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George Thomas

George Thomas


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George Henry Thomas was born in Southampton, Virginia, on 31st July, 1816. He studied at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and after graduating in 1840 joined the United States Army. He fought in the Seminole War and won two brevets in the Mexican War (1846-48).

Thomas taught at West Point before joining the 2nd Cavalry where he served as a major under Albert S. Johnson and Robert E. Lee. Badly wounded in the face by an arrow in November, 1860, Thomas was off duty for over a year.

Although a Southerner, Thomas joined the Union Army on the outbreak of the American Civil War. Commissioned as a brigadier general, Thomas was sent to Kentucky where he won the battle of Mill Springs (January, 1862). He served under Don Carlos Buell and William Rosecrans where he took part in the battle of Stones River (January, 1863).

William Rosecrans made a serious tactical blunder at Chickamauga (September, 1863) where he opened up a gap in the Union Army lines. Rosecrans and his men fled to Chattanooga, but Thomas held his position and emerged from the battle with much credit. He was immediately promoted to brigadier general and succeeded Rosecrans as commander of the Army of Cumberland.

Thomas joined William Sherman in the task of destroying the Confederate Army in Tennessee. Joseph E. Johnston and his army retreated and after some brief skirmishes the two sides fought at Resaca (14th May), Adairsvile (17th May), New Hope Church (25th May), Kennesaw Mountain (27th June) and Marietta (2nd July).

President Jefferson Davis was unhappy about Johnson's withdrawal policy and on 17th July replaced him with the more aggressive John Hood. He immediately went on the attack and hit Thomas and his men at Peachtree Creek. Hood was badly beaten and lost 2,500 men. Two days later Hood took on William Sherman at the Battle of Atlanta and lost another 8,000 men.

John Hood continued to adopt an aggressive policy in Tennessee and despite heavy losses surrounded Thomas at Nashville. On 15th December, 1864, Thomas broke out of Nashville and hammered Hood's army. Thomas captured 4,462 soldiers and those still left alive fled into Mississippi and Alabama. The Confederate Army in Tennessee had now been completely destroyed.

On 16th January, 1865, Thomas was promoted to the rank of major general and became commander of the Department of Tennessee. In 1869 George Henry Thomas moved to the Department of the Pacific and he died in office after suffering a stroke in San Francisco on 28th March, 1870.

I had been at West point with Henry Thomas and had known him later in the old army. He was a man of commanding appearance, slow and deliberate in speech and action; sensible, honest and brave. He possessed valuable soldierly qualities in an eminent degree. He gained the confidence of all who served under him, and almost their love. This implies a very valuable quality. It is a quality which calls out the most efficient services of the troops serving under the commander possessing it.

Though a native of Virginia, he had never faltered for a moment in his fealty to the flag. He had a commanding presence, being nearly six feet high, and a soldier-like, erect bearing, with an open countenance, but rather a stern expression, full light-brown hair and beard tinged with grey. On first acquaintance, he seemed of a solid nature and stiff and distant in manner, but on closer intercourse would reveal himself as a sturdy, resolute character, with the strongest sense of duty, and, altogether, a thorough soldier. He was not a genius, but was very intelligent, and although he seemed at times not quick in perception and too deliberate in execution, he could always be relied on to do what was required of him to the best of his ability.


George Thomas

Although only twice in chief command of a field army during battle — Mill Springs, Kentucky, near the war’s beginning, and Nashville, Tennessee, near its end — Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas played a significant role in shaping the war beyond the Appalachian Mountains.

Thomas was born into a slaveholding family on a Virginia plantation just north of the North Carolina border in 1816. At the age of 20, he received an appointment to West Point, where his significantly younger peers called him “Old Tom.” He graduated in 1840, 12th in his class, and was commissioned a second lieutenant in Company D, 3rd U.S. Artillery.

