Union cavalry general during the American Civil War
Captured in 1864 while leading a raid attempting to free the Union prisoners at Andersonville!
Governor of California
(1822-94) He was born in the western New York hamlet of Bustion, and graduated from the United States Military Academy in the celebrated class of 1846. His classmates were future Civil War Generals Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson, George B. McClellan, Ambrose Powell Hill, Darius N. Couch, George E. Pickett, and Cadmus M. Wilcox. Stoneman served in the 1st U.S. Dragoons, and the 2nd U.S. Cavalry, from 1846-1861. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Stoneman was stationed at Fort Brown, Texas, where he was in command of the fort. He refused to follow the orders of former U.S. General David E. Twiggs, a big southern sympathizer, now in the Southern army, to surrender his forces to the newly established Confederate authorities in Texas. Instead Stoneman stood strong, and escaped with most of his command to the north. He was appointed Chief of Cavalry, of the Army of the Potomac, with the rank of brigadier general, on August 13, 1861. He saw action in the 1862 Virginia Peninsula campaign, at Yorktown, and Williamsburg; at the battle of Fredericksburg, Va.; in the famous cavalry raid that took on his name, "General Stoneman's 1863 Richmond Raid," during the Chancellorsville campaign; he commanded the Cavalry Corps, of the Army of the Ohio, during the Atlanta campaign, until he was captured on July 31, 1864, while on a raid designed to free the Union prisoners that were confined at the notorious Andersonville, Georgia Prison, known in the North as the "hellhole." After his exchange, which was due to the personal request of General William T. Sherman, he operated in southwestern Virginia, East Tennessee and North Carolina in cooperation with General Sherman's advancing army. In March 1865, General Stoneman took roughly 4,000 troops out of Knoxville, Tennessee, and led them on a raid into Virginia and North Carolina, with the intentions of crippling the Confederate infrastructure, and to demoralize the Southern civilians. Within a week, they had sacked the towns of Hillsville, Asheville, and Christiansburg, among others, and destroyed several bridges, lead mines and railroads. General Stoneman mustered out of the U.S. Volunteer Service on September 1, 1866. In 1869, the Army transferred him out west to command the District of Arizona, and subsequently the Department of Arizona. He was eventually relieved of his command in 1871 due to controversies that were created surrounding his handling of the region's Indians. He settled in what is present day San Marino, California, and served as Railroad Commissioner of California, and he was elected Governor of California in 1882, serving in that position for 4 years. Stoneman was a First Class Companion of the California Commandery of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States. Stoneman died in Buffalo, New York, on September 5, 1894, at the age of 72, and he was buried at Bentley Cemetery, in Lakewood, New York.
Wet plate, albumen carte de visite photograph, mounted to 2 1/2 x 4 card. Large bust view portrait in uniform with rank of major general. His name and rank are imprinted on the front mount, "Gen. George Stoneman." Back mark, The New York Photographic Company, No. 453 Broadway, New York, with an American shield illustration above their imprint. Light age toning. Very fine.