Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Dr. George P. Rex, 33rd., Illinois Infantry.

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Dr. George P. Rex was the Surgeon of the regiment, and proved a most skillful, able and efficient officer.  He was a student under the father of Gen. George B. McClellan, arid a graduate of Jefferson Medical College.   He was a good physician, and a bold and skillful operator, more conservative than most army surgeons, and many of the surviving wounded of the regiment have this trait of his professional character to thank for be ing still in possession of limbs which would have been lost had they been treated by a surgeon of another type.  He was an alert and forceful executive of his depart ment, always prepared for a battle or any emergency, and those who saw him at "sick call" or at the operating table, knew the right man was in the right place.

The doctor always had a small brigade out foraging for the hospital and his "mess", and I never knew the time when he was short of supplies for either. No matter how badly off we were for transportation, no matter about ammunition or quartermaster stores, "Angeline", a fat colored woman, the doctor s cook, had to be taken along in comfort and safety. I believe every successive commanding officer had a tilt with Surgeon Rex about transporting "Angeline". How ever, Angeline showed up at the end of every march, and she had not done any walking, either. Always ready to favorably endorse a discharge or leave of absence, I was sometimes led to think that if not inter fered with he would have the regiment on furlough half the time.

After the war the doctor s kindness of heart and well kept records were great aids to many men in secur ing deserved pensions. While he lived he was nearly always present at our reunions, making long journeys to meet the comrades he loved so well. Had we the pick of the whole medical profession, I doubt if we could have found a better surgeon or more devoted friend. Dr. Rex was the only officer in the Thirty-Third who served in the same rank from muster in to muster out. He died at his home in Reaville, New Jersey, in 1889.

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