During the Mexican-American War, Thomas served with distinction alongside fellow artillerist Braxton Bragg, whom he would face across many battlefields two decades later. After the close of hostilities, Thomas was appointed instructor of cavalry and artillery under academy superintendent Lt. Col. Robert E. Lee.

At the outbreak of the Civil War, Thomas did not resign his commission in the U.S. Army, despite the offer of several prominent commissions in the Confederate army. His decision to remain loyal to the Union created a deep rift with his family, one that would not heal in his lifetime. Thomas’ comrades and former students reacted no less vehemently: former star pupil and fellow Virginian J.E.B. Stuart wrote to his wife, “I would like to hang, hang him as a traitor to his native state.”

Although an earlier back injury made his physical movements deliberate, Thomas possessed deep tactical understanding of warfare, attributable to having served in all three branches of the military. During the Battle of Chickamauga, he held his position, rallying broken and scattered units to prevent a hopeless rout. Future president James Garfield reported to Army of the Cumberland commander, William Rosecrans, that Thomas was “standing like a rock,” and the name stuck the “Rock of Chickamauga” was soon elevated to command and rose to greater fame.

Following the end of hostilities, Thomas commanded the Department of the Cumberland in Kentucky and Tennessee, and at times also West Virginia and parts of Georgia, Mississippi and Alabama, where he worked to uphold the rights of freedmen against abuses. In 1869, he requested a transfer to command the Department of the Pacific in San Francisco, where he died the following year of a stroke.

Thomas’s innate desire for privacy — he destroyed his private papers to keep his life from being “hawked in print” — and an early death prevented him from publishing his memoirs, a popular genre for former generals in the 1870s and 1880s, and defending his legacy from fellow commanders looking to promote their own at others’ expense. William T. Sherman, a lifelong friend since their West Point days, however, called Thomas’s services throughout the war “transcendent” and listed him along with Ulysses S. Grant as the heroes deserving “monuments like those of Nelson and Wellington in London, well worthy to stand side by side with the one which now graces our capitol city of George Washington.”


Snubbed! George Thomas: Unknown General of the Civil War

The capital had never seen such a splendid celebration. In May 1865, after the killing was over and the slain president had been mourned, the victorious Union troops marched in a parade along Pennsylvania Avenue and past the White House. For two days, thousands along the curb cheered the soldiers who had fought from Bull Run to Vicksburg to Gettysburg to Appomattox, wave after wave of men in blue, heads high with hard-earned pride.

All the heroes of the day were there—Ulysses Grant, George Meade, William Sherman. Just about everyone, that is, except Major General George H. Thomas of the Army of the Cumberland, the only Civil War commander who never lost a battle, the man who saved a Union army at Chickamauga and demolished a Confederate force at Nashville.

“Time and history will do me justice,” Thomas said before he died in 1870. Yet even today many historians pass him by when they rank the Union’s greatest generals. Thomas’s stubborn pride, an unfortunate nickname, and questions about his loyalty all sullied his reputation, but perhaps nothing did more damage than a bitter rivalry with the officers accorded the most glory for the Union’s triumph.

Thomas’s troubles start with the fact that he was a Southerner who fought for the North. He grew up on a plantation in the Tidewater area of southern Virginia. In 1831, when he was 15, he and his family fled to escape the marauding slaves of Nat Turner’s rebellion. At 20, Thomas went to West Point, where he roomed and competed with a spirited redhead from Ohio named William T. Sherman. Stocky and serious, the young Virginian won the respect of classmates for defending underclassmen against older bullies. Thomas finished 12th among 42 graduates in the class of 1840, Sherman sixth.

Although commissioned as an artillery officer, Thomas did infantry duty in the long war to drive the Seminoles out of Florida. His captain’s description of his performance could just as well cover his 30-year army career: “I never knew him to be late or in a hurry. All his movements were deliberate, his self-possession was supreme, and he received and gave orders with equal serenity.”

