two of the members, Robert B. Darling and George B. Wolcott, were killed, by being shot through the head, the latter at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, July 2, 1863, and the former at Pctersburg, Virginia, June 18, 1864.

After George's death, his Captain wrote to a friend that George was not only a good soldier for his country, but, also, a good soldier of the Cross. On the morning of the fatal day that he fell, he found him engaged in earnest prayer to God. In an hour from that time, he was lying dead upon the field.

Send comments or suggestions to:
Debby Masterson

Go Back to Albany County Biographies
Go Back to Home Page