UNION SOLDIER DISCHARGE (8TH U.S. INFANTRY) SIGNED BY GETTYSBURG BRIGADE COMMANDER, COL. GEORGE L. WILLARD, KIA JULY 2, 1863LEE, CONFEDERATE GENERAL & SON OF GENERAL ROBERT E. LEE

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Standard “To Whom it may concern” discharge paper, for Private George Ferrall, Co. “F”, 8th U.S. Infantry, dated 8/20/1861, discharged for pulmonary problems. One page on pre-printed form. Exhibits fold-marks, light soiling else VG. Signed “G. L. Willard / Capt. 8th Infantry” at lower right margin.

George L. Willard served in the Mexican War as an enlisted man, rising to the rank of sergeant, and was later commissioned Captain in the 8th U.S. Infantry in 1853, a rank he held until promoted, eventually, to Colonel of the 125th New York Infantry, a unit captured at Harper’s Ferry, Sept. 15 1862, and paroled the next day. Months later, on June 28th 1863, Willard’s regiment joined the Army of Potomac on the march to Gettysburg, and was assigned to Third Brigade, third Division, 2nd Corps.

Willard was killed on the 2nd day in the Battle of Gettysburg, in the line of duty while acting as Brigadier General in the Third Division of the Second Army Corps. Willard’s brigade had a significant impact on the fighting of July 2nd. The timely arrival of the brigade and its counterattack, checked and then threw back Barksdale’s Mississippians, who had presented a threat to the left-center of the Union battle line. The brigade crossed over Plum Run and were just emerging from the woods and brushes of the swale, when Willard was struck by a shell. He was quickly carried from the front. The loss of such a promising leader was keenly felt.

A granite monument to Willard was erected in 1888 and stands in the Plum Run swale between the State of Pennsylvania Monument and the Codori Farm.

Willard is buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Troy, New York.

Superb Gettysburg collectible. Fine memento of a gallant Union brigade commander gone down helping staunch Barksdale’s charge. In protective sleeve; accompanied by a brief amount of internet research material.

Portion of information retrieved from the Col. George L Willard Camp #154 web site.  [jp/ld]  [ph:L]

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