When war with Mexico opened in 1846, Thomas headed west and fought in the battles that served as the proving ground for the generation of soldiers that would lead in the Civil War. Heading up an artillery outfit under the plain, steady Zachary Taylor, he was cited for his “coolness and firmness” under fire and won brevet promotions for his actions in the battles of Resaca de la Palma, Monterrey, and Buena Vista. He was clearly a rising star. After another stint in Florida, he received in 1851 the choice billet of artillery instructor at West Point, where he taught Philip H. Sheridan, James B. McPherson, James Ewell Brown “Jeb” Stuart, Fitzhugh Lee, and others who would go on to fame in the Civil War.

Three years at the academy planted seeds for the slights Thomas would suffer later in his career. The superintendent of the academy—a fellow Virginian named Robert E. Lee—was impressed by the conscientious and upright Thomas and assigned him the additional duties of cavalry instructor. When Thomas ordered cadets to restrain their shaky old mounts and proceed at a “slow trot”—a standard gait for cavalry—they jokingly called him “Old Slow Trot.” Though good humored, the nickname stuck and hounded him the rest of his days.

After West Point, Thomas was dispatched to Fort Yuma in the New Mexico Territory, then promoted to major in the 2nd Cavalry, an elite regiment formed by Secretary of War Jefferson Davis. Duty on the desert frontier was lonely and dangerous he narrowly escaped death when a Comanche arrow glanced off his chin and pierced his chest. The assignment also cemented his friendship with his West Point mentor Robert E. Lee, now the 2nd Cavalry’s second in command.

Within months, Thomas, Lee, and hundreds of other Southern officers had to make a fateful decision. Abraham Lincoln’s election sparked secession by states of the Deep South, but Virginia stuck with the Union until after Fort Sumter. When the Old Dominion withdrew, Lee agonized but soon cast his future with his home, family, and state.

Thomas made his decision quickly. His Virginia ties and holdings were much less extensive than Lee’s, and his wife, Frances, a New Yorker he had married in 1852, was a strong-minded and loyal Yankee. After his death, Frances explained that “whichever way he turned the matter over in his mind, his oath of allegiance to the Government always came uppermost.”

The choice caused Thomas great pain. When his sisters received the news, they turned his picture to the wall and insisted they no longer had a brother named George. Some of the many professional soldiers from Virginia who joined the Confederacy excoriated him as a traitor. “I would like to hang, hang him as a traitor to his native state,” wrote Jeb Stuart, Thomas’s former cadet.

Leaders in the North, meanwhile, were suspicious of this Southerner turned Unionist. Lincoln doubted his loyalty until Thomas’s cavalry bested Stonewall Jackson in a brief clash before the battle of Bull Run. After that, the president promoted Thomas to brigadier general and sent him across the mountains, where he might fight outside Virginia.

On January 19, 1862, Thomas sent news from Mill Springs, Kentucky, of the first clear Union success of the war. After a long, cold, and muddy march, his outnumbered troops had turned back a Confederate advance across the Cumberland River. It was not a major victory, but it boosted sagging spirits in Washington and later helped Thomas earn promotion to major general.

The glow of this triumph still lingered when U.S. Grant was surprised at the April battle of Shiloh, stumbling badly before pulling out a victory. When the Union army then pushed south toward Corinth, Mississippi, Major General Henry Halleck, who headed the Department of the Mississippi, ordered Thomas to lead a wing that included men from Grant’s and Sher – man’s command. Halleck made Grant his second in command, but bypassed him to give orders directly to Thomas. Angry, Grant threatened to quit until Sherman talked him out of it.

Grant soon regained his command and with Sherman launched the Mississippi campaign that would target Vicksburg. Thomas remained in Kentucky and Tennessee, serving under Major General Don Carlos Buell at Perryville, then Major General William Rosecrans at Stones River and Tullahoma. In the heavy fighting over the next year, Thomas showed his troops how attention to detail and preparation before battle could make the difference between victory and defeat. His headquarters hummed with professional efficiency. Anticipating modern warfare, he emphasized logistics and supply lines. And his mapping and scouting were so thorough that he was never taken by surprise, as Grant had been at Shiloh.

