A Genealogy of the Barnum, Barnam and Barnham Family

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A One-Name Study for the BARNUM/BARNHAM Surname



Notes for George Lewis GILLESPIE


George Gillespie, Jr., (1841-1913) was an American soldier who received the highest military decoration that the United States bestows tomembers of the military, the Medal of Honor, for his actions during theAmerican Civil War.
He was born October 7, 1841, in Kingston, Tennessee. He graduatedsecond in the class of 1862 at the United States Military Academy and wascommissioned in the Corps of Engineers. A Southerner who remained loyal to theUnion, Gillespie joined the Army of the Potomac in September 1862. He commandedtwo companies of the engineer battalion which built fortifications and pontonbridges throughout the Virginia campaigns until the Surrender at Appomattox.
Gillespie received the Medal of Honor for carrying dispatchesthrough enemy lines under withering fire to Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan at theBattle of Cold Harbor, Virginia. He was later Sheridan's Chief Engineer in theArmy of the Shenandoah and the Military Division of the Gulf.
After the Civil War, Gillespie successively supervised theimprovement of harbors at Cleveland, Ohio, Chicago, Boston, and New York City.He initiated construction of the canal at the Cascades of the Columbia Riverand built the famous Tillamook Rock Lighthouse off the Oregon coast. Gillespiealso served on the Board of Engineers and for six years as president of theMississippi River Commission. He commanded the Army's Department of the East in1898. While Chief of Engineers, he was acting U.S. Secretary of War in August1901. He had charge of ceremonies at President William McKinley's funeral andat the laying of the cornerstone of the War College Building in 1903. He servedas Army Assistant Chief of Staff in 1904-05 with the rank of major general.
Maj. Gen. Gillespie retired June 15, 1905 and died September 27,1913, in Saratoga Springs, New York.
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