Image via Wikipedia
On August 17, 1861, George Thomas was promoted to brigadier general of volunteers. This was his third promotion in the last four months. He would serve under Major General Robert Anderson in Kentucky, commanding an independent force in the eastern part of the state.
Thomas graduated from West Point in 1840, twelfth in his class, then served in the Seminole and Mexican Wars. Thomas suffered an arrow wound in the chest during a fight with a Comanche warrior in August 1860. Later that year, he fell off a train platform in Lynchburg, Virginia, severely injuring his back.
When the Civil War began, Thomas was serving in the 2nd U.S. Cavalry. 19 of the 36 regimental officers, including three of Thomas's superiors, Albert Sidney Johnston, Robert E. Lee, and William Hardee, resigned to join the Confederacy, but Thomas, a Virginia native, remained loyal to the Union. Many members of his family never spoke to him again.