A Civil War Biography
George Lucas Hartsuff
Hartsuff was born 28 May 1830 in Tyre, New York. In 1842 his family
moved to Michigan. In 1848 he entered West Point from which he
graduated 19th in the class of 1852 and was posted to the artillery.
After a month of garrison duty in New York the new 2nd lieutenant
was sent to Fort Brown, Texas where he did scouting and escort duty.
He contracted yellow fever in December of 1853 and would not return
to active duty until June 1854. He joined the 2nd US artillery in
Florida on 1 July 1854. He spent the next nearly year and a half
exploring and surveying the Indian country in Florida. On 20
December 1855, Hartsuff and an exploration party he was leading were
attacked by Seminoles igniting the Billy Bowlegs or Third Seminole
War. In the encounter Hartsuff was wounded twice and had to walk
three days to safety. He would recover from his wounds and on 11
July 1856 was sent to Fort Columbus, New York. On 29 September 1856
he was assigned as an assistant artillery tactics instructor at West
Point where he served until 14 June 1859. He was then sent to Fort
Mackinac, Michigan where he served until the fall of 1860.
Hartsuff's Civil War service began with a secret expedition in April
1861 to reinforce Fort Pickens on Santa Rosa Island, Pensacola,
Florida. In July 1861 he was appointed chief of staff in the
Department of West Virginia under the command of William S.
Rosecrans. Hartsuff was appointed brigadier general of volunteers
and given command of the 3rd brigade, 2nd division in Irvin
McDowell's III Corps. Hartsuff led these troops at Cedar Mountain
and Second Bull Run. This brigade, with Hartsuff still in command,
became the 3rd brigade, 2nd division in Joseph Hooker's I Corps.
Hartsuff led these troops at South Mountain and Antietam where he
was severely wounded. He was promoted to major general on 19
November 1862. His wound kept him from combat service so he served
mostly on court marshal duty. He was appointed to command the XXIII
Corps in May 1863 and saw some duty in Kentucky and East Tennessee
before ill health forced him to give up the position. He finally
returned to field command in March 1865 in command of the defenses
at Bermuda Hundred in the Department of Virginia and North Carolina.
He was brevetted brigadier and major general in the regular army on
13 March 1865.
After the war Hartsuff remained in the army serving in the adjutant
general department. In 1866 he was sent to the Department of the
Gulf where he served as adjutant general. He would serve in this
same capacity in the Fifth Military District and the Military
Division of the Missouri. He retired in 1871 as a result of his war
injuries. He died of pneumonia on 16 May 1874 in New York City. The
autopsy showed the inflammation in his lungs was around the scar
from the wound he had received while fighting Seminoles in Florida
almost 19 years earlier.
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