Nearly six feet tall, Thomas held himself erect and always projected a dignified calm, inspiring comparisons to George Washington. Although a firm disciplinarian, he showed a fatherly concern for his men. They called him “Pap Thomas” and followed him faithfully even in the worst of conditions.

In late summer 1863, Thomas’s corps was part of a Federal force dug in on the western side of Chickamauga Creek, protecting the rail center of Chattanooga, Tennessee, against furious Rebel assault. When the attackers bent the Federal lines into a horseshoe around midday on September 20, Rosecrans and other commanders led a disorganized retreat into the city, believing the battle lost. Thomas, however, rallied scattered troops and held firm all afternoon, withdrawing into Chattanooga only after nightfall.

This delay saved the army from disaster. Thomas’s bravery won him the nickname “The Rock of Chickamauga.” When Rosecrans was later relieved from the Army of the Cumberland, Thomas assumed command, setting him up for more friction with Grant.

As cold weather descended that year, Thomas and his army were stuck defending Chattanooga and battling a Rebel siege that left them desperately short of food and fodder. Grant, who had pleased Lincoln by taking Vicksburg and control of the Mississippi River, now commanded all Union armies in the West. He promised to rush help to Thomas and ordered him to hold Chattanooga “at all hazards.” Some of Thomas’s troops were so hungry that they were eating dry corn from mule feed, but he replied: “I will hold the town till we starve.”

Weeks passed before Grant assembled his forces for the march east, and then he struggled across Tennessee in a cold rain. His welcome in Chattanooga appears to have been as chilly as the weather. Grant’s staff engineer, James H. Wilson, wrote of Thomas sitting mute on one side of the fireplace in headquarters while Grant, dripping and hungry, sat on the other. No one spoke, Wilson said, until he reminded Thomas that his commander was cold and wet, at which the general stirred himself and ordered that Grant be made comfortable.

Even if Wilson’s version is only half true, it underscores the tension between the two. Grant, who graduated from West Point three years after Thomas, had fought with distinction in Mexico. Later, though, he was disciplined for drinking and dropped out of the army for seven years. He won a regimental command two months after the war began, and then only by tapping his political connections. By contrast, Thomas had an unbroken record of service. As a Virginian, he had no home-state member of Congress to lobby for his career advancement indeed, in late 1862, he had turned down what he deemed an unwarranted promotion.

According to Wilson, Thomas’s “coolness and neglect” helped explain the bad blood between the two. Wilson said that Grant described the Virginian as “slow, not only in action, but in his mental operations.” Wilson believed Thomas “regarded himself as a better soldier than Grant” (perhaps because he graduated higher in his West Point class and had served with more distinction) and “resented Grant’s assignment to duty over him,” even if only unconsciously.

Sherman had a broken record of service akin to Grant’s. He had served in an army administrative role in California during the Mexican-American War, then left for various civilian ventures. In 1861, his brother John, a powerful senator from Ohio, helped him secure a regimental command. He fought well in early battles, but was temporarily relieved when he showed signs of a nervous breakdown.

Sherman bonded with Grant at Shiloh and in the Vicksburg campaign. He was quoted as saying: “He stood by me when I was crazy, and I stood by him when he was drunk and now, sir, we stand by each other always.”

At Chattanooga, Sherman and his Army of the Tennessee rejoined Grant for a bid to drive the Confederates off the heights that dominate the city. Missionary Ridge was the key terrain on November 25, 1863, Grant sent Sherman to drive up from the left and Joseph Hooker to approach on the right. Thomas was held back to strike the Rebel center. Sherman’s effort fell short, however. Once ordered to move, Thomas took his time, studying the heights carefully before sending his troops ahead. Though expected to halt after taking the first line of Confederate works, they pushed through heavy fire and struggled up the slope. “Who ordered those men up the hill?” Grant demanded angrily, but Thomas was surprised as well. His troops plunged ahead until they reached the top and jubilantly planted the Stars and Stripes.

