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G.A. Hitchcock

G.A. Hitchcock

Federal (USV)


George Alfred Hitchcock

(1844 - 1915)

Home State: Vermont

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: 21st Massachusetts Infantry

Before Antietam

An 18 year old clerk in Ashby, he enlisted at Worcester, MA as a Private in Company A, 21st Massachusetts Infantry on 14 August 1862, to join his brother Henry.

On the Campaign

He was with his Company on the Maryland Campaign of 1862, and first saw action at Fox's Gap on South Mountain on 14 September 1862. Much later in life he wrote about how it felt:

What were my feelings when first under fire? I was fearful that the rebels would hit somebody and I wished they would not hit me. How did I feel? My brain was constantly telegraphing my legs to take me down the hill. Yes, strange, as it may seem, I did not want to be shot and I thought I might be if I remained. I was not brave and I did not want to be a coward so I watch the others and did just as they did, carrying on a conflict on my own private account in my heart and with the help of God I won a victory.

The rest of the War

He reenlisted on 1 January 1864 and was wounded and captured at Bethesda Church, VA on 2 June 1864. He was held at Pemberton Prison in Richmond, then at Camp Sumter, Andersonville, GA. He was sent to Millen, GA and on to Florence, SC in November 1864 and exchanged at Charleston, SC on 10 December 1864. He was furloughed for 30 days and then mustered out on 23 January 1865.

After the War

He had been a clerk in a publishing office in Cincinnati, OH when he married in 1868 in Fitchburg, MA. His first child was born in Fitchburg in 1873 and by 1880 and to at least 1900 he was an express messenger there.

References & notes

His service from Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines1 and his Compiled Service Records,2 via fold3. His presence at Antietam from his diary, published as From Ashby to Andersonville: the Civil War diary and reminiscences ... (1997) and as Death does seem to have all he can attend to: The Civil War Diary of an Andersonville Survivor (2014); source of the quote above. Personal details from family genealogists and the US Census for 1880 and 1900. His gravesite is on Findagrave. His picture from the cover of that 2014 edition of his diary, from a photograph of unknown provenance.

He married Elizabeth Phelps Lowe (1841-1905) in October 1868 in Fitchburg and they had 2 children.

More on the Web

See a slightly post-war photograph of him over on the blog.


01/15/1844; Ashby, MA


11/03/1915; Fitchburg, MA; burial in Forest Hill Cemetery, Fitchburg, MA


1   Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Adjutant General, Massachusetts Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines in the Civil War, 8 Vols, Norwood (MA): Norwood Press, 1931-35, Vol. 2, pg. 600  [AotW citation 26514]

2   US War Department, Compiled Service Records of Soldiers who served in US Volunteer organizations enlisted for service during the Civil War, Record Group No. 94 (Adjutant General's Office, 1780's-1917), Washington DC: US National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), 1903-1927  [AotW citation 26515]