Photo courtesy of the Fox Lake Public Library
|July 8, ' 63
THE LATE LIEUTENANT COLONEL GEORGE H. STEVENS OF THE SECOND WISCONSIN REGIMENT
This officer who died July 5th from a wound received at the battle of Gettysburg, July 1st was born in New York City, December 8d, 1831.
Soon after the Astor Place riot in '48, he joined the celebrated 7th Regiment, National Guard, and not long after was promoted to fourth Sergeant. After four years service, during which time he evinced considerable tact, he resigned his position and in company with other adventurous spirits left his native city for Australia from which place he returned in the summer of '55.
He again presented himself for membership to his old company and was immediately accepted. In '56 he removed to Milwaukee, and went into business with Mr. V. V. Livingston. While in this city, he became a prominent member of the Second Company Light Guard and during the latter portion of his membership was Orderly Sergeant of the same. At an exhibition drill given by the company, a prize medal was to be awarded to the best drilled member which was won by Sergeant Stevens. Late in the Fall of '58, he removed to the village of Fox Lake where he established himself in business. During the winter months he organized and afterwards brought to a state of perfection, the Citizens Guard which, owing to their perfect discipline, was said to be one of the best drilled companies among the interior towns. On the breaking out of the present rebellion he closed his store and offering his services to Gov. Randall, they being accepted, not many weeks after, he marched his company through the streets of Madison and quartered at Camp Randall. His company became "A" of the 2d Regiment.
A correspondent in the Sentinel speaks as follows of his actions in the First Bull Run.
"Capt. George H. Stevens who, in addition to his many superior military accomplishments, knows no such word as ' fail' and ' cowardice' is not akin to his nature. His vocabulary contains no such feeling as fear and his collected self-possession and undaunted bravery have been more than once tested. On the 21st of July 1861, on the bloody plains of Bull Run, at the head of his company, he faced the lion in his lair and was among the last who reluctantly left the hotly contested field."
In the spring campaign of '62 his regiment was with the army under McDowell and altho they had but little fighting to do, they had their share of marching and reconnoitering. At the Second Bull Run, after the loss of the Colonel at Gainesville and the wounding of the Lieutenant Colonel and Major, the command of the regiment devolved on Captain Stevens.
It was in this fight that the Iron Brigade was so highly spoken of by the General Commanding .
On account of illness he was not present at the Antietam battle but joined his company soon after. During the Fall of the year he was promoted to Major and was present at Fredericksburg under Burnside. He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel early in 1863 and was with his regiment at the second battle of Fredericksburg under Gen. Hooker and engaged in a sharp skirmish on the left before Chancellorsville took place, in which action the regiment, however, took no active part, altho' on the the ground. He closed a glorious military career at the battle of Gettysburg where, as above stated, he received a mortal wound.
In the 30 minute charge at Willoughby Run, early the first day of Gettysburg, the Second Wisconsin lost 116 men out of 302 engaged. Lieut. Col. Stevens was among the mortally wounded. He died at Gettysburg, July 5,1863.(ed insert)
Wherever Col. Stevens was personally known, he has left many warm friends while in his regiment he was greatly respected and beloved by all.
His remains were interred at Gettysburg in Evergreen Cemetery from whence they will be removed at some future day to Wisconsin. He leaves a wife and two children.