George W. Getty

George W. Getty

George Washington Getty (October 2, 1819 – October 1, 1901) was a career military officer in the United States Army, most noted for his role as a division commander in the Army of the Potomac during the final full year of the American Civil War.

Early Life

G. W. Getty was born in Georgetown, Washington, D.C. He was appointed to the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, at the age of 16, and graduated 15th out of 42 graduates in the Class of 1840. Among his classmates were future Civil War generals William T. Sherman and George H. Thomas of the Union Army and Richard S. Ewell and Bushrod R. Johnson of the Confederate States Army. He was assigned to the artillery as a second lieutenant. During the Mexican-American War, he campaigned with Winfield Scott's army and was brevetted for gallantry. He fought against the Seminole Indians in Florida in the last two Seminole Wars, seeing action in 1849–50 and again in 1856–57.

Civil War

At the beginning of the Civil War, Getty was Captain of the 4th U.S. Artillery. In September 1861, he was appointed lieutenant colonel. He commanded four batteries in George B. McClellan's 1862 Peninsular Campaign. Named Chief of Artillery of Ambrose Burnside's IX Corps, he served at the battles of South Mountain and Antietam during the Maryland Campaign. Shortly afterwards, Getty was promoted to the rank of brigadier general of volunteers and assigned to the infantry. During the Battle of Fredericksburg in December, he commanded the 3rd Division of IX Corps. In March 1863, Getty's division was sent to Suffolk, Virginia, where the Federal Army under John A. Dix successfully resisted James Longstreet's investment of the town, which guarded the southern approaches to Norfolk and Hampton Roads.

After subsequent engineering duty and command of a diversion to the South Anna River during the Gettysburg Campaign, Getty served as acting Inspector General of the Army of the Potomac in early 1864, He was assigned to command second division, VI Corps. We was wounded in the Battle of the Wilderness, but recovered to lead his troops during the lengthy Siege of Petersburg, and later in Philip Sheridan's Shenandoah Valley Campaign. Getty became acting commander of VI Corps when James B. Ricketts was wounded leading the corps at the Battle of Cedar Creek. He was brevetted Major General, U.S. Volunteers, in August 1864, and in the Regular Service in March 1865. Getty's division, including the famed Vermont Brigade, made the initial breakthrough at Petersburg on April 2, 1865, and took part in the final campaign of the Army of the Potomac, which terminated in the surrender of Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Court House.

Post War Service

After the war, Getty was appointed Colonel of the 38th U.S. Infantry in the Regular Army in 1866. He transferred to the 3rd U.S. Artillery in 1871, and then commanded the Artillery School at Fortress Monroe, Virginia, for six years. Getty was a member of the Board of Conduct which exonerated former V Corps commander Fitz John Porter in 1879.

After he retired from the Army in 1883, Getty lived on a farm near Forest Glen, Maryland, before his death in 1901. He was buried in Section 1 of Arlington National Cemetery.

ee also


*Warner, Ezra J., "Generals in Blue: Lives of the Union Commanders", Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1964, ISBN 0-8071-0822-7.

External links

* [ Photo gallery of G.W. Getty]
* [ Arlington National Cemetery webpage for G.W. Getty]

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