Assistant Secretary of War Charles A. Dana, attached to Grant, called the assault “one of the greatest miracles in military history.” But the feat did little to improve the relationship between Thomas and Grant. That winter, when Grant was tapped to command all Union armies, he chose Sherman to lead the great 1864 offensive from Chattanooga to Atlanta, even though Thomas outranked him.

Striking out for Georgia in early May, Sherman was soon complaining to Grant about the man they both saw as a plodder. “A fresh furrow in a plowed field will stop [his] entire column,” he wrote. At Kennesaw Mountain outside Atlanta, Sherman ignored Thomas when he warned against charging strong Confederate defenses. The result was a costly setback, with Thomas’s men suffering heavy casualties.

During the four-month campaign, Thomas commanded about two-thirds of Sherman’s infantry. His army smashed into General John B. Hood’s Confederate forces defending Atlanta, then led the way into the city. Yet neither Sherman nor Grant mentioned Thomas in their victory communiqués. Credit for entering Atlanta first went to Major General Henry Slocum, Thomas’s subordinate.

After Atlanta, Sherman briefly tried to run down Hood, who headed for Tennessee. But eager to march on to the sea, he stripped Thomas of much of his Army of the Cumberland and sent the reduced command north to deal with Hood. By December, Hood had taken the high ground around Nashville, a Union stronghold for much of the war. Thomas dug in behind the city’s fortifications and went about gathering badly needed horses and supplies.

Grant, who was hundreds of miles away directing operations in the fighting around Richmond, repeatedly urged Thomas to take the offensive. Thomas replied that he would move as soon as he rebuilt his cavalry. Grant’s pleas turned to angry demands. Finally, he decided to relieve Thomas and made plans to head west and execute the order in person. Just then, a spell of icy weather in Nashville broke, and Thomas—unaware of Grant’s plans to fire him but now confident his men were ready to fight—attacked at last. On December 15 and 16, 1864, he demolished Hood’s Confederate Army of Tennessee in what historian Thomas Buell has called the war’s “unsurpassed masterpiece of theater command and control.” It was the only battle in which one army virtually destroyed another, and it ended major combat west of the Appalachians.

The battle also demonstrated very clearly that Thomas was not slow so much as thorough. And thoroughness, he proved, won battles. Despite Grant’s impatience, he had delayed the attack in part to buy time to arm his cavalry with new breechloading Spencer carbines—weapons that helped his horsemen curl around and behind the Rebel left in a maneuver critical to the victory.

Following Nashville, while Thomas mopped up Hood’s scattered remnants, Grant and Sherman completed the war in the East and were celebrated as heroes. After the war, Grant, Sherman, and Sheridan sometimes praised Thomas, but they almost reflexively added that he was, of course, always slow.

Thomas never publicly defended his record. Nor did he write his memoirs, as his rivals did. When President Andrew Johnson offered a promotion to full general, Thomas turned it down, saying it came too late. While Grant and Sherman moved on to great glory in political and military affairs, he continued his army career in relative obscurity. He first oversaw Reconstruction in parts of the South, then was transferred to San Francisco. There in 1870, he died of a stroke, still a soldier at age 53.

Bruce Catton, one historian who gave Thomas his full due, was an admirer of Grant. Nonetheless, he argued that the lesser-known general delivered some of the war’s most devastating blows. “There was nothing slow about Thomas,” Catton wrote. “He liked to make sure that everything was ready before he moved, but when he did move, somebody had to get out of the way.”

“Thomas never had a bad day,” Catton added. “One gets the haunting feeling: Perhaps this man actually was the best of them all.”

Ernest B. Furgurson, a regular contributor to MHQ, is the author of several Civil War histories, including Freedom Rising: Washington in the Civil War.

Originally published in the Autumn 2013 issue of Military History Quarterly. To subscribe, click here.


West Point

After a short time, Thomas became unhappy with his legal studies and approached Representative John Y. Mason regarding an appointment to West Point. Though warned by Mason that no student from the district had ever successfully completed the academy's course of study, Thomas accepted the appointment. Arriving at age 19, Thomas shared a room with William T. Sherman.

Becoming friendly rivals, Thomas soon developed a reputation among the cadets for being deliberate and cool-headed. His class also included future Confederate commander Richard S. Ewell. Graduating 12th in his class, Thomas was commissioned as a second lieutenant and assigned to the 3rd US Artillery.


The man they call Violence

South Africa's biggest gang trial has lifted the veil on the "criminal enterprise" behind a trail of dead bodies and extortion, and an arsenal of weapons.

Nineteen members of the country's most vicious gangs, the 28s and the 26s, are being prosecuted under the Prevention of Organised Crime Act. They are facing 167 charges in a marathon trial at the High Court in Cape Town that is likely to end only in 2014.

This week the public gallery was cleared for the testimony of a terrified witness, flanked by a bodyguard. The witness told the court - in which journalists were permitted to remain - that the "enterprise" had tried six times, over two years, to assassinate gangster Curtis Esterhuizen from the rival Clever Kids gang.

He survived a first attempt in a shoot-out on April 14 2008 .

A day later, three people, including alleged 28s gang boss George Thomas, were arrested by police on patrol after a shooting incident in Bishop Lavis.

Thomas was allegedly in the back of a bakkie with a rifle fitted with a telescopic sight and silencer, while two men sat in front with a box of ammunition.

In a third incident on September 8 2008, two people were shot at in the street where Esterhuizen lived. One was paralysed and is now a witness in the trial.

During the fourth attempt, on November 23 2008, gunmen shot and killed Marvin Esterhuizen after he was mistaken for his brother.

Curtis Esterhuizen was shot in the head at point-blank range on November 2 2009 but survived - and later declined an offer to be placed in witness protection.

Five months later he was shot dead while riding a bicycle in Bishop Lavis.

National Prosecuting Authority Advocate Catherine Breytenbach told the court that the 28s operated as "a criminal enterprise" under the leadership of Thomas - who is known on the Cape Flats by his nickname "Geweld" (Violence).

Sharing a seat in the dock with him is Ashraf "Arab" Ryklief, a 26s gang leader.

The two gangs have often clashed in bloody turf wars but, the state alleges, conspired to kill the father of a state witness in the trial.

Cecil Barnes, 54, was gunned down in his kitchen in Bishop Lavis on October 16 last year. His son, Reagan Barnes, is a key witness against Thomas.

Cecil Barnes declined an offer by the state to be placed under witness protection along with his son.

The indictment lists 19 murders, 29 attempted murders, extortion, racketeering, incitement, conspiracy, theft, robbery and possession of firearms and ammunition.

Breytenbach, one of three prosecutors in the case, said the state would call 370 witnesses - several of them in witness protection.

NPA spokesman Eric Ntabazalila said these included six witnesses with 204 status (participants in a crime given immunity from prosecution in exchange for their testimony) and "about" 20 other witnesses.

Several state witnesses have been killed, allegedly on the instructions of Thomas while he has been behind bars since his arrest in 2008.

One of the alleged hit orders - to kill Andrew Williams on May 5 2008 - was allegedly issued over the phone from inside a cell at the Delft police station.

Most of the charges stem from events that occurred between 2008 and 2010. There are two other murders on the charge sheet, from 2006 and 2007.

Among the alleged murder victims were Haywin Strydom and Nydene Davids, both state witnesses.

Mark Ontong was murdered while he was in the process of becoming a state witness.

The three prosecutors and investigating officers in the case have been assigned bodyguards after receiving threats.


George Thomas - History

Argument in mitigation and aggravation of sentence continues in the trial of George 'Geweld' Thomas.

CAPE TOWN - Argument in mitigation and aggravation of sentence continues in the trial of 28s gang boss George 'Geweld' Thomas today.

