Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Captain Edward Ratchford Geary.

Push to enlarge
EDWARD RATCHFORD GEARY was born at Salem, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, on September 1, 1845, and was killed in the midnight battle at Wauhatchie, Tennessee, October 29, 1863, being only eighteen years and two months old when killed. His body was sent home and buried at New Salem, Pa.

He was mustered into Knap's Independent Battery E, Pennsylvania Light Artillery, as Second Lieutenant, on September 8, 1861. He was wounded at the Battle of Cedar Mountain, Virginia, on August 9, 1862. On July 16, 1863, he was promoted from Second to First Lieutenant, and was commissioned Captain of Hampton Battery F on October 20, 1863, but was killed before being mustered in. On March 13, 1865, he was breveted Major and Lieutenant Colonel.

While our Battery was encamped on Maryland Heights in the fall of 1863, Lieutenant Geary was unanimously elected Captain of Hampton Battery. His commission from the State of Pennsylvania, dated October 20, 1863, was forwarded to his father. General John W. Geary, then in command of the White Star Division of the Twelfth Corps. He had his son's commission in his pocket when Captain Geary was killed.

Captain Collins, in his History of the One Hundred and Fortyninth New York Volunteers, of the Twelfth Corps, says :

" When the rays of the rising sun came over Lookout Mountain they fell with a mellow light upon the tall portly form of General Geary standing with bowed head on the summit of the knoll, while before him lay the lifeless form of a Lieutenant of Artillery. Scattered about were cannon, battered and bullet marked caissons and limbers, and many teams of dead horses in harness. There were many other dead, but none attracted his attention save this one. For he was his son. The men respected his sorrow and stood at a distance in silence while he communed with his grief. The Confederates had been instructed to pick off the artillerists. Lieutenant Geary had just sighted a gun and as he gave the command to fire, he fell dead with a bullet through his forehead."

Captain Joseph M. Knap, of Knap's Battery, says: " Captain Geary was one of the bravest, most efficient and devoted soldiers that ever lived." Post 236, G. A. R., County of Allegheny, State
of Pennsylvania, was named after him.

As Captain Geary was never mustered into the Hampton Battery his name does not appear on the rolls of the company, but the surviving members have very properly inscribed his name on the monument erected by them in the Allegheny City Park, to the memory of their fallen comrades.

No comments: