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Federal (USV)

George Campbell Maguire

(1847 - 1908)

Home State: Maryland

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: 5th Maryland Infantry

Before Antietam

He was a student at St. John's College, a preparatory school in Annapolis, MD.

On the Campaign

Although not a soldier, and only 15 years old, he accompanied his much older brother-in-law, Major Salome Marsh on the Campaign, and was detailed to assist the regimental surgeons at Antietam on 17 September 1862. He left a description of his experience there ...

... I stopped and scooped out a hole in the mud [in a stream bed] and put my canteen in to fill it. While doing this, another regiment passed over me and I was cut off from ours. I didn't seem to care.

I knew it was ahead there somewhere, and when my canteen was filled on I went again straight ahead, right into the midst of the battle ...

We were in a cornfield [Roulette's] that had been planted in an orchard. I got behind an apple tree and wondered what I should do. I still held the case of instruments under my arm and was wishing the Doctor had them wherever he was ...

I was peering from behind the tree when I heard my name shouted. Turning about I saw one of our surgeons who looked frightened. He beckoned and I ran to him. "We have been looking for you everywhere and Dr. Norris is wild almost, come on quick." I followed him back about 100 yards to a big barn. A large red blanket had been run up on a pole to denote a hospital and as much as possible to keep either side from firing in that direction.

As I handed over the instruments the Dr. gave me a bunch of canteens to get full of water. I started down to the spring house about 25 yards distant and looking inside I found the floor covered with crocks full of milk. I filled up on milk as I was awful hungry and no prospect of food. A nice little stream was running down here and after I drank all the milk I wanted I stepped outside to fill the canteens.

About 50 feet from where I was I noticed a bugler get down flat on his stomach to take a drink. I was about to call him to come and get some milk, but the noise was such that I thought he would not hear me, so I held my tongue. I have often thought since that if I had called I might have saved his life. I began filling my canteens and had one or two filled when a shell burst, as it seemed, directly over my head in the air above. I heard some parts of it sound "spat" as it struck the ground.

It scared me for a moment but I kept on at my work. Soon I noticed in the water, a slight color and a thread of red that looked like blood. I stood up to see where it might come from and there was the bugler, in the same position, as if drinking, but ... He was dead. A piece of the shell that had brushed over his head had killed him. I took my canteens and got up to the hospital in quick time, reporting the reason for not filling them all.

The rest of the War

He contributed stories to Baltimore newspapers as something of a correspondent for the rest of the war. He was also a customs man at Harpers Ferry, VA, and assisted at the Hicks U.S. General Hospital in Baltimore as a medical cadet.

After the War

He went west in 1870 and was a clerk in St. Louis, MO for 8 years, then moved to Sabetha, KS and was a merchant. In 1880 he was made Superintendent of the Sabetha (Flouring) Mill and Elevator. Later he worked at the headquarters of the Union Pacific Railroad in Omaha "for many years."

References & notes

Thanks to Sarah Kay Bierle for the pointer to young Maguire and his recollections, quoted here, in a post on Gazette665. A copy of Maguire's My Remembrance of the War, Etc. 1861-1865 (c. 1893) is in the 5th Maryland file at Antietam National Battlefield. Personal details from family genealogists, the US Census of 1880, and a bio sketch in William G. Cutler's History of the State of Kansas (1883). His gravesite is on Findagrave.

He married Mary Isabella "Bella" Phillips (1848-1925) in May 1872 in Buchanan County, MO. They had daughter Julia Worthington Maguire (later Edgehill, 1876-1914) and son George Campbell Maguire, Jr. (1881-1964).

More on the Web

His great-grandson William Maguire edited and published My Remembrance in 2019 [press release].


01/26/1847; Baltimore, MD


01/15/1908; burial in Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Omaha, NE