Last week, Thomas was found guilty on 53 charges including seven murders.

Sentencing proceedings started in the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday with Thomas testifying in mitigation of sentence.

Thomas has tried to convince the court he has not been an active gangster since 1998.

But last week Judge Chantel Fortuin ruled he used his high rank within the 28s prison gang to order the murders of seven people between 2008 and 2010.

Arguing in aggravation of sentence, the prosecution reminded the court of Thomas' previous convictions of house breaking as a nine-year-old, murder as a 20-year-old and assault of a prison warder during his incarceration.

In response, Thomas told the court he retaliated because the warder had sexually assaulted him at Brandvlei prison.

The 49-year-old convicted gang boss continues to deny involvement in the crimes he's been convicted of and believes an appeal could be successful.

Fortuin said during his time as an awaiting trial prisoner at five different facilities, Thomas made more than 1,300 cellphone calls to his henchmen every month.

Cellphone records revealed all the calls were made after 4pm which is when prison warders changed shifts.

Fortuin said the state has successfully proved the heavily tattooed Thomas controlled the prison gang as an enterprise.


George Thomas Wiki, Biography, Net Worth, Age, Family, Facts and More

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BIOGRAPHY

George Alan Thomas is a well known Chess. George was born on June 14, 1881 in Istanbul, Turkey..George is one of the famous and trending celeb who is popular for being a Chess. As of 2018 George Thomas is 91 years (age at death) years old. George Thomas is a member of famous Chess list.

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Details
Name George Thomas
Age (as of 2018) 91 years (age at death)
Profession Chess
Birth Date June 14, 1881
Birth Place Istanbul, Turkey
Nationality Istanbul

George Thomas Net Worth

George primary income source is Chess. Currently We don’t have enough information about his family, relationships,childhood etc. We will update soon.

Estimated Net Worth in 2019: $100K-$1M (Approx.)

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Facts

  • George Thomas age is 91 years (age at death). as of 2018
  • George birthday is on June 14, 1881.
  • Zodiac sign: Gemini.

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Battle of Chickamauga: Winning Chattanooga

In the western theater of the Civil War, during the late summer and autumn of 1863, Union and Confederate forces were struggling over control of the key railroad center of Chattanooga, Tennessee. By mid-September, Union General William Rosecrans had pushed Braxton Bragg’s Army of Tennessee out of Chattanooga and gathered his army of some 60,000 at Chickamauga, Georgia, located 12 miles southwest of Chattanooga. Though Confederate morale in the region was at a low point, the imminent arrival of reinforcements led by James Longstreet helped shore up Bragg’s forces, and the general decided to go on the offensive.

Did you know? The West Point-educated George Thomas, known as the "Rock of Chickamauga" for his steadfast performance in that battle, remained loyal to the Union despite his Virginia birth.

After his subordinates failed to follow through with a series of initial attacks, the first of Longstreet’s troops arrived. With some 65,000 men at his disposal (either on the field or on the way), Bragg was assured that he would enjoy a numerical advantage over Rosecrans. On the early morning of September 19, the two armies met in the woods lining the banks of Chickamauga Creek.


Early Years

George Henry Thomas was born in Southampton County on July 31, 1816, the youngest son of a wealthy, slave-owning family of planters. He attended the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, from 1836 until 1840 and finished twelfth in a class of forty-two. (His classmates included Sherman and the future Confederate general Richard S. Ewell .) Thomas would spend the rest of his life in military service.

He received a brevet promotion for distinguished service fighting the Seminole Indians in Florida in 1841 and two more for courage at the battles of Monterrey (1846) and Buena Vista (1847) during the Mexican War, making him one of the most decorated junior officers in the pre–Civil War army. After Mexico, Thomas served from 1851 until 1854 as an instructor of artillery and cavalry tactics at West Point, where he met and married Frances Lucretia Kellogg, the daughter of a New York merchant. The couple had a happy marriage, but no children. From 1854 until 1855, Thomas served at Fort Yuma, Arizona, and from 1855 until 1860 he served in Texas as a major in the 2nd Cavalry.

Major George Thomas Declines Post

In this March 12, 1861, letter, George H. Thomas&mdashat that time a major in the United States Army but on furlough recovering from a severe back injury&mdashturns down a position offered to him to serve as Chief of Ordnance for the Commonwealth of Virginia. In order to accept the post Thomas would have had to resign from the U.S. Army, and in a letter to Governor John Letcher he writes that "it is not my wish to leave the Service of the United States, as long as it is honorable for me to remain in it." Virginia was then caught up in the secession crisis, and Thomas goes on to write, "as long as my native State Va. remains in the Union it is my purpose to remain in the Army, unless required to perform duties alike repulsive to honor and humanity." Despite his sympathy for Virginia, when the Civil War erupted Thomas remained committed to the Union. After the surrender of Fort Sumter at Charleston Harbor, South Carolina, on April 14, he was called back to active service and he immediately reported for duty.

Thomas struggled over whether to remain in the army or to resign his commission and join Virginia and the Confederacy. Ultimately, he sided with the Union. After the war, he explained that he felt his oath as an army officer to uphold the United States Constitution and to protect the national government left him no other choice. Thomas’s Virginia relatives refused to speak to him after he sided with the Union, and while he later reconciled with his brothers, his sisters remained estranged from him until his death.


George geweld thomas

The DA's William Jaftha submitted a letter calling for a lenient sentence for a convicted murderer.

‘Sentence against 28s gang boss too lenient’

The state is calling for at least two additional life terms relating to the convictions of racketeering.

28s boss defence continues to dispute evidence

The 28s gang boss George ‘Geweld’ Thomas' defence has disputed his client's recent conviction.

28s gang boss & co to appeal sentences

The state will oppose the appeals and also challenge some of the sentences handed down earlier this month.

Details of gang boss's incarceration under wraps

Correctional Services says it can't reveal where George Thomas will be incarcerated for security reasons.

Convicted gangsters in car accident en route to jail

It’s been confirmed the accident took place on the N2 in Port Elizabeth on Thursday.

Hefty sentences for 28s gang members welcomed

The 17 members of the 28s gang will serve sentences ranging from 12 years to life in prison.

Gang boss receives 7 life sentences

After a seven-year trial, convicted 28 gang boss George 'Geweld' Thomas was handed his sentence in the Western Cape High Court.

Alleged 28s gang leader handed seven life sentences

He will serve seven life sentences concurrently for the crimes he masterminded between 2006 & 2010.

‘State couldn't prove effects of gansterism in Bishop Lavis’

Is gangsterism a cause or product of poor socio economic circumstances?

'No leniency for convicted 28s gang members'

George Thomas and 16 others have been found guilty various charges ranging from murder to racketeering.

28s gang case: Prosecution hopes sentence deters gangsterism

The state has dismissed the defence’s claim that the men were victims of socio-economic problems.

Sentencing proceedings of 28s gang continues

17 convicted gangsters, including George Thomas, were found guilty of dozens of violent crimes.

Gang boss tries to have judge recused

George ‘Geweld’ Thomas’s legal team in 2012 unsuccessfully tried to have Judge Chantel Fortuin recuse herself.

Convicted 28s gangster apologises to murdered man's family, denies killing victim

28-year-old Gregory Meyer said he was simply at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Convicted gangster emotional as daughter’s letter read out

Family members of 17 convicted gangsters testified today.

Proceedings halted as 28s gang requests new legal counsel

Last week the men were found guilty of the murder of a state witness Haywin Strydom in 2008.

OPINION: The story of Ursula Joorst & why witnesses must be hailed as heroes

They often don't get the credit they deserve, but Mandy Wiener argues witnesses must be celebrated.

'Geweld controlled the 28s gang like an enterprise'

Argument in mitigation and aggravation of sentence continues in the trial of George 'Geweld' Thomas.


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